the-truth-about-preservativesConfused about paraben-free? Sulfate-free? What do these mean? There’s been a lot of controversy regarding preservatives and overall ingredients in the beauty industry: I know that many consumers have been lost in terms of which ingredients are good, and which are bad.

There’s plenty of information floating around, but many experts can’t agree on what’s best for the industry. As a consumer, I was outraged at the amount of preservatives and ingredients that companies would put into their products. However, now that I’m on the other side (so to speak), ready to sell, I understand why they would need these ingredients in the first place.

In water-based formulas, bacteria thrives easily– companies HAVE to add some kind of preservative, usually under 1%, in order to keep the products fresh. If this isn’t done properly, end-users have reported breakouts, mold, problems with vision (badly preserved eye creams), and more. Although in small amounts, preservatives like Optiphen and Liquid Germall Plus are safe, they are still not good for the environment once they’ve been washed down the drain.

There has been more research featuring more “natural” preservatives, such as derivatives of lavender, thyme, rosemary essential oils, and more. Potassium sorbate is one that has been been used widely in food, so we have been consuming it for years.

With the onslaught of hysteria on parabens, I went to find out more information as to why. Back in 2004, studies found parabens in the breast tissue of breast cancer patients.Since many people have been disconcerted with parabens, companies have been quick to jump on the wagon, proclaiming “Paraben-free” on their marketing materials. However, parabens have been around for over 80 years. In fact, they’re even found in naturally-grown foods such as blueberries and carrots. Experts such as dermatologist Dr. Richard Thomas have advised to be sure that the alternative chemicals will be just as safe.

In oil-based formulas, there’s no need for preservatives, since bacteria won’t thrive well. Instead, I use anti-oxidants like ROE (rosemary oleoresin extract) and a sunflower-derived Vitamin E (no soy here!) to keep our products as fresh as possible. It’s my hope that Wonderland Organics will continue to make oil-based products only, in order for the products be as safe as possible. This is why I highly encourage my awesome readers to buy more oil-based products! At the least, you won’t be contributing to as many terrible ingredients going down the drain and toward our wildlife in the sea.

Readers, what do you think? I hope this has helped to clear up some confusion about preservatives, and why they are needed.

Stay tuned for more posts on ingredients!


PAPAGEORGIOU, S., A. VARVARESOU, E. TSIRIVAS, and C. DEMETZOS. “New Alternatives to Cosmetics Preservation.” Journal of Cosmetic Science 61.2 (2010): 107-23. Journal of Cosmetic Science. Mar.-Apr. 2010. Web. 2 June 2014. <>.

Molly. “Parabens, Blueberries & Skincare: 8 Facts That May Surprise You « The DermApproved Blog « DermApproved.” The DermApproved Blog. DermApproved, 18 July 2013. Web. 02 June 2014. <>.



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