The use of preservatives is always a tricky subject, often vilified in the press and confusing consumers.  So when one of our customers asked us about our use of the preservative Benzyl Alcohol, we thought we would share our thoughts.

 Benzyl Alcohol can be used as a preservative but is also found naturally in some essential oils and fruit, for example Ylang Ylang.  We use Benzyl Alcohol as a preservative in our Radiance Cream, and we consider it to be one of the most gentle preservatives available to us - and use it within the EU permitted guidelines. 

 Our key objective with using a preservative is to give our customers  products that are safe; a cream product containing water has to contain a preservative system to be safe, otherwise it would have a shelf  life of just days and would need to be kept refrigerated.  And there's lots to be said for fresh beauty recipes and formulations, cream, avocado, honey are all fabulous ingredients you can use to whip up some skin loving treats - but they should really be used straight away.   For most people the dangers of using a product contaminated with nasties far outweighs any risk from preservatives. 

 But not all ingredients agree with all skins and this applies to preservatives also.  There is a lot of controversy over preservatives as a whole, and differing views as to which are safe and which are not.  This is especially true of a green organic business like ours where we spend much of out time researching which ingredients are best for our customers. 

For example we do not use parabens in any of our products,  but their safety - or not is still hotly debated.    Studies have raised questions about how they build up within the body over time and how they may be linked to hormone disruption and cancer;  but equally much of the mainstream industry would argue that their use is safe and non-irritating.  Another example is phenoxyethanol which until recently has been very popular in organic skincare but has now fallen from favour due to concerns over it irritating skin - and which we choose not to use.  

 We believe that Benzyl Alcohol is one of the most gentle preservatives , but like any ingredient, including natural plant oils like Olive Oil or Shea Butter people can be sensitive to ingredients.  For customers with very sensitive skins, we would always suggest testing a new product, and is one of the reasons we offer 'Try Me' sizes for many of our products.  Ultimately it is a balancing act, and we try and give our customers the most luxurious and effective products we can and the information to make an informed decision about what is best for their skin.

 You can find our Radiance Cream with Rose & Frankincense here, a water based preserved cream, or to avoid preservatives completely try, one of  facial oils or cleansing butters.



Amanda said:

Does that mean that creams always contain preservatives? What if I want a preservative-free product?

The Rose Tree

The Rose Tree said:

Hi Amanda, Yup, a cream that contains water should always contain a preservative – otherwise it would have a shelf life of just days. You may sometimes see claims of water based products that don’t contain preservatives, but that usually means they contain other ingredients that technically may not be called a preservative, but have a preserving action.

To comply with EU legislation (which we do!) skincare has to be assessed for safety, and essentially checked to ensure it will not spoil over it’s life.

If you want a product that is preservative free, think about an oil based product, eg our Facial Oil with Radiance & Marula or our Carrot & Mango Cleansing Butter. Because these contain no water, they do not need the same preservation systems!


MummyJummy said:

Wow, what an interesting read. I do look at the ingredients list of the products I buy but they make the print so small it’s near on impossible; perhaps this is deliberate, that way you don’t really know what you’re putting on your face?!
I started using TRT Rose Radiance cream about 12 months ago; I know what’s in there, I know there are no hidden nasties and for me; It’s working!
Thank you!


Charlotte said:

So glad you posted this article! Preservatives are widely misunderstood. I used to work in the cosmetics industry and customers were so sceptical of preservatives. They’re not all bad! I’ve just purchased the Try Me selection and I love every product x

The Rose Tree

The Rose Tree said:

Glad to hear that the Radiance Cream is doing such a great job! It can be very difficult to read small labels to see ingredients, but don’t forget that many companies do list their ingredients on their website. And if you are not sure what is in a product, be cautious! We take the view that we are really proud of what we put into our organic skincare, our ingredients are simply the best we can get hold of, and we like to share this with our customers!

The Rose Tree

The Rose Tree said:

Thanks Charlotte – fab to hear you are loving the organic skincare in our Bestsellers Try Me collection! You are quite right re preservatives, it is not so black and white that they are good or bad, it is always a balancing act, and finding out what works with your skin! Olga xx

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.