Shelf life of natural products

When purchasing all natural bath and body products, it is important to purchase an amount that you can use within a reasonable amount of time. While the shelf life of different products vary some, it would be best practice to purchase what you could consume in say 6 months of use (or less), and then buy fresh when you need more. Handmade natural products to not have as long of a shelf life as the commercialized version does.  This is largely because handmade natural products are made with natural and organic oils that eventually go bad. Our products are made locally, and in small batches, so it is easier to guarantee fresh products.  We can see how this might get complicated to provide a nationwide supply from a centralized location (which might be overseas).  Centralization would enable large production batches, and long times between when it is made and when it gets in the hands of a customer which would require a product with a long shelf life.  This industrialization process has placed more of an emphasis on shelf stable products to lower costs, and ease the logistics of making and distributing products. This process makes it cheaper for manufacturers to produce large quantities of products, but may not be in our best interests.

Natural Product Storage

Any natural products will last longer if they are stored properly.  For example, if you keep a product in your car in the summer heat or somewhere where it is exposed to direct sunlight, it will not last as long as if it were kept at a steady, cooler temperature.  We recommend storing any natural product in a cool place that is not in direct sunlight.  Sunlight can actually start to speed up the oxidation process, it can also increase the temperature of your products which is undesirable. Your product will also keep better if you use a clean utensil to remove the product from the container, rather than using your fingers to remove something from a jar for example.  Using your fingers greatly increases the chance of introducing bacteria to the container. If you’ve had a product for a while and it no longer smells the same as it did when you first purchased it, it may be time to get a new one. Even if there is no visible bacterial growth, it could be contaminated; or it is also possible the natural oils in the product have gone rancid.  When in doubt, throw it out! Those natural products that don't require preservatives still do go bad. They can go bad by germ introduction, but even in a sterile environment the oils and butters will start to oxidize over time and go rancid.  This process is unavoidable, and the rate of oxidation will increase with storage temperature.

Whipped shea butter is one of our products that customers often stock up on, as we only make it during the cooler months. I always recommend that customers keep their extra containers in the refrigerator until they are ready to open a new one to keep it fresh longer. The whipped shea butter will harden in the cooler environment, but will return to normal once it has time to come back to room temperature. Soap is much more shelf stable than other products.  It will store best in a paper bag and in a cool dry space.  Many customers keep extra bars in the linen closet or dresser drawer to keep everything smelling lovely until they are ready to use the bar of soap, and this makes a perfect storage location. We make our products in small batches which enables us to keep everything as fresh as possible!




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