How to Get Long-Lasting Skincare With Phenoxyethanol

Phenoxyethanol in skincare

What is Phenoxyethanol?


Phenoxyethanol is a colorless liquid with a mild rose scent that is used mainly as a broad-spectrum preservative in cosmetics and skincare. You can find phenoxyethanol naturally in green tea and chicory, and in cosmetics, it is usually synthesized in a lab via a reaction between phenol and ethylene oxide. Producing nature-identical ingredients synthetically ensures  purity and typically has a smaller impact on the environment than natural extraction. That’s why we don’t shy away from synthetic ingredients in our products, especially ones like phenoxyethanol with an impressive resume of benefits for the skin (more on the benefits below). 


P.S. If you’re worried about the controversy on preservatives in cosmetics, let’s take a deep dive into the science together so we can show you there is nothing to be scared of.  We’re going to start by taking it all the way back to high school chemistry class where we learned “the dose makes the poison”. Basically, nothing is good for us if we have too much (even too much water can be harmful!). Therefore, the safety of pretty much anything depends on how much is used. A lot of the studies that make their way to headlines use concentrations of preservatives such as phenoxyethanol at 50-100%, and show irritation as a side effect. However, globally approved use for phenoxyethanol is less than or equal to 1% based on hundreds of studies proving both safety and low incidence of irritation. The bottom line is that the risk to our skin from pathogens in non-preserved products is wayy higher than any risk of sensitization from a preservative like phenoxyethanol. 

Skincare Benefits of Phenoxyethanol


Hydrating skincarePlays well with others

Did you know almost 24% of personal care products on the market contain phenoxyethanol? One of the reasons phenoxyethanol is so widespread is because it’s incredibly versatile. Phenoxyethanol works well with most, if not all ingredients, formulas, pH ranges, and other preservatives, such as ethylhexylglycerin. Plus, it is highly stable, meaning it does not react with other ingredients, air or light. 


Antimicrobial skincarePrevents growth of harmful bacteria

As we mentioned above, pathogen growth in our cosmetics can be pretty scary. Think unsightly and painful infections. Thankfully, phenoxyethanol is a broad-spectrum preservative, meaning it protects against a wide range of fungi, bacteria, and yeast, so you can be sure all of our products are free from harmful microbes. 


Preservatives in skincareProlongs product shelf life 

Perhaps our favorite benefit of phenoxyethanol is that it helps our products last longer. Think about how fresh fruits and veggies only last a week or so before spoiling. Without preservatives, we would be buying skin care as much as we buy groceries! Keeping a long shelf life is key for the beauty industry to maintain inventory and minimize our impact on the environment. 


Hydrating skincareSafe alternative for parabens

Backed up by hundreds of studies, the body of evidence suggests that phenoxyethanol is overwhelmingly safe for use. Compared to parabens, where the body of evidence is less clear, we feel much more comfortable using phenoxyethanol to preserve our products to ensure we are always giving you the safest and cleanest products possible.


We used phenoxyethanol in conjunction with ethylhexylglycerin to safely preserve our fan-favorite Daily Hydrating & Setting Mist & it works pretty perfectly if we do say so ourselves!