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  • Preservative Questions

    Posted by Anonymous on July 20, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    I had a question about preservatives. I’ve been making lip glosses and lipsticks. I’ve successfully made a few with recipes I found via Google and now I’m trying to modify them myself. I’ve been adding a preservative to my formulas at .5% of the total formula. However, it’s been making my lips go numb if I add more than .02%. I’m pretty much the gold standard for allergic reactions. If someone is going to have an allergic reaction to something it will be me, so I’m making the assumption that this is what the issue is. If my assumption is wrong, please let me know. 

    Is there a hard and fast rule for how much preservative you should add to your products? Specifically, products without water. I’ve been trying to stay within the same range as the formulas I modify, but eventually I’d like to make my own formulas. 

    Can anyone recommend a different preservative for lipstick / lip glosses and a dry powder preservative for loose eyeshadows? I’m not sure which ingredient in the preservative is causing the issue I’m experiencing.

    I’ve been reading that soap doesn’t need a preservative because of the PH, but a huge portion of soap making information is written by hobbyists/bloggers without a chemistry background so I’m not sure how reliable that information is. Is this true or should I add a preservative to cold process soaps? 

    Thank you for the help.

    Preservative INCI:  Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol. 

    Sunstone replied 7 years, 2 months ago 6 Members · 13 Replies
  • 13 Replies
  • belassi

    Member
    July 20, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Cold process soap needs no preservative. Its shelf life is dependent on the oils used; if you use stable oils then there should be no problem.
    Are you certain the preservative and not another ingredient is the cause of your issue?

  • Anonymous

    Guest
    July 20, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Hi Belassi, I’m 99% positive it’s the preservative that’s the issue. I tested every ingredient individually by omitting them one at a time while making the formula. If that makes sense? 

  • belassi

    Member
    July 20, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    I’d guess that it might be the phenoxyethanol, because it seems much less likely that the hexylene glycol would be the issue; HG is noted as being less irritating than PG. Highly unlikely to be the sorbate or CG. If I were you I would test this directly by diluting the preservative to 0.5% and doing a patch test. I assume you have no essential oils in there.

  • bill_toge

    Member
    July 20, 2016 at 6:42 pm

    having experimented with numerous would-be preservatives for mouthwash a few years back, I can say that numbness is a characteristic effect of phenoxyethanol and benzyl alcohol; not irritating per se, but it is unpleasant

    for loose powders, you want a preservative that’s a loose powder too - sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate and sodium methyl paraben are the most commonly used ones

  • Anonymous

    Guest
    July 21, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    @Belassi and @Bill_Toge, Thanks, guys. This helped a lot. I really appreciate it. 

  • cherri

    Member
    July 21, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    I have seen people using caprylyl glycol for lip products. please note that you are making anhydrous lipstick so no preservative is needed.

  • bill_toge

    Member
    July 21, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    @cherri colour cosmetics are very easily contaminated, as they come into direct contact with the skin and are used repeatedly; for that reason it’s always wise to include a preservative

  • bobzchemist

    Member
    July 22, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Other than using phenoxyethanol, the risk to adding a preservative to lipstick is below miniscule, while the risk of NOT adding a preservative is potentially catastrophic.

  • Anonymous

    Guest
    July 24, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    @cherri I know a lot lipsticks don’t have preservatives, but I want to use one in everything I make because I intend to sell these. It’s my responsibility to make a product that is safe and I can’t rely on every customer to know/understand what may be a contamination risk. It doesn’t completely absolve me of liability if something goes wrong, but it will at least minimize the risk. 

  • Anonymous

    Guest
    December 7, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Is there a comparison between preservatives I can find somewhere that includes Vitamin E and Grapeseed Extract? 

  • belassi

    Member
    December 7, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Vitamin E is not a preservative and grapeseed extract is not a safe preservative.

  • microformulation

    Member
    December 7, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    SMH

  • Sunstone

    Member
    December 8, 2016 at 12:39 am

    bettyearl, check out Point of Interest http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/ Susan has a good comparison table for different preservatives, and also articles covering each one. She also explains the function of Vitamin E (reduction in oxidation of oils, ie. preventing rancidity) and how you can use it in your formulas. Great resource.

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