Many curly girls love making their own spray bottle mixes. I love lavender oil and jojoba oil, so I add them in a spray bottle with my favorite conditioner to refresh my curls in the morning. I do realize that there is a time limit on my concoction, and if it has been sitting around for too long I dump and start over. Just like food, hair care concoctions have a shelf life—even with refrigeration—so many DIY concoctions require something more than refrigeration for them to last. They need preservatives.
What are preservatives and why are they necessary in hair products?
Simply put, preservatives are natural occurring or man-made chemicals that are added to food and cosmetic products to prevent spoilage. These chemicals are acidic in nature, making it difficult for organisms from mold, yeast, and bacteria to grow. They allow your products to last longer than what refrigeration is able to do alone. The downside to preservatives is that some may cause skin irritations—even the natural ones—but if creating a product to sell or if one is longing for longer shelf life, some sort of preservative may be necessary. One that is popular in hair care products and natural occurring is sorbic acid.
What is sorbic acid?
Sorbic acid is a white, crystalline powder that is an organic acid. It is derived from mountain ash berries or manufactured synthetically. It is a preservative found in many foods, contact lens solutions, and skin and hair products and very soluble in oil. According to Cosmeticsinfo.org, sorbic acid kills microorganisms or prevents their growth and reproduction, which in turn protects the product from spoiling, but it is less active against bacteria. Sorbic acid is sometimes used as a humectant and the salts in sorbic acid (calcium, potassium, and sodium) are able to dissolve in water, but sorbic acid is much more soluble in fats and oils. It also considered a low hazard ingredient and not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful.
Now, DIYers are not the only ones who may be using a preservative that contains sorbic acid, as it is quite popular in hair products like we have listed below, but it is possible to simply buy it online on Amazon.com. If choosing to go the DIY route and looking for a preservative that is easily accessible then sorbic acid may be a good fit for you, your hair and your creation.
- Let's Jam Shining & Conditioning Gel
- Garnier Fructis Style Brilliantine Water-Based Shine Wax
- Roots of Nature Triple Repair Hairdress with Green Tea and Shea Butter
- Earthly Delight Leave-in Conditioner
- Living Proof Frizz Styling Spray Straight Making