Want to increase the shelf life of your finished product but wonder which preservative to use between Germsben II and Optiphen? Keep reading to learn more about their pros and cons.

germaben vs optiphen
Preservatives in cosmetics

    Germaben II

    Germaben II is a broad spectrum preservative that is widely used to preserve many cosmetics such as in the production of lotions, shampoos, and emulsion beauty care products.

    Germaben II solves the problems of adding solid parabens into formulations. That is, unlike some preservatives, Germaben II can be dissolved into any form of cosmetic formulations easily.

    The international nomenclature of cosmetic ingredients (INCI) of Germaben II: propylene glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, methylparaben, and propylparaben.


    • Germaben II is readily dissolved in cosmetic formulations at a 0.1% concentration over a wide range of temperatures
    • It is also added into cold processed shampoos and creams during their production processes
    • The preservative is also affective for preserving troublesome cosmetic formulations containing proteins, soluble collagen, nonionic surfactants, herbal extracts
    • The effectiveness of Germaben II is due to the combined action of methylparaben and propylparaben, and this makes Germaben II an exceptional preservative for preserving complex personal beauty care products
    • It is a transparent clear viscous liquid with a characteristics mild odor

    Recommended Dosage

    The recommended dosage for Germaben II is between 0-1.0%. The highest dosage, which is 1% contains 0.3% Germall II, 0.11% methylparaben, 0.03% propylparaben, and 0.56% propylene glycol.

    Some cosmetic products like shampoos do not require up to 1%, and therefore anything below 1% to 0.1 is sufficient to preserve your products.

    Taking your finished product to the lab is recommended for efficacy testing. This helps you understand whether the preservative system is worth for your product.


    • Germaben II is a good preservative that is soluble in both aqueous formulations and oil-water emulsions
    • It is the most convenient preservative with complete effective antimicrobial action and broad-spectrum activity
    • The combined and solubilized property of Germaben II with methylparaben and propylparaben is sufficient against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and fungi
    • Germaben II is an effective preservative, which can be used alone in all beauty care formulations like surfactants and proteins without additional preservative


    Germaben II contains Diazolidinyl urea, and this chemical is a formaldehyde releaser. Formaldehyde is a widely known chemical that has been shown to cause skin irritation and allergy.

    One study showed that inhalation of a small amount of formaldehyde caused respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.

    Moreover, U.S EPA and World Health Organization (WHO) classified formaldehyde as a carcinogen, which was believed to cause cancer and defect on the nasopharyngeal system (source).

    However, the above-mentioned cases were when you use pure formaldehyde as a preservative in cosmetic products. And the amount of formaldehyde that is released by these formaldehyde-releasing chemicals is quite negligible that it can not cause harm to your health.

    The US Food and Drug Administration recommends using Germaben II at a low concentration typically less than 1%.

    Note: Do not use products containing parabens if you are allergic to it.


    Generally, all the so-called effective preservatives are potential allergens and irritants, but when used wisely and under a recommended safety limit, many health issues can be minimized.

    Therefore, it is always very important as a manufacturer to put yourself in the shoes of your customers by following the safety rules and regulations given by your Federal Law enforcement agencies.


    Optiphen is a preservative that contains no parabens and formaldehyde-releasing chemicals. It is a preservative system, which is made from a combination of phenoxyethanol and caprylic glycol.

    Adding these chemicals as one preservative provides excellent protection against a wide variety of microbes that can contaminate products. Phenoxyethanol and caprylyl glycol also add an additional nice feel to the finished products.


    • Optiphen is a preservative that can be added in a different type of personal care products made with emulsions, aqueous and anhydrous systems
    • Optiphen can be formulated into formulations at temperature equals to or below 60°C (140°F) when the product is emulsifying or after emulsification
    • Optiphen is best used at a PH between 4.0- 8.0
    • It is almost used most raw materials
    • International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) of Optiphen is phenoxyethanol and caprylyl Glycol
    • Optiphen is a globally approved preservative system that is produced by ISP
    • Optiphen also acts as humectants


    • Optiphen is an effective preservative that can kill stubborn germs
    • Optiphen is a true multi-functional preservative with a wide range of spectrum activity
    • In addition to giving viscous feel to a finished product, Optiphen is a good humectant and wetting agent in various personal care products and other cosmetic products formulations
    • Optiphen goes beyond preserving products from the effect of bacteria, yeast, and mold to adding and imparting an exceptional feel to the end product, and this makes optiphen useful in the production of lotions, creams, sunscreens, color cosmetics, perfumes, shampoos, and body washes
    • Optiphen is typically in liquid form, making it easy to be used and added to a formulation during or after emulsification at or below 60°C (140°F)

    Related: Phenoxyethanol in cosmetics: Benefits and side effects


    Optiphen is a preservative that contains an active ingredient called phenoxyethanol, and this chemical is known to cause allergic responses in some people. Though, some of the researchers believed that the allergy is due to the test subjects are already allergic to phenoxyethanol.

    Moreover, phenoxyethanol was shown to affect the central nervous system of infants. However, further studies showed that the chemical has no significant health effect on the mother and adults.

    One study from the European Commission On Health and Food Safety showed several studies highlighting the effects of phenoxyethanol such as skin irritation on exposed rabbits and rats even at low concentrations.

    In another study on human participants, phenoxyethanol was also showed to cause hives and anaphylaxis in a consumer who applied topical skincare products containing the chemical.

    However, it was also shown that the risk of anaphylaxis from phenoxyethanol is very uncommon.


    Optiphen is one of the widely approved preservatives globally by both government and private organizations. As you may know, all ingredients or preservatives have their shortcomings in one way or the other. The best rule of thumb is to stay within the recommended safety limit. Always put your customers first before you think of your market outcome.

    There are some ingredients in the formulation that are even more harmful than synthetic preservative after following some chemical reactions. Look at your sebum. This is an oily skin substance secreted by your sebaceous glands to lubricate your skin. But, when sebum becomes excess in the body, it changes from lubricating skin to clogging skin pores. There are many examples to be cited here but you get the point.


    We have discussed and compared the features of both Germaben II and Optiphen where we highlighted the benefits and some of their side effects.

    It is crucial to know that all effective preservatives are potential allergens or irritants when added into formulations without following safety limits and guidelines.

    However, when used wisely and under a recommended safety limit, more health-related issues can be minimized. I think it is quite important to follow simple rules and regulations than to have a contaminated product as a manufacturer or use a contaminated product as an end-user.

    You might also like:

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