how to choose the right combination of preservatives?

I am looking for a link for an article or a video that might help me choose the right combination of preservatives.
I have looked up some articles online and none of them was that informative that i can rely on when deciding how to preserve my product.
Thanks in advance.


  • i am making hair conditioners, if that might make a difference.
    thanks again
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    A blend of DMDM Hydantoin and Methylparaben would work well for most hair conditioners. 
  • i can't use any kind of paraben as it goes completely against my marketing story 
    can i replace the Methylparaben with benzyl alcohol ?
    something like 1.5% of DMDM Hydantoin and .5% of benzyl alcohol ?
  • Water 89.6
    guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride 0.5
    Polyquaternium 10 2
    cetyl babassuate 1.5
    stearalkonium chloride 1
    glyceryl stearate 0.7
    cetearyl alcohol 3
    citric acid 0.2
    dmdm hydantoin 1.5
    benzyl alcohol  0.5
    Fragrance 0.5
  • would this combination of preservative be enough, or should i add something more ?
    thanks a lot, perry
  • The only real way to find out would be to do a series of tests.
  • that's going to be my first batch, and currently a factory will do the manufacturing for me, i don't have a lab to test my product before production and i will be able to afford renting one in the time being, so i am doing all the research online and i will have to take the risk.
    it's not going to be a very large batch, so, if odds are to be in my favor, it won't be stored for long.
    so, i hope things go well.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited May 2018
    That could work for preservation but it depends on many factors (ingredients, manufacturing conditions, etc). The only way you know for sure is to do testing. You can't simply look at a formula on paper and know for certain that the preservative system will work.

    *Edit - I should add that 1.5% DMDM Hydantoin is a very high amount and probably excessive. We used 0.2% for such products. But the amount to use depends on many factors as noted above.
  • thank you, guys for your help, i do appreciate it.
    I hope i will be able to test it soon.
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    What is the pH of your formula?  That would be the first bit of information required to guide you to some acceptable options on Preservatives and Preservative Potentiators
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details
  • GuntherGunther Member
    IMO Benzyl Alcohol is almost only used when Parabens and Formaldehyde releasers are avoided to make label claims You can even use Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoates and Sorbates together if your pH is low enough for the latter two. Some commercial preservatives already include said blends.
  • I believe the PH of the formula would be around 3.5 - 4
  • Hi, Gunther, do you mean that some preservatives already include the Benzoates and Sorbates, do you know names of some of those preservatives?
    why can't i use Formaldehyde with benzyl alcohol, do they contradict with one another?
  • GuntherGunther Member
    I meant that formaldehyde-releasers scare some customers away, like parabens do

    so, if you make paraben-free, formaldehyde-releasers-free claims
    you'd be forced to look for "safer" alternatives
    Benzyl alcohol is approved for lots of injections meds, so far proven safe after decades of use
    Benzoates and sorbates are perceived by customers as ok, since they are so widely used in food you eat, again proven ok by decades of nonstop use.

    If you're already using Formaldehyde-Releasers, there's no need for BA, you often got enough protection from FRs.
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