Since the late 70’s, the Holy Grail of the marketers who play in the “natural” cosmetic market, has been the search for a “natural” preservative. Although one does exist, it is always rejected by these hypocrites for other reasons. This one chemical is so natural, it is found in every cell in our bodies. It is Methylene Glycol.
Since this doesn’t sound “natural” enough for these folks, they go off on their crusade to fine the Holy Grail. Since these people really believe that something found in nature is safer than something made by chemists, it is easy to fool these people. As P.T. Barnum once said “There’s a sucker born every minute”.
The first one to find the market was Grapefruit Seed Extract. This has been re-invented several times. In the late 70’s it was found to be Methyparaben dissolved in Propylene Glycol. Then came Triclosan in Propylene Glycol and the latest has analyzed to be Benzethonium Chloride. For more details.
Recently there has been interest shown in Japanese honeysuckle extract. This is offered as Lonicera Caprifolium Extract under the trade name of Plantservative WSr by Campo. The specifications says it is 30-37% water with the balance being “Lonicera (lonicerin)water soluble esterified actives”. There is no description of these % “actives” but they are the described as the Metyl, Ethyl, Propyl and Butyl esters. The simple statement that the extract is esterified begs the question of “natural?” Further the pH of the product is 9-12 which is usually cidal to most bacteria, yeast and mold.
People who have tried this product at levels up to 1% have found that they passed typical efficacy challenge tests. However on aging, the products turn yellow and then failed the same tests. This raise serious questions of it stability. Currently the FDA shows 34 formulations registered with them using this chemical.
This post was provided by David Steinberg, president of Steinberg & Associates, a cosmetic consulting firm. Mr. Steinberg founded the Masters program in cosmetic chemistry at Farleigh Dickinson University, an instructor for the Society of Cosmetic Chemists and a past president of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists.