My ‘stinky’ post from yesterday got me thinking…

A year or so ago, I noticed a rank smell coming from my diluted conditioner. Often times, I’d add water to my co-wash conditioner because the thinned out version added more slip and thus eased detangling. Also, adding water to expensive conditioners usually helps me to stretch them too- clever right? I quickly came to the realization that something was growing in there, and figured that I’d be better off applying the concentrated conditioner and adding water subsequently by running my head under the shower head. This saved me money, and even more important, saved me from piling bacteria onto my curls.

After searching around on the hair boards, I came across this invaluable information from none other than Tonya McKay of,

“Products purchased off the shelf have been very carefully formulated and pretty exhaustively tested in laboratories by microbiologists in order to ensure that the correct amount of preservative is present in order to prevent growth of fungi, mold, and bacteria (sounds yummy, huh?). These antimicrobial compounds also act as antioxidants, protecting the chemical stability of the product. The optimal level of preservative per unit volume is calculated and used in order to be just sufficient for that particular bottle in ordinary use conditions for a specific period of time. It is important to not use too much preservative because preservatives themselves can be harmful to humans or cause allergic reactions. Therefore, there is not typically an excess of preservative in most products.

For this reason, when a product is diluted with water (especially tap water) and placed into a non-sterile container (which is most typical in any household), the preservative level is reduced by as much as 100 times or more. This diluted product is then often stored in the hot and damp conditions of a bathroom. These conditions are perfect for the breeding of all sorts of living entities that just love to live in water and eat organic molecules (such as those found in your conditioner).”

This applies to you kitchen-ticians too! Homemade spritzes are very popular on the hair boards, and can be incredibly beneficial. If you’re a mixtress, please heed this warning, and make sure you’re adding preservatives to your concoctions, and/or keeping them refrigerated. Tonya McKay suggests the following:

  • Make up a small amount of solution daily or every other day.
  • Make up enough solution to last for one week and store it in the refrigerator when not in use.
  • Make up enough solution to use for 1-2 weeks and add either natural or synthetic preservative drops to it in an amount specified in the literature.

When whipping up your mix, she directs us to use boiling water, clean hands, and a sterilized container. You can purchase grapefruit seed extract (a popular natural preservative) from many health food stores. Even your properly preserved mixtures should be placed in the fridge for safe storage. To read more from this article, click HERE.

I’ve never truly given this much thought. I’ve diluted my share of conditioners, creamy leave-ins and liquid leave-ins. I had no idea that such measures needed to be taken. So my dear mixtresses, please be careful and take precautions when whipping up that homemade Greg Juice 😉

Later Gators,

Is it Friday yet? Geez….