Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Preservatives for a Water-based Pomade

  • Preservatives for a Water-based Pomade

    Posted by Anonymous on January 27, 2020 at 12:50 am

    I have been learning about preservatives and I want to make sure that my preservative combination will cover all cases.

    My current formula is 44% distilled water. My preservative is going to be 1% of the composition.

    To make my preservative, I plan on mixing the combo with the following ratio:

    Optiphen-plus 60%
    Potassium Sorbate 20%
    Propanediol 20%

    The reason why I’m using Potassium Sorbate is because it looks like Optiphen-plus is good at protecting against gram positive and negative bacteria, but isn’t so great at protecting against mould. Potassium Sorbate should cover the mould part - although it seems to be a pain to handle since I can only add it to my cooling phase at 38C because it’s unstable at higher temps.

    I’ve read that propanediol enhances the efficacy of the other preservatives.

    What do you think about the mixture above?
    Also, if I were to sell my pomade, do I need to get it lab-tested? Also, is there a way for me to test it against bacteria and mould myself?


    OldPerry replied 4 years, 4 months ago 3 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • natzam44

    January 27, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    If you don’t have experience with preservatives, I would ditch the idea of making your own mixture and simply buy a good preservative (like parabens or phenoxyethanol mixtures) from a manufacturer.

    And yes, you must get your product tested and you should not attempt it yourself. It will likely cost a few hundred dollars but it is better than getting sued.

  • Anonymous

    January 27, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Thanks for the feedback @natzam44

    I avoided parabens because of its potential carcinogenic properties and phenoxyethanol is really only strong against gram-positive bateria. I wanted to cover my bases.

    I can stick to pure Optiphen-plus I suppose which is weak against mold (but at least it’s better than phenoxyethanol).

  • OldPerry

    January 28, 2020 at 12:44 am

    Parabens do not have carcinogenic properties.

  • ozgirl

    January 28, 2020 at 1:50 am
    I would recommend adding Optiphen Plus at the recommended usage rate (1%) and then adding extra potassium sorbate (0.1-0.2%) to cover the shortfall in mould coverage. Also ensure that your pH is around 5 to get the best performance.
    Here is a great website that reviews preservatives that might give you some other options. http://makingskincare.com/preservatives/

  • Anonymous

    January 28, 2020 at 1:57 am

    @ozgirl Thank you, I’ll drop propanediol completely.

    @Perry Thank you, I guess I was misinformed. There has been a lot of products that claim to be paraben-free (but I guess it’s just a buzzword). I’ll try germaben-II if my optiphen-plus and potassium sorbate combo doesn’t work (already bought it and dont want to spend more money currently)

  • OldPerry

    January 28, 2020 at 2:23 am

    @PomadeCraft - yes, fear marketing is alive and well in the cosmetic industry. That’s because it’s effective. But the ingredients most frequently used in cosmetic formulating have been safety tested and are safe to use at levels in normally used in cosmetics.

    The primary reason for avoiding parabens is because they have a poor reputation.

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