Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Do I need a preservative for anhydrous cleanser?

  • Do I need a preservative for anhydrous cleanser?

    Posted by DLR94 on June 4, 2020 at 9:29 am

    I’ve been making an oil based cleanser and Phenoxyethanol was going to be the preservative. 

    A lot of my clients are a bit iffy about this ingredient so I was just wondering if it needed to be included?

    The cleanser is made up of 3 different oils, a PEG, vit E, vanilla extract and cucumber extract. 

    Is the phenoxyethanol needed?

    DLR94 replied 3 years, 5 months ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • oldperry

    June 4, 2020 at 11:17 am

    How do your clients feel about bacteria and mold being applied to their faces? 

    Adding preservatives is done to make products safe. Vanilla extract and Cucumber extract are just the kind of thing that microbes eat and live on. If your clients don’t mind having potentially disease causing microbes in their products, you can skip the preservative. Hopefully, no one will catch anything or be injured by your product and sue you.

    Yes, you need a preservative.

    I know you have an anhydrous product and the probability of contamination and microbial growth is low. But it is not zero.

    If one of your clients sues you, the first thing they will point out is that your product doesn’t contain a preservative so it is not protected from microbes. What defense would you have?

    Keep the phenoxyethanol. It’s safer for your clients and for your business.

  • pharma

    June 4, 2020 at 7:12 pm
    How do you get the cucumber extract into the product? Is it oil soluble?
    Preservation of anhydrous formulations is highly recommended if there is a surface on which moulds can grow. Using an airless dispenser which ‘auto-closes’ so there is no entry point can be sufficient (Avène uses such dispensers and tubes and often doesn’t even use preservatives in the strict sense for emulsions -> they use for example glycerol).
    You could for example use GMCY or caprylyl glycol (both multifunctionals with skin conditioning and some emulsifying properties and stronger against bacteria) combined with anisic acid or magnolia extract 98 (both stronger against yeasts and moulds, the former may be labelled a fragrance, the latter is also an antioxidant -> replace Vit. E and an anti-ageing claim ingredient).
    What’s the PEG good for? Is it a PEG-based emulsifier? Then, GMCY/caprylyl glycol might do the job instead (maybe not as good, though).
  • DLR94

    June 9, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Thank you. It’s so hard fighting the ‘natural’ ‘dirty dozen’ brigade. I’ve decided to stick with the phenoxyethanol. 

    Thank you both for your input @Pharma @Perry

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