Organic Grape Alcohol 190 proof as a Preservative?

Hello: I have been using more natural preservatives in my skin cream but would like to try organic 190 proof grape alcohol as a preservative. I have two questions. My understanding is that the alcohol needs to be 15-20% to effectively preserve the skin cream. But is that of total volume or just the water phase. Second at what stage do you add the alcohol and should it be warmed to the temp of the emulsion? I assume cool down phase but I find that my emulsion breaks. Any tips appreciated.


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Total volume

    No, you shouldn't warm the alcohol as it will evaporate off thereby reducing the percentage in your formula.

    Yes, on cool down. Yes, it breaks emulsions. Just one of the reasons it's not used very often.
  • Got it! Thank you.
  • Agree with Perry... alcohol has been around for thousands of years...and cosmetics I think tracked back as much....and don't believe the two are good alcohol is drying, and creams and lotions are generally created to moisturize.  I would kinda compare it to using a hand a face cream.... Not gonna be a big market for that.

  • Its ok used in light serums but in emulsions I don't think it would be efficient. In order to neutralize the drying of alcohol you would need a lot of vegetable glycerine and 1-2 film forming hydrator. I can't give my formula but I made a non approved hand santizer during the beginnig of covid that was very moisturizing even though it contained 65% alcohol.
  • @floragood, you can try getting more advice from Olionatura, but I can tell you from experience, ethanol is difficult to work with in emulsions, especially when you go above 5% total concentration or so.  I have had some luck in cold process adding it at the beginning, but the recommendation -- if using hot process -- is to always add it during cool down.  You might be better off trying to use a smaller concentration of alcohol plus other natural agents as preservatives and then seeing if that works.  Obviously, you would have to do some testing, no matter which path you choose, to make sure the preservation is effective.

  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    "Organic Grape alcohol" - for a functional purpose,  it's just ethanol and you need to make sure it's good alcohol.  Alcohol itself can be contaminated.
Sign In or Register to comment.