Phenoxyethanol is commonly used as a preservative in cosmetic products to limit the growth of bacteria. It can be found in a wide range of products including skincare, body care, shampoos, makeup, as well as vaccines and other medical supplies. It is also used as a fragrance stabiliser. Phenoxyethanol is incredibly versatile, It works in a large range of formulas and pH ranges. It has broad spectrum activity against many pathogens, is stable, and is compatible with many other preservatives used in cosmetics.
Phenoxyethanol is an excellent alternative to potentially harmful parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, both with demonstrable evidence of potential health risks, whereas phenoxyethanol is very safe at low levels. It’s been tested on the skin and eyes and it is non-irritating and non-sensitizing at levels of 2.2% or lower while being effective at only 1% concentrations. Globally, Phenoxyethanol has been approved for use in cosmetic products in concentrations up to 1%. Its activity is effective in deactivating doses of gram-negative and gram-positive microorganisms, as well as a yeast.
Common Uses/ Benefits
Phenoxyethanol is stable up to 85°C and has useful activity from pH 3 to 10. Phenoxyethanol is inactivated by highly ethoxylated compounds. In surfactant solution systems, the water must be saturated with Phenoxyethanol for activity. If the level is too low, it acts as a nutrient for bacteria.
Phenoxyethanol is used in both mainstream and natural cosmetics products as a preservative or stabilizer for ingredients that might otherwise deteriorate, spoil, or become less effective too quickly. Research shows that compared to many other preservatives, the incidence of a sensitivity or allergic reaction to phenoxyethanol applied as used in cosmetics is rare. Most of the studies that have found significant negative health impacts are based on full-strength or high-dose exposures. In real life usage, exposures are quite small. That’s why it’s approved at levels up to 1%. It’s all about the final formulation.
Preservatives, generally carry some risk of sensitizing the skin. That’s because preservatives of any kind are meant to kill fungus, bacteria, and mold and that can negatively impact skin. Though, Phenoxyethanol used in skincare products is synthetic, this chemical occurs naturally in green tea.
CAS NUM: 122-99-6
INCI Name: Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin.
Percentage Purity: 99.8%
Colour & Appearance: Transparent colourless liquid
Other Uses: Solvent for other preservatives with low water solubility; As a fragrance (in the perfume industry) due to its floral scent
Processing: Synthetic (Phenoxyethanol is naturally found in Green Tea but its nature-identical version is synthetically and commercially made in the lab).
Ingredient Function: Preservative, Solvent.
Stable in pH range: 3 to 10.
Recommended Usage: 0.25% to 1% [Should be used in combination with a co-preservative or preservative booster that is effective against yeast and mold, to help improve its preservative effectiveness.
Compatibility: It is compatible with other Preservatives.
Solubility: Soluble in most oils, propylene glycol, glycerin; limited solubility in water.
Application: Creams and lotions, face masks, serums and toners, shampoos and conditioners, hairstyling products, body scrubs, makeup.
Country of Origin: USA
Packaging: Our water/Oil based ingredients are bottled in plastics avoid spillage.
Precaution: US and Japan:
- Not PH dependent, and so allows flexibility in formulation
- To preserve against yeast and mold, Phenoxyethanol should be used in combination with a co-preservative or preservative booster, such as Potassium Sorbate or other
- Not to be used in products meant for infants or nursing mothers, as Phenoxyethanol exposure isharmful to infants
- Some persons develop allergic skin reactions to Phenoxyethanol, especially when its used above the recommended 1%. So, a patch test is recommended before using products containing Phenoxyethanol.
FACT: Phenoxyethanol is not the same as Ethanol, and it is not a type of Alcohol. It’s a Glycol Ether, or a type of Glycol.
NOTE: This is a cosmetic grade product; For external use only (not to be consumed internally/eaten)
Recommended Storage: Our water/Liquid based ingredients should be stored in cool temperatures away from direct sunlight and moisture in an airtight container. (Current Lot will expire: 05-2026)
DISCLAIMER: All SOPHIX NATURAL PRODUCTS are for external use only unless otherwise STATED. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.