What Is Phenoxyethanol & Is It Safe?



Phenoxyethanol is ether alcohol extracted from green tea that is commonly synthesized in labs and included as the main ingredient in cosmetics.   




What Products Have Phenoxyethanol In Them?

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative commonly used in cosmetic products. Due to its colorless and aromatic nature, phenoxyethanol is used in products such as perfumes and toiletries. Some products that contain phenoxyethanol are [1]:

  • Rinse-off, leave-on cosmetics

  • Fragrance mixtures

  • Moisturizers

  • Sunscreens

  • Shampoos and conditioners

  • Lip balms and lipsticks 

  • Body lotions

  • Deodorants

  • Face cleansers 

Is Phenoxyethanol Safe?

Due to possible harmful effects, phenoxyethanol is not safe and is included in our recommended list of chemicals to avoid. It is recommended that this ingredient should be avoided by all people, but especially pregnant women, infants, and children [2].

Health Impacts of Phenoxyethanol Products

  • Skin irritation

  • Central nervous system damage in infants

  • Weight gain [3]

Recommended Alternatives to Phenoxyethanol

Take a look at our Approved Products to replace fragrances and cosmetics that may contain phenoxyethanol. Here are some Phenoxyethanol-Free Skin Care Products: 

How to Avoid Phenoxyethanol

  • Read ingredient labels and avoid purchasing products that contain phenoxyethanol

    • Look for the following: phenoxyethanol, ethylene glycol monophenyl ether, 2-Phenoxyethanol, PhE, dowanol, aerosol, phenoxetol, rose ether, phenoxyethyl alcohol, beta-hydroxyethyl phenyl ether, and euxyl K® 400 [4].

  • You can find our recommended personal care and household products on our Approved Products list!

  • Purchase our test kit and learn about your harmful chemical exposures.


[1] https://www.forceofnatureclean.com/chemical-free-living-phenoxyethanol/
[2] https://www.healthline.com/health/phenoxyethanol#is-phenoxyethanol-safe
[3] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-58170-9
[4] https://www.healthline.com/health/phenoxyethanol#how-does-it-appear-on-the-label