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On Preservatives

If you have read my story, you will know that the paraben preservative is a major allergen for me, and discovering Optiphen Plus as a preservative that didn’t irritate my skin was such a game changer. I used to never try any scented lotion given to me as a gift fo fear of causing a major reaction, and I have tried several unscented ones to which I reacted. I did try another non-paraben preservative that also caused me rashes and itching, that’s why for now I only trust Optiphen plus among the non-natural preservatives.

However, since a coworker once told me she used the lotion she bought from me on her face and then asked me afterwards if it was okay, I had been trying some of the natural preservatives when I first formulated my face cream. I also learned that the more “bug food” I had in my formula (like milk or extracts or teas), I would have to up my preservative percentage. As I said in My Story, essential oils, vitamin E, and rosemary oleoresin extract are NOT preservatives, but rather additives that enhance the products or act as antioxidant that prevents the lotion or cream from getting rancid too quickly.

Below is my experiment that I did back in 2014 where I tested Leucidal® Liquid (Lactobacillus ferment) as my natural preservative. Variations were from the addition of EOs and/or extracts (additives). I had a control with just the base; no preservatives/additives).

This photo was taken three days after making the face cream, with me “using” the cream (dipping my finger into them) and keeping them at room temperature just like I would with a non-experimental, properly prepared face cream. In just three days, the non-preserved cream showed mold growth it was really icky. Can you imagine what non-visible bacteria were also thriving in it?

So the natural preservative passed my crude experiment. I am currently trying another natural preservative called NataPresTM which is so far doing good (going on for a month now; placed in an airless pump to minimize contamination). To test next will be AMTicide┬« Coconut. I am hoping that someday, I will be able to afford a preservative challenge testing at a laboratory. Until I have a certification of my face creams with natural preservatives passing a PCT, I won’t get into selling them yet.

business

Mooed in Maine launching

January 2018 when I decided that I would go back in business with my lotions. See, back in 2014 I launched a business selling my homemade lotions, creams, soaps, lip balms, liquid soaps, salves and balms, deodorants, etc., etc. I was even infusing herbs in some of my products. I was growing herbs to make sure they were organically grown and safe to use. I started the business of selling them because more and more wanted to try and got hooked to my products. Even strangers have sought me out.

But I was still working as a RN and it.was.tiring to find an order, package them, label them, pack them in boxes, create shipping labels and finally either drop in the post office or ask for pick up. It got busy. The house started to look like a warehouse. Dealing with individual purchases was killing me because sometimes I would be preparing to ship out an order when I should be sleeping to prepare to work again that night. I could not deal with it anymore so I stopped.

But being that my skin is sensitive I can’t even use Burt’s Bees lotion, I continued to make lotions for myself and for gift-giving, either to relatives or to friends or to new acquaintances.

Then I would be bugged when I am making them again because they wanted more…and were willing to pay for it.

My prior customers, mostly friends and coworkers, would also send me a message to ask if I was still selling my products.

Hence, for regularity of availability, I decided to rename my business, re-brand, and focus on just the lotions (my most popular creation), this time targeting wholesale in local stores so I can focus on it a few days of the week, then work my RN job the rest of the time. Less profit per bottle, but I am hoping to make profit by volume instead. To help me spread my lotions around, I partnered with my sister-in-law, Ann, owner of the business “The Farmer’s Wife” pickles,so she can start introducing my lotions to her client base, and then I just give her commission per bottle sold. Its a win-win for the both of us, since I hardly have the time to do everything myself. Then if anyone seeks me out and sends me and sends me a message on how they can order bigger size or some scent that the store had run out of, I just refer them to the stores that carry my lotions, and coordinate with my SIL and the store to fulfill the request.

I start with the lotions, and maybe down the line I will gradually re-introduce my other products like lavender foot cream, face creams, hand cream, liquid soaps, lip balms, massage oils, and salves.

Why Mooed in Maine? It’s a play in words made in Maine. Mooed because I use a lot of milk from our home-grown organically-raised pastured/grass-fed/hay-fed cows. Maine because it’s made in Maine – where the well water I use after reverse-osmosis is very clean (like Poland spring water, which is actually sourced here in Maine); where the cows we raise are fed on the pasture not damaged by pesticides; where people take pride and support locally-made products. Together with its cute logo, I want my product to be seen as friendly to everybody — not just for the strict natural/organic consumers, but also those who might want to have some playful streaks in them, or anything unisex or even catering to men.

So here’s to a fresh start!Homemade products as Christmas gifts