Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Preservatives: Optiphen Plus

Optiphen Plus is a liquid broad spectrum preservative with an INCI of Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid. (It differs slightly from Optiphen with the inclusion of the sorbic acid.) As it isn't heat sensitive, we can include it in our water based creations at 80˚C or lower in the water phase of our process. It is not a formaldehyde donor.

We know phenoxyethanol is a good bacteria and yeast killer, while caprylyl glycol is a good bacteriostatic and bactericide, so why include sorbic acid?

Sorbic acid is one of the organic acids, and it can be found paired with a calcium, magnesium, or sodium salt to help increase its solubility. It's a good fungal, mould, and yeast inhibitor at pH 6.0 or less, and it's an okay bactericide. It's generally found in food stuffs at 0.01% to 0.1%.

By combining these three preservatives, we have a great bacteria, yeast, mould, and fungal killing combination suitable for water containing products. I'm not sure if this version of Optiphen can curdle or destabilize your emulsions as I've never used it, so please report on your experiences in the comments!

The one down side of using Optiphen Plus is the limited pH range of the product. It works best at pH 6.0 or lower, which means you will need to test your products to ensure they are in the right range. For instance, if you're using decyl glucoside with a pH that can range from 7.5 to 11 as your primary surfactant, you'll need to get that pH down substantially to play well with Optiphen Plus.

Summary of Optiphen Plus
INCI: Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid
Usage at 0.75% to 1.5% in the heated water phase of your product.
Not suitable for anhydrous products.
Good for products with a pH of 6.0 or under

For the data sheet, click here. 


Anonymous said...

Hi, I've tried Optiphen Plus and it did cause my product to curdle. I've tried it 3 different ways and I still received the same results. Does anyone have any tips to prevent this?

Anonymous said...

This ingredient may solidify at temperatures below 77 F, if this occurs gently heat at 104 to 122 F and stir to ensure a consistent mixture.

Susan said...

Is the optiphen plus also incompatible with polysorbates? I am using emulsifying wax NF in my oil in water based lotions and am surprised to learn that it is nonionic and there fore incompatible with most preservatives. What should I be using that is efficient and compatible with ewaxNF???
Thank you so much for any help.I am stumped! Susan

Susan said...

anybody??? I sure need some help here ...

Tracy said...

Is it true that Optiphen Plus is inactivated by some container types? Says the phenoxyethanol is inactived by PVC and the sorbic acid/sorbates are inactivated by polypropylene, PVC and polyethylene.

Tracy said...

Everything I've read about preservative incompatibility with polysorbate references 20 and 80, not the polysorbate 60 used in ewax nf.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
I am using Optiphen Plus in all different products that I make (face creme, body butter...) and I have never had any problem. I add the preservative at the end when I add extracts and essential oils and the temperature is lower than 50 degree Celsius and it doesn't change the consistency of the product. I have samples of my products from last year and still are going well.
I have chosen this preservative because of the information you've generously provided and I am very thankful for that.
Just I've got a question, is Optiphen Plus suitable for products with just hydrosols and extracts and no oils.
Thanks in advance,

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Sarah! Glad I could help! Yes, you can use it in water only products.

Anonymous said...

Optphen Plus is the best product in the market in my opinion. The way to use this product is best at cold temperature, I usually refrigerate my lotions for a 30 minutes before I ad this product and use an handheld mixer to stablize the lotion

Amanda Dvorak said...

Found this on making Optiphen plus – INCI of Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Sorbic Acid – use 1.5% (1% leave on products) – to help guard against emulsion instability and thinning, remove some of the emulsion, add the preservative, pre-blend well and then add back to the entire emulsion. Use a gelling agent such as sodium polyacrylate to help stability. If you are using dimethicone, add it in the heated oil phase (and if you are using cyclomethicone add just after the emulsion has formed) so it emulsifies better as silicones can be tricky for some emulsifiers to emulsify. Do not use with salts e.g. sodium lactate as the pH tends to drift and destabilise the emulsion further. The sorbic acid augments yeast/mold coverage. Sorbic acid is sensitive to oxidation resulting in discoloration and a potential petroleum odor. It is also is unstable at temperatures above 38c To be effective the pH must be 6 or below. Add at cool down – see note above. For an all water solution as the capryl glycol is oil soluble, you need to add a solubiliser such as polysorbate. Cosmetic chemists have reported effective preservation with this preservative with certain formulas. Do not use for surfactants. pH range: up to 6.

If water may be introduced to the product or the product used in a humid bathroom then a preservative is advisable. An expert microbiologist advises that if trying to preserve an anhydrous product (including all oil+sugar/salt scrub) the oil soluble preservative will get locked in the oils so will not reach any water, if water was introduced into the product. So if you added an oil soluble preservative then that preservative will stay in the oils and not move over to where the water is located to protect that water against bacteria and mould so would be useless. So contrary to what you may have read, we should really use a water soluble preservative in an anhydrous product which means we’d need to add an emulsifier to get that preservative mixed in properly with the oils.
Susan what are your thoughts? I love using Optiphen Plus in my lotions bit was wondering if I could also use it in my sugar/salt scrubs and water based body sprays. It looks as if this is an option. I wanted your opinion tho. Thank you

Amanda Dvorak said...

Hello again, I'm in need of some desperate HELP. I'm having my lotions curdle when adding my Optiphen Plus preservative but even before the preservative is added it doesn't look to be completely stable (tiny bubble separation). I have NEVER had problems with any lotion failure until I started adding in "all the goodies". Can u please take a look at my recipe and let me know what could be the problem. I heat and hold for 20 minutes at 158 degrees and blended with my stick blender until it was to thick and then blended with the hand mixer. Once it cooled to 100 degrees Fahrenheit I added the cool down phases and blended and blended but the separation just got worse. PLEASE any help would be greatly appreciated!

Distilled Water 44.5%
Aloe Vera Liquid 15%
Silk Amino Acid 2%
Panthenol (powder) 2%
Allantoin .5%

Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba oil, Apricot oil 15.5%
Cethyl Alcohol NF 2%
Emuslsifing Wax NF and BTMS-50 (half and half) 6%
Mango Butter 4.5%

Honeyquat 3%
Calendula extract (liquid) 2%
Green tea extract (liquid) .5%
Optiphen Plus 1.5%

Toni Larimore said...

Help! I struggle with the applications of the different preservatives. I'm relatively new to handcrafted body products (within the last 6 months) but have been creating cold/hot process soaps for the last 3 years. I'm trying to find the appropriate preservative for bubble wands. The wet ingredients include coco butter,castor oil, glycerin, polysorbate 80 and 40% alcohol (50% alcohol diluted with distilled water). I want to add the preservative as a precaution. If I understand correctly, the polysorbate 80 would need a non-paraben based preservative so it doesn't interfere with the effectiveness of the preservative.

How does one choose the best preservative for this type of product?

Thank you for your assistance, Toni

fie_jia said...

Hi susan, optiphen plus and germall plus can use for lip product or not ? or can you suggest a good preservative for my recipe lip product that contain water and oil such as lipstain ? thank you : )

KMama said...

Hi Susan, I've used Optiphen Plus at a rate of 0.5% in a face product containing 65% aloe gel, 34.5% sweet almond oil/Vitamin-e, and 0.5% essential oils - and it makes my face sting. (It doesn't sting without the Optiphen Plus so I'm pretty sure it's that). I have a feeling it's because I don't heat the ingredients before mixing (I'm not keen on heating the aloe because of the destruction of nutrients) — if you think that is the case, how would you recommend using it? Or, is there another preservative that you suggest would be better to use for these ingredients? Thank you for any help offered!

Susan L. said...

Hi! I'm interested in this answer as well. I have a sugar scrub that I've added optiphen to at 0.5% and just tried it and it made my face sting as well. I don't heat up the scrub when making either. Does heat make optiphen not sting? I see that it isn't supposed to be heated above 140 degrees. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi KMama. What's the gelling agent in the aloe Vera gel? What preservatives are in that? What emulsifiers are you using to mix the water soluble gel and oil? What essential oils are you using? Have you tried another preservative with this product? Have you tried the gel or oils on your face neat? What type of Vitamin E? What oil is it using?

Only you can answer those questions and eliminate each ingredient at a time as the culprit. There are many different preservatives you could use, so I'll refer you to the preservatives section to see what would work for your products and preferences.