Ingredient Dictionary

Good

1, 2-Hexanediol

A preservative belonging to a class of antimicrobial agents known as higher molecular glycols. Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

benzoic acid

Preservative used in skin-care products; it is considered less irritating than some other forms of... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

benzothonium chloride

Compound used as a preservative in cosmetics. It is generally considered less irritating than some... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Poor

borax

Also known as sodium borate decahydrate, borax is a mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and... Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Preservatives

Poor

bronopol

Technical name 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, a formaldehyde-releasing preservative (Source:... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

butylparaben

See parabens

Categories: Preservatives

Good

caprylyl glycol

Skin-conditioning agent that may be plant-derived or synthetic. Often used as part of a... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives, Plant Extracts

Good

chlorophene

Used as a preservative in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

chloroxylenol

Chemical compound used as a disinfectant and preservative due to its action against certain types... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Good

chlorphenesin

Alcohol used as a preservative in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

dehydroacetic acid

A synthetic preservative uses in amounts of 0.6% or less. Sometimes its salt form (known as sodium... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Average

diazolidinyl urea

A water-soluble preservative that is very effective against a broad range of bacteria. Also has... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Average

DMDM hydantoin

Formaldehyde-releasing preservative (Source: Household and Personal Products Industry, May 2001,... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

ethylhexylglycerin

A synthetic skin-conditioning agent used as a preservative or as a carrier or suspending agent for... Read More »

Categories: Miscellaneous, Preservatives

Good

ethylparaben

See parabens

Categories: Preservatives

Average

formaldehyde-releasing preservative

Common type of preservative found in cosmetics (Source: Contact Dermatitis, December 2000, pages... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

Germaben II

Trade name for diazolidinyl urea. Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Best

hoelen

A mushroom that grows underground on the roots of pines and other trees around the world. It has... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Preservatives

Average

imidazolidinyl urea

Considered a weaker preservative than its "cousin" diazolidinyl urea because it is active against... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

iodopropynyl butylcarbamate

A synthetic preservative that is typically used in concentrations of 0.1% or less. It is very... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

isobutylparaben

See parabens

Categories: Preservatives

Poor

Kathon CG

See methylisothiazolinone , methylchloroisothiazolinone

Categories: Irritants, Preservatives

Poor

methylchloroisothiazolinone

In combination with methylisothiazolinone, it goes by the trade name Kathon CG (among others).... Read More »

Categories: Preservatives, Irritants

Good

methyldibromo glutaronitrile

Formaldehyde-releasing preservative (Source: Contact Dermatitis, December 2000, pages 339–343). Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Poor

methylisothiazolinone

Preservative that is generally recommended only for use in rinse-off products such as cleansers or... Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Preservatives

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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