The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients
The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients


CAS Number 122-99-6
Chem/IUPAC Name: 2-Phenoxyethanol
EINECS/ELINCS No: 204-589-7
COSING REF No: 36522
Phenoxyethanol is a sticky and oily substance that is generally used in cosmetic and skincare products as a preservative. This substance is known as glycol ether in chemical terms and is also a solvent that stabilizes various ingredients because it does not react with light or air. The chemical formula of Phenoxyethanol is C8H10O2. It increases the shelf life of products that may otherwise spoil too quickly by developing a bacterial or fungal layer on them. What makes Phenoxyethanol a really popular ingredient in the cosmetic industry is its faint rose-like smell that is very pleasant. From sunscreens and shampoos to mascara and hair sprays - it is found in almost every product.

What is PHENOXYETHANOL used for?

Phenoxyethanol is used as an antibacterial ingredient or preservative to prevent cosmetic and skin care products from spoiling. It is also a stabilizer and is a common ingredient found in many products ranging from perfumes to shampoos.
  • Skin care: If the skin care products are not preserved properly, they develop various kinds of bacteria and fungi that can be very harmful if used. For this very purpose, Phenoxyethanol ingredient is added. Apart from increasing the shelf life of many skin care products, it has been proven effective in reducing acne
  • Hair care: In products like shampoos and conditioners, it is especially loved because of its mild rosy smell. It is helpful in stabilizing the products as it does not react with other ingredients and/or with light and air
  • Cosmetic products: With increasing demand for paraben-free cosmetic products among health-conscious consumers, Phenoxyethanol has become a very popular preserving ingredient. If cosmetic products are not preserved properly, they turn very harmful to the skin and may cause irritation and many skin allergies. Moreover, in the infamous Phenoxyethanol vs. paraben fight, the former wins because it is much safe and gentler on the skin


Phenoxyethanol is found naturally in green tea. However, for commercial purposes, it is made synthetically in the lab and is known as a ‘nature identical’ chemical. When ethylene oxide and phenol are treated in an alkaline medium, it results in this light-colored and rosy smelled ingredient.

What does PHENOXYETHANOL do in a formulation?

  • Preservative

Safety profile

Phenoxyethanol is considered safe for skin and hair if used in very low concentrations. The recommended concentration is 1% or less. A patch test is recommended prior to full application. It is not to be used in products like nipple creams that can be ingested by infants as they can be very harmful. Apart from this, Phenoxyethanol is a biodegradable preservative and is considered safe for the environment. When chemically produced, it is ritually pure and is considered halal.


Technical profile

Property Values
Boiling Point 247°C
Melting Point 11-13°C
Solubility Soluble in water and oil
Viscosity 41 cP

Commercial Selection : Grades containing solely PHENOXYETHANOL

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