Although we can never be truly sterile when making skincare at home we need to try our best with stringent hygiene, a clean work-space and the proper use and storage of ingredients.
To help implement some good manufacturing practices for your working environment, follow the suggestions below.
- Always maintain good hand hygiene: Wear gloves or use liquid soap and paper towels to wash and dry your hands. Always use an alcohol hand sanitiser, even after washing your hands.
- Keep your hair tied back or covered: Use a hairnet, scarf or hat to keep hair covered.
- Make sure all work surfaces and utensils are sterilised before use: You can use isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle to spray work surfaces and utensils. If needed use clean paper towels to wipe off any excess. If you have bought your bottles and jars from a reputable supplier and you are storing them properly there will be no need to sterilise them before use.
- For making products containing water its best to use distilled water: Do not use tap water.
- Products containing water MUST contain a preservative.
- Store ingredients in a cool, dark, dry place.
- Have separate equipment for making skincare: Do not use the same equipment/utensils you use for cooking. Wash skincare making equipment/utensils separately from kitchen equipment/utensils.
- Use equipment that can be sterilised after use: E.g. a stick blender with a removable head that can be put in the dishwasher; one piece spatulas to avoid possible contamination between the head and handle.
- Keep good records of ingredients: Date purchased, batch number, expiry date. Any ingredient that starts to look or smell different (even if within the expiry date) should be discarded.
- Keep good notes of formulations: Ingredients, quantities, method. It is also a good idea to assign a batch number and keep a small sample of each product you formulate to assess quality and stability.
- If you are making products for the retail market you should send your products to a lab for challenge testing. You cannot control how your products are stored or used once they leave you, so it is imperative to know that they are stable and well preserved before going to market.
- Make sure your products are labeled properly: Use INCI names and avoid making claims about their efficacy.