Preservative Questions

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. 

Comments

  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    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?

    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • 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? 
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    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.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    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
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • @Belassi and @Bill_Toge, Thanks, guys. This helped a lot. I really appreciate it. 
  • cherricherri Member
    I have seen people using caprylyl glycol for lip products. please note that you are making anhydrous lipstick so no preservative is needed.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    @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
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    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.
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • @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. 

  • Is there a comparison between preservatives I can find somewhere that includes Vitamin E and Grapeseed Extract? 
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Vitamin E is not a preservative and grapeseed extract is not a safe preservative.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    SMH
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • 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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