Ingredients lists can be difficult to understand.
Ingredients are usually shown by their scientific name, which sometimes looks nothing like its common name. It can be puzzling if a product is sold as "Natural" or " Organic" but you do not recognise the ingredients.
In the case of essential oils, there can be ingredients, usually with a little * next to them that are formed from the essential oils, like Linalool but not an actual ingredient that is added to a product. (We will look at this later on.)
When looking at an ingredients list, the ingredients listed first are in the greatest amounts and the ingredients at the end of the list the least. So if there is an ingredient I am not sure about, I might accept it being there if it is at the bottom of the list rather than the top.
When I am evaluating a product for my store, the ingredients are one of the first things I look at. There is a lot of information online on various ingredients and I aim to look at scientific studies and opinions of a scientist rather than a Google opinion as most things, synthetic & natural, in a large enough dose, can be harmful. What I need to know is "what's the dose deemed safe" by lots of scientific opinions.
Good sites are
Personally, I am not a fan of preservatives, I understand the need for them but if presented with a choice I will probably choose a product that is oil based and does not require preservatives, as brands are required by law to use a preservative on all products made with water. This is my personal choice and one of the many reasons all the ingredient are clearly marked on this site.
On this site, you will only find preservatives in products that have been deemed safe and can be used in natural and or organic skincare.
Sodium Benzoate, (EWG Score 3) A food grade preservative ( E211)that can be found naturally in foods & seasonings such as including cranberries, cinnamon, prunes and apples. Has been tested extensively for long & short term effects and found not to be a concern in small amounts. Currently found safe by the FDA, to use in concentrations of 0.1%. If eaten in fruit or seasoning in its natural form, Sodium Benzoate would be present in larger doses than what it is used for as a preservative. One concern of Sodium Benzoate is that when combined with Citric Acid or Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) that it can produce Benzene which is highly carcinogenic and may cause genetic mutations. This happens when the solution PH is 3.8 (acidic-Grapefruit juice Tomato Juice) or lower. Heat, light and shelf life can affect the rate at which benzene is formed.
Its use is allowed in natural/organic cosmetic products.
It can be synthetically made as it is not sustainable and is detrimental to nature to harvest it in its natural form. (Neals Yard Remedies)
"The SCCP* is of the opinion that benzoic acid and sodium benzoate are safe for use for preservative and non-preservative purposes in cosmetic rinse-off products at a maximum concentration of 2.5 % and in cosmetic oral-care products at a maximum concentration of 1.7%, and in leave-on products up to 0.5%.27"
*The Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers (SCCP) in http://online.personalcarecouncil.org/ctfa-static/online/lists/cir-pdfs/FR574.pdf