Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Non-Irritating Preservatives

  • Non-Irritating Preservatives

    Posted by Sasse on August 11, 2020 at 3:37 am

    Hi everyone,

    I am looking for a broad spectrum preservative that I can use for lotion and cream emulsions that have a pH range of 4-4.5. I tried using Optiphen plus (phenoxyethanol, caprylyl glycol, sorbic acid), but noticed that it severely irritated my skin. I made a small batch without the preservative, applied it and noticed that I did not get any burning sensations like I did when I added the preservative. 

    I would really appreciate suggestions on preservatives that can be purchased by home crafters and can be used in emulsions within a 4-6 pH range. I would prefer to stay away from phenoxyethanol, dehydroacetic acid, and anything with parabens. 
    I have been looking at phenylpropanol EHG (phenylpropanol and ethylhexylglycerin) on Making Cosmetics and Euxyl K900 (Benzyl alcohol and ethylhexylglycerin) on Lotion Crafters. Any thoughts on these?

    Any suggestions will be very much appreciated! 

    MarkBroussard replied 3 years, 4 months ago 7 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • zetein

    August 11, 2020 at 5:09 am

    But parabens are non-irritating, and there’s really nothing wrong using them.
    Ethylhexylglycerin along with mid-chain glycols are known to tingle, so maybe they aren’t great choices, if that’s what you have experienced…

  • Sasse

    August 11, 2020 at 6:03 am

    @zetein Thank you so much for your reply, but I’d still rather not use parabens. That’s interesting about ethylhexylglycerin, thanks for letting me know! 

  • Sasse

    August 11, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    Please, any more broad spectrum preservative suggestions will be appreciated! 

  • OldPerry

    August 11, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    There really aren’t any if you’re not willing to use parabens or phenoxyethanol or other chemically sounding preservatives like Methylisothiazolinone, DMDM Hydantoin or Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate. 

    There is a reason industry uses parabens. It’s because they work, they aren’t irritating, they don’t destabilize emulsions and they don’t usually cause allergic reactions. If there was some simple replacement, industry would have switched to them long ago.

    New preservatives that are out aren’t effective or cause irritation issues. 

  • Sasse

    August 11, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Thank you for your reply @Perry! Yes, that makes a lot of sense. 

    I guess what I want to know is if those two preservatives I listed above will be effective in a pH range of 4-6. I read that the preservatives are suitable in a pH of up to 12. 
    I know one cannot really tell if a preservative will be effective until a microbial test is conducted, but I would like to know if it will just be a waste of time trying to include it in this pH range. 
  • OldPerry

    August 11, 2020 at 8:04 pm

    Yes, theoretically, those ones you listed could work at a pH range 4-6 (although you should stay closer to pH 5 or below for Benzyl alcohol.)

  • Sasse

    August 11, 2020 at 11:32 pm

    Thank you so much @Perry for all your input! 

  • ngarayeva001

    August 12, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    Another decent option is germall plus. No parabens :)

  • Sasse

    August 24, 2020 at 12:39 am

    Thank you! @ngarayeva001

  • nattydeo_newb

    December 4, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Hi @Sasse - 4 months later, I’m finding myself in the same boat as you and looking at purchasing either phenylpropanol EHG or Euxyl K900 for my deodorant formulation. Did you end up trying either, and what did you find?

    Thanks in advance for any input!

  • PhilGeis

    December 5, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Can you described your deodoant composition - esp. is it water based?   Those are not esp. effective preservatves - and benzyl alcohol (Euxyl K900) is a skin isensitizer.

  • MarkBroussard

    December 5, 2020 at 7:09 pm


    You can try Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate + Phenylpropanol EHG and pair those up with a chelating agent ( Sodium Glutamate Diacetate ) and a preservative potentiator such as Pentylene Glycol or Propanediol and you should be just fine.

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