FAQS/INGREDIENT QUESTIONS AND CLARIFYING INFO
There are alcohols listed on your ingredients. Are those bad for your skin and will it make me dry out? Why are they in your product?
These organic alcohols are:
Stearyl Alcohol is a vegetable based skin conditioner and thickening agent. Cetearyl and cetyl alcohol are both derived from coconuts and help to keep the formula from separating. These will not dry out your skin whatsoever. They evaporate when hit with oxygen and are used as a natural, safe preservative.
Phenoxyethanol? You use it in a few products..can you explain it? I see conflicting information.
Additional here is an article written by one of the chief formulators we respect and has had oversight on some of our formulas.
Phenoxyethanol And Skin Deep Ratings
Laura, Chief Formulator and one that BCN uses:
I am frequently asked why some organic and natural companies uses phenoxyethanol as a preservative in many of our “natural” cosmetics.
Today I’d like to cover this from a few different directions, and while I am doing so, please know that I always welcome feedback and suggestions. As a Chief Formulator, I am always on the hunt for a better preservative, but it must be as robust as phenoxyethanol; meaning it must have the ability to give a shelf life of longer than 1 year, it must be able to work synergistically with other ingredients, and it must not be odor-offensive.
Please note that every time air is introduced to a product so is dust, bacteria, mold spores, and so on. An effective preservative is absolutely critical to ensuring the product is clean and stable for the end user.
Let’s first talk about why phenoxyethanol is perceived so negatively. The FDA and other agencies state that phenols are bad (as a side note, phenol is prohibited in the EU). Although phenoxyethanol starts with pheno, phenol has almost no use in cosmetics. Phenoxyethanol (PE) is made from the reaction of 1 mole of ethylene oxide on 1 mole of phenol. The purity of the PE is 95% (fragrance use is 99%) with the diether as the major other part. There is no free phenol in Phenoxyethanol PE.
So when you read a review of phenoxyethanol and they specifically call out “phenol”, you can assume the author does not understand the facts involved in the basic chemistry of phenoxyethanol.
Secondly, let’s talk about phenoxyethanol from EWG’s Skin Deep standpoint.
Looking at phenoxyethanol on EWG Skin Deep, we see it’s getting a score of 2-4 – but it’s getting that rating because as a stand-alone ingredient, it’s an irritant to skin, eyes and lungs. As previously mentioned, this would not be the case for the end user of the cosmetic, yet consumers will read this rating and make assumptions which are often incorrect. I wish Skin Deep would do a better job of explaining that their scores are related to the stand-alone ingredient; it might provide more useful information to consumers.
Let’s look at a faux formula (do not try this formula at home, it is strictly meant to demonstrate a point) that would be submitted to EWG Verified. I have put the EWG Skin Deep rating next to each ingredient.
84% water = 1
1% Phenoxyethanol = 4
0.5% Ethylhexylglycerin = 1
3% Cetyl Alcohol = 1
1% Cetearyl Glucoside = 1
5% Shea Butter = 1
2% Jojoba Oil = 1
0.5% Vitamin E = 1
3 % Vegetable Glycerin = 1
So now let’s add those EWG Skin Deep numbers up. We will see we end with 12. We have 9 ingredients, so our overall average score of this product is 1.33, which would land as a rating of 1 in EWG Verified.
As you can see there is often more to know than just a snapshot of information available. That is why we formulators spend time researching the facts, understanding the science, and then takes all of the information available into account when choosing ingredients in formulations.
We hope this helps shed light.