Don't Skip The Vitamin E
Want to feel more in control of what’s going into your products and onto your skin? We feel you. When we started MTU, we were also curious about claims such as “paraben-free” and “preservative-free”, which led us to wonder how many of the ingredients in our products were harmful. DIY Skincare is a great option if you’re concerned about your ingredients, because not only do you get to experience them first-hand, but you learn so much in the process!
In true MTU Style, we learned ALOT about ingredients like parabens– which are preservatives– when we formulated our DIY Deodorant kit, and today we want to share one of the most important lessons we learned with you!
And that lesson is: if you’re into DIY Skincare, get yourself some Vitamin E!
Why to Include Vitamin E in Your Homemade Skincare
Well, like parabens/ preservatives in commercial cosmetics, Vitamin E can be used to “preserve” your oil-based DIY Skincare products! Why did we put “preserve” in quotation marks you may ask? That’s because Vitamin E is technically NOT a preservative!
Although Vitamin E and Parabens have the same end goal (to extend the shelf life of products) the way they work is not the same! Actual preservatives like parabens prevent microbial growth through antimicrobial effects, which is needed in many water-based products. Vitamin E instead prevents oxidation of oils, which is why its called an antioxidant! Keep in mind Vitamin E is NOT an actual preservative and cannot be used as one in products containing water.
Nevertheless we are here to tell you to check for “tocopherol” on the label of your favourite natural skincare products, and certainly look for them in DIY recipe’s you’re curious about trying if you want a long lasting product!
How Vitamin E Can "Preserve" Your DIY Skincare Products
Since skin care products involving water are far more susceptible to microbial growth and require more serious formulation chops, most DIY Skincare recipes you find online will be anhydrous (contain no water) and utilize an oil as a main ingredient.
But, since oils are fats, and since fats start to oxidize when exposed to air, even these simple skincare recipes need to be “preserved” somehow, or they will go rancid over time!
In order to “preserve” oils, you need to prevent this natural oxidation process. Since oxidation is a chemical reaction which produces free radicals, which in turn create a chain reaction that damages the oils, antioxidants are great at preserving the life of oils. Antioxidants like Vitamin E do just what they say they do: they terminate these reactions and therefore prevent oxidation!
Although oxidation may not be an issue for a quickly used product like a face mask, with products that tend to take a few months to use like homemade natural Deodorant, Vitamin E shouldn’t be skipped.
The Different Types of Vitamin E for DIY Skincare
There are two types of Vitamin E. There’s the type you can put on your skin for added benefits (like reducing fine lines), and there’s the type you can add to your DIY Skincare product to increase its shelf-life and stability.
To be sciency about it, where Alpha-tocopherols may be great for your skin, its beta, delta and gamma tocopherols that work well as antioxidants! So, always check with the supplier to ensure you are getting a raw material that is intended for its specific application. Depending on the percentage of oil in your formulation, Vitamin E can be used at around 0.3% - 0.5% to extend the life of your product, as a VERY general rule.
Always check with your supplier to confirm safe usage rates, but whatever you do, don’t skip the Vitamin E!