Preservatives are definitely an affront in clean organic beauty.  They are absolutely necessary, and yet it is difficult to find one that is non-toxic and effective.

To understand how we chose Gluconolactone Sodium Benzoate as our main preservative, we have to explain the process we use and the information we rely on.

The EWG’s Skin Deep Guide

We start with this free online guide of personal care products and their ingredients aimed at helping people find safer products. This database contains “scores” for ingredients and some products letting you know how concerned you should be about using that item.  A score of 1 means that they have found the ingredient to be a low hazard and safe for use while a score of 10 means extremely high hazard and use with caution. In addition, “data” below the score tells you how much research has been done on the ingredient.

The unique thing about EWG’s rankings is the ability to gauge both the safety of the ingredient and the how much we know about its safety. At A Simple Planet, we always look for the lowest score possible with as much data as possible.

Ecocert Compliance

The Second requirement that A Simple Planet has for selecting a preservative is Ecocert compliance.  Ecocert has two standards to ensure environmentally-friendly products:

  1. The ingredients must be derived from renewable resources and manufactured through an environmentally friendly process.
  2. A minimum of 95% of total ingredients come from plant-based origin and a minimum of 10% by weight from organic farming to be labeled organic and 50% plant based; and 5% from organic farming to be labeled natural. Plus, it must be free from:
  • Animal derived ingredient (except those produced by animals such as milk and honey)
  • Animal testing
  • GMOs
  • Formaldehyde
  • Parabens
  • PEGs
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Polluting packaging, must be recyclable.
  • Silicon
  • Synthetic perfumes and dyes

We use Gluconolactone Sodium Benzoate (Gluconolactone SB) manufactured by at a rate of 1.5% Gluconolactone and 0.5% Sodium Benzoate.  This broad-spectrum antimicrobial made from corn is not only Ecocert compliant, but also WholeFoods and the European REACH regulation compliant.

According to EWG,  Gluconolactone is given their lowest rating of 1, meaning it is of low risk.  Sodium Benzoate is given a 1-3 ranking depending on the concentration used. A Simple Planet uses a low concentration of Sodium Benzoate.

Figure 1. EWG’s ranking for Gluconolactone, a preservative used in A Simple Planets products.

Figure 2. EWG’s ranking for Sodium Benzoate, a preservative used in A Simple Planets products.