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Preservative Solutions to Meet Formulating Requirements and Market Demands

Preservatives are one of the least glamorous ingredient groups in cosmetic formulas, but are the most critical to making a product function. If a formulator can’t keep a skin cream, shampoo, or eye shadow fresh, nothing else matters.

When it comes to personal care ingredients, especially preservatives, the Internet has created a consumer who is more informed, educated, opinionated, and engaged. These consumers are vocally seeking preservatives that are greener, more natural, and safe. The industry is charged with creating new standalone and combination preservatives to make stable products without compromising function or aesthetics.

However, the continuously running discussions in blogs, forums, and chat rooms are not always based on a complete understanding of the science associated with a certain ingredient in a specific formula. This can present challenges when it comes to developing the best possible product with the appropriate preservative.

Misinformation can create impressions that produce customer-driven demands. Marketing and product development managers encourage formulators to develop products with these consumer demands in mind, narrowing the list of possible ingredients. In fact, sometimes it seems that it’s easier to market what a product doesn’t contain rather than to talk about how ingredients actually function together to provide benefits that are good for the consumer.

When a formulator who has been using a proven preservative that has been on the market for years is asked to replace that preservative with a product that is newer or greener, it is not just a matter of replacing like for like. Preservatives are formula and environment specific. In an effort to respond to customer demand, there is a risk of putting products on the market with ingredients that aren’t as tried and true as those we’ve been using producing a less than 100 percent satisfactory result.

The challenge for manufacturers, then, is to create effective, mild, and unique natural preservatives. Finding credible ways to communicate timely and accurate information about the safety and realistic performance of preservatives is also a critical issue—for consumers, and for manufacturers and formulators who want to deliver the highest quality and best performing products that they can.

Many of Coast Southwest’s customers, especially the major brands, have put together whole teams to evaluate preservatives in order to find a range of preservatives that fit their particular needs. It’s that important to their future products, brand, and reputation in the marketplace. These companies don’t want to create safety issues or use a new preservative ingredient that causes a problem down the road by not preserving a product as effectively as was predicted or anticipated.

Coast Southwest offers a wide range of preservatives to provide our customers as much flexibility as possible to choose the preservatives that best suit their formulating needs.

Even though our preservative line is as extensive and as varied as any distributor in the business, we do not limit our customers to just the preservatives we sell. We work directly with formulators, product development teams, and marketing departments to solve their individual problems with preservatives.

One of our most innovative lines is the SHARON BIOMIX blends. These broad-spectrum preservatives contain unique organic citrus extracts combined with other ingredients. The line is formaldehyde free, halogen free, and Paraben free—all characteristics which are in high demand in the marketplace. BIOMIX blends also address a variety of market requirements such Ecocert, regulations, and label claims. These new ingredients are milder and greener without compromising on performance.

For formulators seeking natural and/or organic protection for cosmetics, Coast Southwest is the distributor in the U.S. and Canada for Biosecur C1605S, the organic preservative that is the basis for the variety of BIOMIX blends. Biosecur C1605S is a combination of citrus extracts with certified organic vegetable glycerin.

Our strategic relationship with Sharon Laboratories allows us supplement the extensive functionality of the BIOMIX series with a process that provides our customers direct access to the expertise and know-how of Sharon, one of the world’s top preservatives manufacturers.

Under the appropriate arrangements, Sharon can work directly with our customers’ formulators to customize their preservatives specifically to address that individual customer’s formulating needs. Sharon’s scientists are able to discuss individual challenges that they have encountered with formulas and make recommendations based on their product know-how and extensive application experience.

It is great to work with a manufacturer like Sharon who has so much expertise and is willing to go to such lengths to help Coast Southwest’s customers create safe formulas that bring innovative functionality to meet a market need.

As formulators ourselves, we understand the pressure and importance of meeting product development milestones on schedule. It is a huge service to be able to go to a customer who is dealing with a preservatives challenge and offer to take that problem off that chemist’s bench, freeing up the formulator to deal with other aspects of the formula and increasing the likelihood that deadlines will be met.

Despite a “non-glamorous” label, preservatives are crucial to our customers’ success. Working directly with formulators, product development, and marketing departments to focus on specific preservative requirements, formula by formula, helps our customers find the most advanced effective preservative solution.


Lisa Jones, General Manager
Amit Patel, Innovation and Applied Science Manager
Coast Southwest, Inc.

About the Author:

Coast Southwest
Coast Southwest, Inc. is a full-service, chemical distributor. We represent many of the world’s finest manufacturers and supply hundreds of ingredients to manufacturers and formulators across the United States.