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How to Choose Safe Containers for DIY Skincare Recipes

How to Choose Safe Containers for DIY Skincare RecipesSo you’ve become the DIY Queen with your natural, homemade skincare brews, huh?  So the next step is choosing safe containers that don’t contaminate your non-toxic recipe, but his part can be a little tricky – especially if you're using essential oils. We'll have you headed in the right direction with a few quick steps!

Choosing Safe Containers for Your Specific Recipe

Choose glass containers and spray bottles when they won’t be stored around the sink, tub or in the diaper bag, and can be kept safely out of little hands.  Glass is non-porous and will hold up to pretty much any ingredient. Stainless steel works really well for many recipes too.

Here are a few of our favorite glass and stainless steel containers:

Kids Konserve Mini Containers

LunchBots Tiny Leak Proof Dips Condiment Containers

Mason Jar Shot Glasses with Lids

Ball Mason Jars (4 oz)

Amber Glass Spray Bottle

Straight Sided Glass Jar, with White Polypropylene Lid (2 oz)

You can also use tin containers (not to be confused with aluminum) for recipes without potent essential oils, but be aware they are often lined with some sort of epoxy just like aluminum water bottles.

We've been able to confirm that these tins don't have an internal liner at all:

Shallow Screw Top Tin (1/2 oz)

Shallow Screw Top Tin (2 oz)

Shallow Tin Can with Tight Fitting Lid (1 oz)

All tins sold by SKS Bottle are made without liners

When you need a less breakable option and stainless steel just won't cut it, choose containers made from HDPE (#2) or polypropylene (#5) for basic mixtures with mild essential oils. It's always a good idea to do compatibility testing before buying plastic containers in bulk. You'll know it's incompatible if the container begins to leak or changes in shape or color after 24 hours or so.

Here are some high quality polypropylene and HDPE containers to get you started:

Round Deodorant Containers

Oval Deodorant Containers

Plastic Ointment Jars With Lids

Clear Plastic Spray Mist Bottles (2 oz)

Flip-cap Bottles (travel size)

Squeezable Tubes (4 oz and 8 oz)

Durable Containers for More Potent Essential Oil Recipes

Some essential oils (especially citrus oils) have a chemical composition that is known to interfere with the chemistry of some plastics and metals, causing them to break down or rust.  Consider using PET (#1) jars for these recipes instead – even when diluted pretty thoroughly with a carrier oil.

PET has been shown to handle skincare products containing essential oils remarkably well because it has a high permeability resistance rating.  PET bottles should be replaced/recycled if they begin to show any signs of breakdown (leaking, warping or changing color).

Additional Cautions

  • Stay away from polystyrene containers and PVC tubes (often used for foundation or lip gloss, usually flexible).
  • Undiluted essentials oils should always be stored in glass, never in plastic.
  • Plastic containers may absorb the essential oil scent, so they will probably have to be used for cosmetics from that point on.
  • It's best not to use spatulas made from rubber or TPR, because the essential oils will ruin them.

Learn more about Decoding the Mystery of Safer vs Toxic Plastic here.

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4 Responses to How to Choose Safe Containers for DIY Skincare Recipes

  1. freedomdove December 19, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    Glass bottles and plastic spray tops don’t always match. Many times, the “matching” spray top has a different thread size and the contents will leak as a result unless the bottle is always upright and never shaken (which is impossible if the product contains EOs). Sometimes they will match up good enough if there’s a liner inside the spray top, but many times they won’t–even when a liner is present. I wondered if wrapping pipe tape around the threads of the bottles would fix the leak, so I tried it and it does help as far as I can tell. I use the yellow tape since it’s made for use around chemicals (it’s for gas lines), because essential oils are really strong.

    Make sure to wrap the tape the right way and wrap it tight. Only wrap the bottle threads once or twice since too much tape can be detrimental. I do one and a half revolutions. There are instructions on the internet for how to use pipe tape, in general. Search “applying pipe tape”. You don’t want to do as many revolutions around the threads as they do for pipes, but all else applies. Keep it taut and wrap in the direction that the lid screws on. Speaking from experience, it’s much harder to apply this tape to glass than it is to metal or PVC. Patience is definitely needed when doing a lot of bottles. I use scissors to cut the tape but you can tear it off by just pulling straight off the roll (no angle needed–just pull straight out).

  2. The Soft Landing Sisters
    The Soft Landing Sisters December 7, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    I think that would probably be fine, Christine. If you do it this time and then notice that the EO’s have lost their potency, you may want to switch to an amber bottle the next time.

  3. Dawn February 14, 2017 at 6:57 pm #

    Hi and thanks for sharing all of this great information. Can you please tell me your thoughts on using aluminum tins to store body butter with essential oils? I am looking at a screw top aluminum tin from I was able to confirm that they don’t use any internal liners. Can you tell me more about aluminum vs metal tins and their health risks?


    • Laura February 16, 2017 at 8:34 am #

      We don’t have specific information on that at this time, Dawn, although we’ve added it to our ever-growing list of subjects to research! ~The Soft Landing Sisters

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