Fluid Thinking. Innovative Solutions

The Innovation Blog

Highlighting the inventiveness and trends shaping our industry and its future.

Creating Clean, Green Skincare Products with Modern Preservatives

Natural beauty

The Clean Conundrum: While a singular definition for “clean skincare” has yet to be settled upon, the “formulated without” beauty movement is closely linked to the exploding natural beauty movement – and to consumer fears.

As Cheryl Wischover explains in her Vox.com article, The “natural” beauty industry is on the rise because we’re scared of chemicals:

Over the past few years, a parallel beauty industry has exploded alongside the traditional one. “Natural” beauty; “clean” beauty. Many new brands and retailers are basically saying, “Your regular beauty products contain all sorts of dangerous stuff. Use these safer ones instead.” It’s a complicated claim and pretty hard to prove conclusively, but it’s a message that has caused radical upheaval in the cosmetics industry….Consumers have become afraid of chemicals and started looking for products they think would be “natural” or “safer.”

Safety, Shelf Stability, and Results

Preservatives are a critical component to creating safe, effective, and long-lasting skincare products. Firstly, preservatives inhibit mold, bacteria, fungi, and other microbial growth in skincare products. After being opened, any skincare product containing water – which is the majority of all skincare products – becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus, mold, yeast, and other nasty critters.

The humid, steamy environment of a bathroom or shower stall also encourages bacteria to flourish. Preservatives ensure the safety of an opened skincare product, and help protect consumers from the potential infection that can follow using a bacterially contaminated product.

Sharon Preservatives
Explore Sharon Preservatives

Preservatives also help maintain the integrity of a skincare product. Preservatives are the key element that ensures a nighttime repair cream or facial exfoliator keeps its original coloring, texture, smell, and viscosity after opening. Preservatives also work to protect the active ingredients within a formulation – the Alpha Hydroxy Acids, the peptides, the anti-aging superstars like collagen – that spur consumers to make new skincare purchases.

Additionally, preservatives are necessary for safe skincare products because they vastly extend the life of products under regular conditions. Thanks to them, skincare products don’t have to remain in cool, temperature-controlled environments like a refrigerator or freezer.

Simply put, preservatives are crucial for safe skincare product formulations. Or, as Tara Foley, CEO of Follain, said in an interview for Well + Good about preservatives: “Preservatives are not all bad, and they need to be listed — along with everything else — so consumers can know what they’re feeding their skin!”

But with the clean or “formulated without” claim more important than ever to today’s judicious consumer, how can preservatives be incorporated into a new product formulation without scaring away sales?

How Formulators are ‘Preserving’ Product Success

The solution to the clean skincare product conundrum lies in using preservatives that can satisfy both the clean, green desires of the consumer with the formulator’s need for safe, shelf-stable, and efficacious skincare products.

Multi-functional preservative lines that are mild, or even preservative free, are the key to helping both manufacturers and consumers feel satisfaction with a clean claim on a skincare product. Contemporary preservatives like the Sharon Advanced Preservatives Line  are the perfect preservative to use in a clean or natural claims skincare product, as the line is 100% free of formaldehyde donors, isothiazolinones, and other potentially “clean offending” ingredients.

While the current climate of fear about “unnatural” skincare ingredients abounds, manufacturers still have a responsibility to consumers to create the safest, most stable skincare products. And with modern preservatives like the Sharon Advanced Preservatives Line, there is a prime opportunity for formulators to justify the “clean” label on skincare products – maintaining product safety, shelf-stability, and longevity while also building consumer interest and sales. For formulators and skincare product users alike, contemporary preservatives present the ultimate win-win.


Download The Future of Healthy Skin Today

Take advantage of our new anti-aging guide, featuring the most innovative, highest-quality ingredients in the personal care industry.

Get your FREE copy right now!
Future of Happy Skin Today