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Crafting Cosmetics Lab Hygiene


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Crafting Cosmetics

Lab Standard Hygiene Practices

Setting The Stage for Safety

Before you can start to create your own products there are some basic guidelines that you'll need to familiarize yourself with in order to make sure that you are creating safe products. It's important to remember that your lab environment, regardless of it's size or location, must be treated as a  "Clean Room" to keep it as sanitary as possible considering that your environment is not free from microbes.  We and our environment will always have the potential for mold, bacteria ... even in the case of high power exhaust and sanitizer.  Regarding sanitizer please keep in mind that sanitizer should always be used in conjunction with proper hand washing and not as an alternative in the lab environment.  Please review the list, below, to become more aware of potential issues to help prevent proliferation and infestation.

1.  Only those familiar with, and able to follow, the guidelines should ever be allowed access to your processing lab and all who enter should be wearing proper lab clothing to include:  freshly laundered lab coat over clean clothing; rated safety goggles; sterile or sanitized* gloves;  shoe covers;  rated face mask  or shield, unless your work table has a sneeze guard or other impermeable shield; and  appropriate hair net or rated cover.

2.  Freshly washed hands no matter how clean you believe your hands may be, it's important to wash just before applying gloves and always sanitize your gloves after putting them on to remove any possible cross contamination from the application process.  Never remove gloves by touching the finger tips because then the potential is high that you will then contaminate your hands.  Please see our video on Proper Gloving Technique for more details.

3.  Sanitize all equipment before every use.  Even though it was washed after the last use it needs sanitation now because the environment has contaminants that may settle on equipment.

4.  Use a freshly sanitized utensil with every use.  Never move from one product to another using the same utensil, without washing and sanitizing, to avoid the potential for cross contaminating one product from another.  Never store your utensil in the product no matter how clean your hands were and even when the handle will not be in the product because again, there is potential for environmental cross contamination.

5.  Always sanitize and seal your container, including the lid, between uses to avoid environmental contamination and excess air introduction.  It's important that no matter how clean you were in the dispensing process you always wipe down the container rim and inside down to product after each use.  Always transfer product to smaller, sanitized, containers to avoid reaching too far down into the container.

6.  Never add any dispensed product back into the main batch to avoid the potential for cross contamination.

7.  Unless otherwise and specifically indicated, never store  bases refrigerated to avoid the introduction of moisture through condensation.  All bases should be stored cool, dry, and protected from heat and light.

8.  Never re-use gloves, dispensing tools, equipment, to avoid cross contamination.  We must always assume that there has been a contamination and avoid transferring that contamination from one item to another.

*Sanitized Gloves ... in a perfect world you will always use sterile gloves but that is not always practical and that's okay however, in the case of disposable gloves you must keep in mind that the box containing the gloves was never sterile and free from microbial contaminants and most likely neither was the tool or person who filled the box and touched the gloves ... so you must apply the gloves, using only the cuffs and never touching the finger tips or palms, and you must either spray down with 70% alcohol or wipe with a 70% alcohol saturated clean, disposable, towel and allow air drying.  Whenever you use alcohol as the sanitizer it must remain wet for a minimum of 30 seconds.  70% alcohol will remain wet for 30 seconds while higher concentrations dry too quickly.

Your work area should be clear of everything except the things that are dedicated to crafting your products. You'll want to use stainless steel for all of your utensils and equipment attachments because plastic not only leaches chemicals but is not heat stable and glass can be unsafe for heating your ingredients as it can crack, break, and sometimes even explode. You should never mix your food utensils / equipment with your cosmetic utensils / equipment. Anything that you'll be using for your cosmetics, and your work area, should be cleaned with hot soapy water, rinsed, and then sanitized with industrial sanitizer or isopropyl alcohol which will also help to ensure that there is no water left on your utensils / equipment as any water will add contamination potential. Everything should be wiped down with alcohol, because it kills germs and leaves no residue, and then left to air dry before proceeding. If possible always wash all utensils and equipment attachments, and bowls, in a dishwasher with a sanitation cycle. Even when you do this you should still wipe everything down with alcohol, and then let it air dry because the alcohol will ensure that there are no traces of moisture on your utensils / equipment. The first enemy that you have, in crafting cosmetics, is water. Water can introduce a host of contaminants, and chemicals, that will challenge your product's safety /efficacy.

Familiarize yourself with the contamination potential of the ingredients that you'll be working with, to include cosmetic bases, so that you'll know what level of potential for contamination the ingredient/base has so that you can address that potential when it's necessary. In many formulas you'll see that specific temperatures are recommended. In many cases this is to improve, or aid, the emulsion (combining of water and oil) but, sometimes these temperature recommendations are to 'pasteurize' (kill any contaminants) those ingredients that have a higher than usual contamination potential. This process takes approximately 20 minutes at 170F. Be sure to use a thermometer to determine the temperature accurately. You can get inexpensive thermometers from you local restaurant supply, or online at Science Lab. A digital thermometer is preferable otherwise, be sure to keep them calibrated. An easy way to do this is to insert the thermometer, by two inches, into a cup of ½ water and ½ ice, which will be 32F, and turn the calibration nut, right under the dial, until it reads 32F. Any time that you take a temperature make sure that the thermometer is in the product by at least two inches, for an accurate reading. For monitoring temperatures you can even buy thermometers with clips so that you can just clip the thermometer onto the side of your cooking vessel. In order to control the heat being applied to the product it's best to use hot plates, which you can get from your local discount store, or online at Wayfair and Science Lab, if you want a really nice one. Most of these will be electric so it's best to use a cast iron griddle with will protect the heating elements from any oil spills, which will cause a fire, as well as help you to control the heat. You can also buy these at your local restaurant supply, or online at Acemart. It's best that you don't try to heat your ingredients in the microwave because you'll need to maintain certain temperatures and control the temperature to a higher degree than a microwave will allow, and the microwave can be unsafe due to the possibility of exploding glass and melting plastic.

Okay, those are the basics for sanitation and hygience. Now, you're ready to start thinking about what you'd like to make.



HAPPY CRAFTING!


 



Setting The Stage for Safety


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