Phenoxyethanol is a broad spectrum preservative commonly used in cosmetics.
Phenoxyethanol is used as a preservative in cosmetic products to limit bacterial growth. A review of 43 cosmetic products demonstrated that only 25 percent of the products had concentrations of phenoxyethanol greater than 0.6 percent and the mean concentration of phenoxyethanol was 0.46 percent. Phenoxyethanol is also used as to stabilize components found in perfumes and soaps.
Phenoxyethanol is used as a perfume fixative; an insect repellent; an antiseptic; a solvent for cellulose acetate, dyes, inks, and resins; a preservative for pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and lubricants; an anesthetic in fish aquaculture; and in organic synthesis.
Phenoxyethanol is an alternative to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. In Japan and the EU, its concentration in cosmetics is restricted to 1%.
Soluble in water & oil.
Temperature requirement: less than 80C
Usage rate: 0.6 to 1.0%
Source: wikipedia, safecosmetics.org