Most common cosmetic preservatives

We frequently see brands that claim to be “paraben free” and “formaldehyde free.”  With so many new brands making this claim it might surprise you to see the frequency at which certain compounds are used for preservatives in the cosmetic industry.  Here is a list of the frequency of cosmetic preservatives from 2010 sorted from highest to lowest.  I’ll update it when I find new data.

  1. Methylparaben
  2. Propylparaben
  3. Phenoxyethanol
  4. Butylparaben
  5. Ethylparaben
  6. Isobutylparaben
  7. MIT – (Methylisothiazolinone)
  8. CMIT / MIT – (Chloromethylisothiazolinone)
  9. DMDM Hydantoin
  10. Imidazolidinyl Urea

The primary replacement for parabens has been Phenoxyethanol. We’ll see if that continues to grow in the coming years.  Unlikely because it is not nearly as effective as parabens.

cosmetic preservative frequency


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