When it comes to skin care product formulations, the recent trend is all-natural, yet, this approach presents its own host of issues. Simply speaking, when a product is formulated without any preservatives at all, not only will its active ingredients deteriorate and become less effective at a much quicker rate, but the formula itself can become contaminated. In other words, bacteria can, and will likely, grow inside of a bottle of all-natural facial serum—which is one of the many reasons why preservatives are necessary additives.

That said, some preservatives are much safer than others. Phenoxyethanol (pronounced fee-no-oxy-ethanol), when used in very low concentrations, is one such example.


Phenoxyethanol is a broad-spectrum preservative that is used (and has been for decades) in skin care and cosmetic formulations to prevent microbial contamination and active ingredient deterioration*. When used in low concentrations, phenoxyethanol prevents a wide range of different bacteria and pathogens from growing inside of your skin care product bottle, thereby keeping it safe for topical use*. In layman’s terms, it helps keep skin care products safe and stable, essentially preventing them from spoiling altogether.



Preservatives of any kind, whether natural or synthetic, serve the same purpose: To prevent the growth of pathogens, bacteria and fungus in a products’ formulation. Most skin care products are formulated with a variety of different ingredients, both natural and synthetic, as well as water. This combination, without any form of preservative, can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and funghi** (mold).


Phenoxyethanol is widely used in cosmetics today. In recent years, it has become the preservative-of-choice for many conscious, sustainable and naturally based cosmetics formulations.

Studies have confirmed that phenoxyethanol is safe for use on skin and around the eyes (meaning it is both non-irritating and non-sensitizing to skin) at concentration levels of 1% or lower.*** Globally, it is approved for use at concentrations up to one percent, though its often used in even lower concentrations.****

Bottom line: Phenoxyethanol is considered to be one of the most well-tolerated preservatives when used topically in very low concentrations***, as it is in the Naturium product range.


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