Preservatives In Lotion – Why You Must Use Them

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Isolated bacteria Micrococcus luteus—NEPMET (

Preservatives in lotion has gotten a bad name in some circles as not being “all natural”. Bacteria and germs are all natural too but you don’t want to be putting them on your skin and causing infections do you?

When making homemade lotions there are three well known, effective preservatives to choose from. Stick to these especially if you are planning to sell your lotion to the public.

Gregory from over at aromagregory (you’ve gotta read his about me section) lays out

Our three choices for preservatives in lotion:

Phenonip and Germaben II, and Germall Plus are actual preservatives. They inhibit the growth of microorganisms, yeast and fungus in lotions, creams, etc. If one is making products for resale, the FDA requires that you put a preservative in any cosmetic that is not a soap. If you are simply making products for your personal use, you do not have to include preservative. However, if you choose not to preserve your lotion or cream (or other formula) then you must treat the finished product as a perishable food item. Either use it up quickly or store in the refrigerator and use within two weeks.

Germaben II and Germall Plus are water soluble. This means that they will only work if water is the major ingredient in your recipe. These products do not withstand high temperatures well, so they must be added when your recipe is finished and cooled to 100 degrees F or below.

Germaben II ingredients – Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben. Use 1% of total formula.Germall Plus ingredients – Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropenyl Butacarbamate. The liquid form of this will list Propylene Glycol as the first ingredient. Usage – 0.2% – .05% of total formula weight.

Phenonip is oil soluble, and so is better for products where oils comprise the majority of ingredients in your formula. Phenonip can also withstand much higher temperatures, allowing more flexibility regarding what stage you add the preservative to your recipe.

Phenonip ingredients: Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben. Usage – 1% of total formula.

You can read the whole article here

LoveNatureLife expounds on the dilema between natural and synthetic preservatives

Due to controversy surrounding the use of chemical preservatives in food and cosmetics, some companies are turning to other options to help extend products’ shelf life.  Some are switching from synthetic to natural. Unfortunately all natural preservatives may not be as good as they sound, especially if taken in excess. But on a positive note they aren’t as toxic as synthetic preservatives. The best option would be no preservatives at all, but products would not be able to stay fresh too long.[read the whole article here]

There you have it preservatives in lotion, whether natural or synthetic are a must in order to keep  your homemade lotions from spoiling faster than they can be used. What do you think about the all natural versus synthetic issue as it pertains to preservatives in your cosmetics? Let me know in the comment section below.


  1. What are the above preservatives? Are their any side effects of them?

    Which one is your best choice?

    • I use the garabenium II (I think that’s how you spell it I too lazy to run down stairs and look LOL) and haven’t noticed any side effects. I’m not sure of side effects of other choices. I do know that if you don’t put anything in, you could run the risk of getting a skin infection.

  2. James Faison says:

    The article talks about the use of preservatives depending on the oil or water percentages/ratios in your product. My question is, what if you use an equal amount of both water and oil in your products? Which preservative should a person use in this case? Would you use both?

  3. I only use Germaben II when making my lotion. To make sure you lotion is safe for sale you should probably either use a kit to test it or send if off to one of the labs listed on the article

  4. James Faison says:

    Your the BOMB Nana! Thanks for your reply! Have you used the home test kit before? I may use that. This article was very helpful! I appreciate you taking the time to do this! You are truly appreciated!!!

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