Yes, we do use phenoxyethanol as a preservative. Phenoxyethanol can be found naturally in green tea, but the commercial ingredient is synthetically produced in a laboratory creating what’s termed a “nature identical” chemical.
We use phenoxyethanol in a very low concentration as a preservative in 5 of our skin care products and a handful of makeup products because it is the most accessible and clinically proven alternative to ingredients such as parabens and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
Both are classes of chemicals with demonstrable evidence of potential health risks, whereas phenoxyethanol is very safe at low levels.
It’s been tested on the skin and eyes and it is non-irritating and non-sensitizing at levels of 2.2% or lower while being effective at only 1% concentrations.
The European Union and Japan both approve its use up to that 1% level and our formulas fall well below the recommendation at 0.5% or less (depending on the specific product).
Specifically, it’s created by treating phenol with ethylene oxide in an alkaline medium which all reacts to form a pH-balanced ingredient.