by Tammy Goodson of CurlyChics
- Less is More— Products with no preservatives do not have a long shelf life (1 to 2 weeks, depending on the ingredients). When mixing up batches of your favorite hair food, be sure to do so in small quantities and small batches to ensure you are able to make use of it all.
- Refrigerate— Products without preservatives should always be kept in a cool place. Since most DIY products are natural ingredients without preservatives, they must be kept at a certain temperature to avoid spoiling and potential for microbial contamination.
- Hands Off— To eliminate or reduce the possibility of contamination and the spreading of germs, avoid using your hands or fingers as dipping tools. This is especially difficult when dealing with jar containers. Try using a clean, properly sterilized utensil, such as a spatula or measuring spoon to scoop out your product. You can also try containers with pumps, which are easier to dispense and less likely to expose the product to bacteria.
- Labeling-– Once your batch is mixed and ready to be stored, apply labels which document the date the batch was made and the contents of each container. This will ensure that you discard products in a timely manner, which leads to my next tip.
- Know how to identify expired products — Spoiled products are susceptible to microbial growth and as such are a health hazard. Since most DIY products do not contain preservatives, which kill bacteria, it is important to know the signs. A few signs of spoilage: (1) No longer does it’s job – its effectiveness is decreased, (2) Rancidity – it begins to have a less than pleasing smell, and (3) Change in appearance – color changes or emergence of mold. *Tip – Vitamin E and jojoba oils contain natural antioxidants which extend the life of your products
- Keep a lid on it— To help prevent oxidation, keep containers closed tightly. Every time you open your container, the products get exposed to air and start to oxidate and degrade, which means the death of your product. Antioxidants slow down this oxidation process so that your products will last longer.
- Little black dress storage— When selecting containers to store your DIY product in, darker containers are preferable over clear. In fact, the less exposure to light the better chance your mixture has a chance of making it to your hair.