In this post and this post, sfs asks: Could Optiphen be used in an anhydrous product? Both Lotioncrafter and the Herbarie list it as a preservative for all types of products.
In this post, Sciarretta Farms said: Are you sure that all the preservatives in the Optiphen family are only for water soluble products? A lot of people use Optiphen to preserve their anhydrous scrubs.
Is Optiphen suitable for anhydrous creations?
I checked out the Herbarie's listing for Optiphen: Optiphen is suitable for anhydrous formulations and emulsions, such as creams, lotions, salves, body butters, and body scrubs.
I checked out Lotioncrafter's listing for Optiphen: Optiphen can be used in a wide variety of personal care products including aqueous and anhydrous systems and emulsions.
And I've checked out these brochures published by ISP, the makers of Optiphen...
ISP product guide (page 22) - nothing listed about being suitable for anhydrous products.
Preservative Data Sheet (page 12 or 22, not sure) - looks to be the same sheet, so that really doesn't help much.
Mild preservative data sheet (page 4) that says, "Optiphen® is applicable for use in a variety of personal care preparations such as aqueous and anhydrous systems, as well as emulsions."
And Preservation Breakthrough (page 7) that says, "
But wait...on page 4 of the mild preservation data sheet, the company writes this about Optiphen Plus...
"Optiphen® Plus can be used in a wide range of aqueous and emulsion-type personal care formulations, such as creams, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, mousses, and wet wipes." There's nothing about using it in anhydrous products. And on page 5 it says this about Optiphen ND..."Optiphen® ND/RokonsalTM ND has proven to be an effective preservative system for rinse-off products such as shampoos, shower gels, and foam baths. Optiphen® ND/RokonsalTM ND is recommended for use in creams, emulsions, lotions, and gels with acidic pH. Suitable for oil/water and water/oil emulsions."
I'm getting more confused by the minute! In the Preservation Breakthrough document quoted above, it states that ALL Optiphen products can be used effectively in "aqueous and anhydrous systems as well as emulsions". But then we see Optiphen Plus to be used in "aqueous and emulsion-type personal care formulations" and Optiphen ND suggested for "creams, emulsions, lotions, and gels with acidic pH". Hmm...
What do I think? When the company is putting out information that contradicts other information, I get confused and annoyed. With two references from the company and chemistry that backs it up, I think it's safe to say that Optiphen is suitable for anhydrous products - which makes sense because phenoxyethanol is soluble in both oil and water - but I can't say anything about the other Optiphen products.
As a note, I'm linking the three posts on Optiphen to this post, I'll update the PDF on preservatives with this information this weekend (time willing), and that's my final word on Optiphen. Unless I can get some definitive, non-contradictory information about this line of preservatives, I won't be commenting on anything relating to Optiphen in the future.
As a disclaimer: I use liquid Germall Plus, Germaben II, and Phenonip as my preservatives of choice. I haven't used Optiphen or any of the variations in my products and I'm not planning to do so, and part of that decision relates to the lack of good information about this ingredient. The other reasons including not finding it locally easily and not wanting it to curdle my lotions!
EDITED TO ADD: I think I need to clarify my statement about Optiphen. I'm not knocking it and I'm not putting it down - I have no opinion on this preservative. I'm not going to be writing about it in the future unless I can find something really definitive from a source that I trust for fear that I'm spreading misinformation. I owe it to you, my wonderful readers, to be accurate, and I don't feel I have enough information about Optiphen to write anything further on it.
I can't use every single ingredient out there as I simply don't have the time and I can't afford to buy one of everything. I'm making my decision based upon my personal preference. Just as some people choose not to use silicones, some choose not to use parabens, and some choose to make organic products, I'm choosing not to include Optiphen in my workshop.