Phenoxyethanol is a widely used synthetic preservative that has global approval for use in all cosmetic products in concentrations up to 1%. Phenoxyethanol is incredibly versatile: It works in a large range of formulas and pH ranges, has broad-spectrum activity against many pathogens you don’t want multiplying in your skincare products, is stable, and is compatible with many other preservatives used in cosmetics. It is often used in combination with other preservatives such as ethylhexylglycerin.

Benefits of Phenoxyethanol:

  • Globally Approved
  • Broad Spectrum Action - Bacteria, Yeast and Mould
  • Non-formaldehyde-releasing preservative
  • Suitable for a wide pH range

Common Uses:

  • Creams 
  • Lotions


  • Offers good head-space protection
  • Suitable for leave-on and rinse-off products
  • Stable to hydrolysis so can be used in high-temperature mixtures up to 80C

Appearance: Clear colourless to pale straw liquid

Odour: Mild Characteristic odour

Origin: Synthetic


  • Dispersible in emulsions
  • Soluble in ethyl alcohol
  • 2% soluble in water

Usage: Up to 1%

Ingredients: Phenoxyethanol

pH: 7.0 (1% Solution @ 20C°). Suitable to use in finished products with a pH up to 12.

Note: Phenoxyethanol is a slow-acting preservative and can take up to 48 hours to become fully effective in a formula. During that time a high-risk formulation may have enough time to overwhelm the product rendering the phenoxyethanol useless. High-risk formulations are those that have high water content and that may or may not also contain colours, herbal extracts, biological material (peptides, milk etc), exfoliant particles, clays and muds. We recommend blending the phenoxyethanol with a second, faster-acting preservative such as Piroctone Olamine, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Potassium Sorbate and Sorbic Acid to prevent overwhelming the phenoxyethanol and rendering it useless. Alternatively, you can purchase the preservative containing phenoxyethanol & ethylhexylglycerin in our store to overcome this flaw. The only way to be sure that your preservative system is working in your product is to carry out micro testing. You are legally required to market and sell products that are safe and microbial stability is an important part of that.

See our product and legal disclaimer

Recently viewed