Polysorbate 80 and phenoxythanol

Hello everyone.
Am new here and new to formulating, so please excuse any dumb questions.
Would like to know if phenoxyethanol can be used as a preservative for a product that contains polysorbate 80. 
I read that it destabilizes phenoxyethanol but I have seen quite a few products with the two together.
Looking forward to your reply


  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Concentration and formula dependent.  
  • Thank you! I shall make a stable formulation and return for more advice. :)
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    The issue is not a 'stable' formulation with regard to physical stability but microbial stability ;) .
    If you want to play on the safer side, use 'solvents' such as glycols in your water phase to force phenoxyethanol out of the interface (i.e. the PEG-shell around the emulsion droplets). This however is not an exact science and glycols also tend to sit around the interphase... only a challenge test will tell if you're on the right or wrong track.
  • Wow.. there is so much to learn here! With stable formula, I meant, I was still struggling with the physical stability of it. :D Thought I should get that right and then look into the preservative system.
  • And since I have only purchased phenoxyethanol, I was hoping it would work in all formulas..but I realize that's not going to happen.
  • With my product and my experience, they can work well together.
  • Oh! That is encouraging  :)
Sign In or Register to comment.