Preservation of cosmetic products is important to ensuring their safety and shelf stability. Luckily, formulators of cosmetics have a number of time-tested preservatives to choose from. The list of preservatives below are commonly used in cosmetic products. In addition to natural and chemical preservatives, pH adjustment can be used to keep cosmetics germ-free. It is important to note, however, that very high or low pH values that keep microbial growth at bay may prove irritating to the skin or mucous membranes.

The chemicals (both natural and synthetic) listed below perform differently in different cosmetic and personal care products. Some will require levels of only 0.1%, while others will require levels up to 5% to properly preserve the product. If you are interested in formulating your products with one or more of these preservative agents, simply contact the lab to get a price quote for preservative challenge testing.

List of Commonly Used Preservatives

  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Salicylic Acid
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Benzyl Alcohol
  • Sodium benzoate
  • Formaldahyde
  • Chlorphenism
  • Triclosan
  • Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • Diazolidinyl Urea
  • Sorbic Acid
  • Methylisothiazolinone
  • Sodium Dehydroacetate
  • Dehydroacetic Acid
  • Quaternium - 15
  • Stearalkonium Chloride
  • Zinc Pyrithione
  • Sodium Metabisulfite
  • 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane
  • Chlorhexidine Digluconate
  • Polyaminopropyl biguanide
  • Benzalkonium Chloride
  • Sodium Sulfite
  • Sodium Salicylate
  • Citric Acid
  • Grapfruit Seed Extract
  • Neem Oil
  • Essential Oils (various)
  • Lactic Acid
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol)