Kimmi is careful: Is it true that tub-style skincare packaging can become contaminated with bacteria? If so, then why don’t more companies package their products in tubes or bottles?
The Right Brain responds:
Yes Kimmi, it’s true that any product packed in a tub is more prone to bacterial contamination. To a large extent, that’s because you dip your fingers into the tub so any bug living on your skin can be transferred to the product. That doesn’t happen with tubes.
The good news is that the preservatives used in most cosmetics will keep bacteria from growing. Of course, that means more “chemicals” like parabens must be added to the formula. But then again, preservatives need to be added to the product whether it’s sold in a tube or not (to provide protection during manufacturing.) Whew! Instead of talking in circles, let’s just give you three things to watch out if you’re worried about contamination in tub products.
Keep your top on
In addition to contamination from your fingers, airborne bacteria, mold and fungi can easily colonize an uncovered jar of product. Keep the cap on when you’re not using the product.
Tub products that are meant to be used in the shower are REALLY asking for trouble. That’s because the extra water that splashes into the tub can dilute the product’s preservative system. And even if you’re really really careful, the warm moist air in the shower is a good breeding ground for mold. (Have you seen the Left Brain’s shower? YUCK!)
Watch for water
The shower isn’t the only place you should watch for water. Look for it on the ingredient list on the back of the package. Or rather, look for products that DON’T have water. Think of oil-based sugar or salt scrubs. Those products are sold in tubs but since they don’t typically contain any water there’s very little chance that bacteria will grow in them.
Tubs vs Tubes
So why don’t more companies pack their products in tubes for better protection? It’s really just a marketing decision by the company based on which type of packaging will make the product more appealing and on the cost of the product. (In general, tubs are cheaper to make and to fill than tubes.) Every company makes this decision differently: for example, Clinique is a brand that’s fairly inconsistent with their approach to packaging. Their Repairwear SPF Cream and Super Defense Triple Action Moisturizer are packaged in tubs, while Repairwear Deep Wrinkle Concentrate and Deep Cleansing Emergency Mask are sold in tubes. Go figure.
What do YOU think? Do you take packaging into consideration when decide which cosmetics to buy? Leave a comment and share your thoughts with the rest of the Beauty Brains community.