How to Keep Backbar Massage Products Hygienic
April 1 • Business Success • By Jeff St. Peters, LMT, Senior Product Development Manager
Purchasing massage products in bulk saves money and reduces packaging waste. However, you’ll want to follow some best practices for storing and dispensing them. Here are a few guidelines that’ll help protect you, your clients, and your investment:
1. Store in a cool, dry, dark place.
Lotions and creams have preservative systems that help them maintain a shelf life of generally 1-2 years. Although they’ve undergone stability testing (also called “challenge testing”), their integrity can lose effectiveness over time, especially when they’re exposed to excessive heat or moisture. These formulations usually contain water, and if the preservative systems break down, this water can foster bacteria growth.
Oils (and most gels) are anhydrous, or free of water, so they don’t require added preservatives. However, oils can go rancid, especially if exposed to sunlight. Therefore, in addition to keeping oils cool and dry, you’ll want to make sure they’re stored in the dark, too.
2. Always use a clean spatula to dispense creams.
Avoid inserting your hands into a container of massage cream. Use a clean spatula to place it on a clean dish, and never return used product to the container.
3. Use new, clean pumps and bottles.
Don’t reuse pumps. Old product can get into crevices, breed bacteria, and contaminate new product. They’re hard to clean and thoroughly dry, so the safest measure you can take is to use a new one. Besides, they are inexpensive, ranging from $4.00 to $7.00.
If you reuse an 8 oz. bottle, avoid “marrying” old and new product. Make a habit of discarding old, unused product left in the bottle about every 3-6 months. Before reuse, always make sure it’s clean and completely air-dried. Old product or water can affect preservation.
4. If you use an oil warmer, only heat what you need.
Oils can go rancid quicker due to heat. Only place the amount needed for the client in the warmer and use a heat-resistant bowl to ensure the quality and safety of the product you use on the client.
5. Don’t mix products from different manufacturers.
Manufacturers use a variety of formulations that contain varying percentages of ingredients, including water. The preservatives utilized in any given formulation is specific to the product’s pH and its ingredients. If formulations are mixed, it could hinder stability, and bacteria or mold could grow.
6. If you refill large containers, make sure they’re clean and dry.
Sometimes reusing a 5-gallon dispenser is convenient, but before you refill it, make sure it’s clean of old product. Then, allow it to completely air-dry. Old product or water can affect preservation.
We hope these tips help, and as always, we’re here to support you.
Universal Companies is proud to have a team of experienced spa advisors on staff and welcomes you to consult with our professionals about spa products and supplies, including ingredients, equipment, and retail. Dedicated to the success of spa professionals everywhere, we're grateful to be recognized with the American Spa Magazine Professional's Choice Award, Favorite Distributor of the Year for many consecutive years. (Thank you!)