What is Phenoxyethanol?

Posted on by Ersin Koseoglu

It is an aromatic ether widely used in cosmetics. It has been widely used since the 1950s. It is also used as a fixer (increasing the permanence of solvent and fragrance) in perfumes and soaps [1, 2].
It is a very good alternative to parabens and does not release formaldehyde like DMDM ​​Hydantoin, so it is one of the safest preservatives to preserve the microbiological stability of products. is one. It is a worldwide approved preservative for all cosmetic products. According to the regulation, the maximum usage rate is 1%. Studies and all data obtained to date have shown that phenoxyethanol is not toxic when taken orally (oral) and dermally (skin) [3].

Phenoxyethanol used in cosmetic products can be synthetic, but it is found naturally in green tea. The natural form obtained from green tea is widely used in natural cosmetic products [3].

The safety of Phenoxyethanol has been evaluated many times by the CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review) Expert Panel. This panel reviewed all academic publications, scientific sources, medical cases, as well as non-scientific studies and data on phenoxyethanol and concluded that phenoxyethanol is a reliable ingredient as a cosmetic preservative [4].

In the list of cosmetic preservatives approved by the European Economic Community (EEC) Cosmetics Directive [5].

Studies with dermal applications revealed that phenoxyethanol is not teratogenic (causing embryo damage), embryotoxic and fetotoxic. It has been determined that it does not have mutagenic properties by Ames tests. It has been proven by clinical studies that it is not a primary irritant and does not cause sensitivity. Again, as a result of clinical studies, it has been revealed that it is not phototoxic [6].


HAWLEY, C.C. (1971). The Condensed Chemical Dictionary, 8th ed. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. p. 366.
WINDHOLZ, M. (1983). The Merck Index, 10th ed. Rahway, NJ: Merck and Co., Inc., p. 7130.
Krowka J, et all, Phenoxyethanol as a Safe and Important Preservative in Personal Care. Cosm & Toil. April 22, 2014;129(5):24-27.
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY (EEC). (1986). The EEC Cosmetics Directive: Updated Version-Incorporating all amendments until 15th June 1986. Annex IV, Part 1, List of preservatives allowed. J. Dupuis (COLIPA Scientific Officer)
Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Phenoxyethanol