Is Phenoxyethanol Good For Your Hair

Is Phenoxyethanol Good For Your Hair?

We are very much used to slathering our skin with a lot of creams, lotions and moisturizers, without realizing the fact that these cosmetic products are laden with harsh chemical products which may be harmful to your skin. But nowadays, we as consumers have become more aware of the damaging effects of harsh chemical products on our skin as well as our hair. People have become more and more conscious about their health and beauty and are choosing their personal care products with caution.

One such harmful ingredient which is found in most of the cosmetic products is paraben, which is used as a preservative in many beauty products. Understanding its damaging effect on your skin and health, lately, people started looking for paraben-free products and the manufacturers of many beauty products started launching paraben-free products, and are using another preservative called - Phenoxyethanol. When the use of parabens in cosmetic products became questionable, at that time Phenoxyethanol grabbed the attention and gradually it gained popularity in the beauty industry. It began showing up frequently in the ingredient list instead of parabens.

Phenoxyethanol is known to be a preservative which is extensively used in many cosmetic products. There is a mixed reaction among people about the effect of Phenoxyethanol on your skin and hair. In this article, we are going to tell you everything you need to know about Phenoxyethanol.

What is Phenoxyethanol? 

Phenoxyethanol is ester alcohol which is used as a preservative in a wide range of cosmetic products. Phenoxyethanol are glycol esters which are naturally derived from green tea and are usually synthesized in labs for commercial use. It is considered to be a preservative which is less irritating and which has a mild fragrance similar to that of a rose. In cosmetics, Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative, as a stabilizer, a solvent and an antimicrobial ingredient.

It is an oily, off-white liquid which is mostly used in major skincare and haircare products. It does not dissolve in water but is readily soluble in ethanol and alkaline solvents. Phenoxyethanol is often combined with other antibacterial agents to eradicate all the bacteria that breed on the product. Because of its conditioning and moisturizing effect Phenoxyethanol is used in skincare products such as creams, lotions, facial serums, moisturizers as well as in hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners.

Also Read : Ingredients In Depth - Phenoxyethanol

What Are The Products In which Phenoxyethanol Is Found? 

Due to the increasing demand for paraben-free products, Phenoxyethanol is extensively used as a preservative in a large number of beauty products. Because of its mild fragrance, it is readily used in the manufacture of perfumes. Let’s have a look at the list of products in which Phenoxyethanol is present.

  • Shampoos
  • Conditioners
  • Hair Serums
  • Hair Colours
  • Soaps
  • Creams
  • Moisturizers
  • Sunscreens
  • Body Wash
  • Hand Wash
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Baby Lotion
  • Lip Balm
  • Nail Polish
  • Shaving Creams
  • Perfumes
  • Deodorants
  • Ultrasound Gel
  • Cleaning Products
  • Detergents

Also Read : Parabens - All you Need to Know

Why Is Phenoxyethanol Used In Cosmetic Products 

Most of the personal care products that are available in the market contain Phenoxyethanol as a preservative because of its antibacterial properties. Most of the cosmetic products that we use today are water-based products and bacteria easily thrives in water, here is when Phenoxyethanol comes into the picture. It is extensively used as a preservative in cosmetics and as a stabilizer in perfumes. Up to 1% is the recommended amount of Phenoxyethanol in any cosmetic product, above which it is known to be harmful to your health, your skin and hair.

 Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative in many cosmetic products such as creams, moisturizers, body lotions, shampoos, conditioners, hair colours etc because Phenoxyethanol is considered to be less irritable to the skin as compared to parabens which have lost its valour in the beauty industry. Moreover, it is an easily accessible alternative to parabens and Phenoxyethanol does not react with air, light or any other ingredients present in the product formulae. Phenoxyethanol is considered to be safe on skin and hair when used in trace amounts in the skincare and haircare formula. Up to 1% is the recommended level for its usage in cosmetic products.

Synonyms Of Phenoxyethanol You Can Find On Labels

Generally, the name Phenoxyethanol appears under the list of ingredients in your haircare and skincare products, but sometimes it may appear under other names as well such as

  • 2-Hydroxyethyl Phenyl Ether
  • 2-Phenoxy-Ethanol
  • 2-Phenoxyethanol,
  • 2-Phenoxyethyl Alcohol
  • Ethanol
  • 2 Phenoxy Ethanol
  • 2 Phenoxy Ethylene
  • Glycol Monophenyl Ether
  • Phenoxytol
  • 1 Hydroxy 2-Phenoxyethane
  • 2-Fenoxyethanol

Now, whenever you go to the supermarket to buy personal care products, do look out for the above-mentioned names as well which are known to be the synonyms for Phenoxyethanol.

Benefits Of Phenoxyethanol For Hair 

Benefits Of Phenoxyethanol For Hair

Due to its properties, Phenoxyethanol is readily utilized in most of the personal care products. Phenoxyethanol is used in hair care products, not because of its beauty benefits, but because it serves as an excellent preservative. It is ideal for those looking for paraben-free beauty products. Its included in hair care products as a preservative because of its antibacterial property. Other benefits of Phenoxyethanol include

1. Prevents Microbial Contamination Of Cosmetic Products 

It exhibits antimicrobial property due to which it is considered to be very effective in preventing the growth of various kinds of bacteria, fungi and yeast in your hair care products.

2. Acts As A Stabilizer 

It adds stability to the product formula because Phenoxyethanol does not react with other ingredients in the formula, as well as with air and light.

3. Increases The Shelf Life Of Products 

The use of Phenoxyethanol in your hair care formula ensures the safety of the products, thereby increasing the shelf-life period of the products.

4. Has Versatile Use 

It is very effective in fighting a variety of pathogens in various haircare as well as skincare products.

Safety Concern Surrounding Phenoxyethanol 

You will find mixed responses among people about the safety of this ingredient in your cosmetic products. Topical use of Phenoxyethanol is considered to be safe if used sparingly. Normally the concentration of Phenoxyethanol up to 1% is allowed in product formulae. However, overuse and overexposure to it can lead to serious health problems. It is not safe to be used internally. The products containing Phenoxyethanol is considered to be unsafe for infants. It is advisable to avoid using products containing Phenoxyethanol if you are dealing with severe skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. Keep out of the reach of children. People with sensitive skin should do a patch test before using it and check for any allergic reaction. If you notice any allergic reaction on your skin discontinue its use and immediately consult a doctor.


When paraben which was used as a preservative in many cosmetic products became a questionable ingredient because of its health concern, the popularity and the use of Phenoxyethanol increased dramatically. It was being used in most of the personal care products as a preservative which was a better alternative and cost-effective. But the permitted amount of Phenoxyethanol in any cosmetic product in up to 1%, above this amount, is harmful to your health. Watch out for Phenoxyethanol in your cosmetic products if you use multiple beauty products on your skin and hair.

Also Read: Is Cetostearyl Alcohol Good For Hair




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