Preserving Skincare Products Naturally: or as naturally as possible…

Any skin care product that contains water must contain a preservative if it is to have sufficient shelf life to last more than a week—and even then it must be kept in a fridge. That applies whether the water is added as ‘aqua’ or the product contains hydrosols, floral water, aloe vera or any milk product be that from a plant or animal.

Not using a preservative can be highly dangerous as microbes including bacteria, moulds and yeasts will rapidly develop.

Many microbes can cause severe effects with bacteria like Pseudomonas causing skin and eye infections, toxic shock, strep throat, and even food poisoning; the presence of yeasts like Candida albicans can result in thrush. Even if dangerous bacteria do not develop without preservatives water-based skin care products will quickly break down and deteriorate to the point they become ineffective and unpleasant to use.

Puraglow’s Founder Lesley Wall has been on a long quest to find and effective natural preservative but at this time the solution remains elusive. Preservatives stop growth by acting on spores when they germinate by killing the cells by damaging cell membranes or by making the product hostile to growth. This is not currently available as a natural product in usable concentrations.

So for the moment we preserve our water-based skin care products with the synthetic preservative phenoxyethanol at a very low levels. This is a non-paraben, non formaldehyde releasing preservative which maintains both the product and the health of the container. At the low level we use it there is not risk of harm to humans. The European Economic Community (EEC) Cosmetics Derivative and the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union approved phenoxyethanol in concentrations up to one percent.

Preservatives are only used in our water-based products and are not used in any of our oil based products. We mitigate use in water based products as far as we can by reducing the water content as far as possible and  are looking to design products which are rehydrated or mixed by the customer only at time of use.

All ingredients in all our products are detailed on our product web pages and on our product packaging.  If you have any questions regarding ingredients in any of our products please write to us at

Please also take note of our Values Policies and Ingredients pages and the products we don’t use.



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