Hidden preservatives in cosmetics

Hi everyone!
I would like to know what Hidden preservatives are used in preservative free cosmetics.
I'm interested specially in fragrances/perfumes that are used as preservatives


  • Naticide.
  • Off the top of my head:

    Phenethyl alcohol (often used with a glycol) - smells slightly like rose

    p-anisic acid is marketed as a scent masker but the same concept
  • Tetradibutyl Pentaerithrityl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate

    Antioxidant, has a mild scent 
  • Many individual ingredients contain preservatives, especially if they come in water solutions.
    Small brands don't realize it so they don't list them on the label because they didn't add them themselves.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Some "preservative free" cosmetics use parabens and formaldehyde donors and then just don't list it on their labels. This is illegal of course, but that doesn't stop some people.
  • Some cosmetics might not need a preservative, to begin with. I know that many would disagree on anhydrous products, but for example, you can make a cuticle remover that is "preservative-free" because the pH is too high and it doesn't need a preservative. 
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    Simply ask for a Compositional Breakdown from the Supplier. It will be listed if it is present. We do this with all products.
    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.
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