Preservatives for natural and organic beauty products


When doing organic and natural beauty products, we usually want to make sure they last as long as possible, especially if you decide to sell them. We also want to choose the right preservative that will keep the formula stable and will not affect the result of your beauty product whilst still protecting it from bacteria, fungi and moulds for as long as possible.

Below is a description of two well know preservatives used for the production of natural and organic cosmetics. I hope their description will help you to understand how to use them.

1- Preservative 12 INCI: Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin

This preservative works well for people with sensitive skin. The important advantage of using this preservative is that you don’t need to think about the pH reduction as you can use it to a pH of 12. However, is is important to say that is doesn’t work with product that contain detergents, such as shampoos, liquide soap, shower gels and foam bath. It doesn’t impact any smell to the product. You can replace Parabens and Preservative K with Preservative 12 in recipes that don’t contain detergents.

2- Preservative K INCI name: Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, and Potassium sorbate

Used by green cosmetic companies worldwide. It will only work in cosmetic products with a pH value up to 5.5. Preservative K is now accepted by the Soil Association as part of an organic cosmetic product that can be labelled ‘made with organic ingredients’.

3- Other natural preservatives (often used by soapmakers) can also be considered such as Grapefruit seed extract, Tocopherols (derivative forms of vitamin E) and carrot root oil.
For a clear understanding on how to use them, the book “Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care” by Aubrey Hampton can be of great help.

If you know additional natural preservatives not mentioned here, please share your knowledge by commenting below.

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