Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Do hydrosols need a preservative?


  • Do hydrosols need a preservative?

    Posted by jjackson on August 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Hi there

    I may look silly asking this question, but I cannot seem to find a straight answer online.
    Q: Can I sell hydrosols / floral waters in the UK without adding a preservative?
    I’ve seen some brands do. They sell the floral water distillate, with nothing added. I’ve observed another brand adds Sodium Sorbate to their hydrolats. And a chemist advised that she knew of a company selling hydrosols with only glycerine having been added.
    I buy them from suppliers as by-products of steam distillation of essential oils (nothing added). 

    My plan is to (first) make an eye makeup remover that it part oil, part hydrosol. If this product was 50% hydrosol and 50% oils, would I have to add a preservative in order to sell it?
    Thanks in advance for your help, your advice and the resources on this website are immensely helpful.
    Best wishes
    BartJ replied 8 years, 1 month ago 7 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • belassi

    August 6, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Anything with water in it needs a preservative.

  • jjackson

    August 7, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Yes, I know. Sorry, hence why I said it may seem like a silly question.

    But then I don’t comprehend how others can market their products online as a hydrolat or ‘floral water distillate’ without anything added. Unless of course, they’re not stating it on their ingredients.
    Thanks for the clarification anyway.
  • Bobzchemist

    August 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    I suppose if it’s made and packed aseptically, preserving the product after its been opened could be seen as being the customers problem.

  • OldPerry

    August 7, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    @jjackson - People can market anything.  That doesn’t mean they are doing it safely or legally.

  • jjackson

    February 28, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks for your comments Bobzchemist and Perry - they were not showing on my feed before now so have only just seen them.

    I will try and go down the aseptically packed root and sell them direct from the supplier.
    Thanks again
  • Margaret2

    February 28, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Then you’ll probably want to include something like ‘Refrigerate this after opening’ if you are NOT going to add a preservative me thinks. 

    I bought some Rose Geranium floral water from New Directions Aromatics some years ago, & asked about preservatives (it is NOT on the label anywhere). I was told there’s citric acid in it, to bring the pH down to act as a preservative. That was all. 
  • belassi

    February 28, 2016 at 8:54 pm
    Revisiting your original question:

    If this product was 50% hydrosol and 50% oils, would I have to add a preservative in order to sell it?

    How do you propose to make such an item without an emulsifier or solubilising agent? And secondly, could you be a bit more precise on “oils”?
  • Bill_Toge

    February 29, 2016 at 9:58 am

    you could technically sell it in the UK without a preservative, but if Trading Standards tested a consumer-ready sample and found it to be full of microbes, you’d be obliged to withdraw it from the market or face prosecution

  • BartJ

    February 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    When not working on my own products, I also work as a EU cosmetic safety assessor.

     As you want to sell your products in UK, this document should be helpful:

    At point 3.3.2. you get all the guidance regarding microbiological quality.

    A few questions to ask:
    - to the supplier of your raw materials, is there a preservative in the raw material? That happens more often than people think with plant extracts.
    - to the competition, have thay had their products safety assessed?

    Also, you will be making a product applicable in the eye area. If you check in the document above and the main body of cosmetic law for EU, the - http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2009:342:0059:0209:en:PDF - you product will fall into the highest microbial control category for cosmetics.

    The category comprises of: products for <3 yrs old, mucous membranes applicable, eye area applicable. (if you ever give samples to a micro lab, you need to let them know that your product belongs to this higher safety control because they have different ways of performing the tests).

    If you have any more questions here, I’m happy to answer. If you need someone to work with on getting all the legal aspects of the product correct and produce a cosmetic product safety report, I’ll happily be of service.

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