Geogard Ultra™

What is it? Geogard Ultra™ is a natural broad-spectrum preservative manufactured and patented by Lonza. The INCI is often stated as just Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate, but if you review the data from Lonza, Calcium Gluconate is included at 1%.

From Lonza: “Geogard Ultra™ is a synergistic and patented blend comprised of gluconolactone and sodium benzoate. Aside from its proven broad spectrum activity, wide range of global regulatory approvals and broad formulation compatibility, it also contributes an added skin moisturisation benefit and has conformance with ECOCERT/COSMOS, NATRUE and the Soil Association. What makes this preservative unique is the synergy between the two ingredients which allows for its broad spectrum efficacy. Typically, organic acids on their own are too weak and often require a co-preservative or booster in order to perform optimally. The gluconolactone in this blend works in conjunction with the sodium benzoate to act as an efficient preservative booster, slowly releasing gluconic acid over time thereby contributing to the broader preservation effect.”

Read this document to learn more. It’s not the most recent version, but it’s the newest version I’ve found that’s not behind a login wall.

INCI Gluconolactone (and) Sodium Benzoate (and) Calcium Gluconate
Appearance Coarse white powder
Usage rate 0.75–2%
Scent Nothing noticeable in end products
Approximate Melting Point Solid at room temperature
pH range 3–6
Charge compatibility Cationic, anionic, and non-ionic compatible.
Solubility Geogard Ultra™ is soluble up to 4% in water, dispersible in glycols and alkyl sulphates.
Why do we use it in formulations? Geogard Ultra™ protects our products from microbial spoilage (bacteria, yeast, fungus). I’ve found it to be a good natural preservative option.
Do you need it? If you’ve already got Liquid Germall™ Plus you don’t need this preservative. However, if you’re looking to start working with more natural preservatives, Geogard Ultra™ is a good option.
Refined or unrefined? Geogard Ultra™ only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Readily available natural preservative with broad applications.
Weaknesses Geogard Ultra™ can cause the pH of formulations to drift downwards, so make sure you’re testing its performance and consider including a buffer in your formulation.

Due to the possibility of Sodium Benzoate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) combining to create benzene, it is not recommended to use Geogard Ultra™ in formulations containing ascorbic acid. I have read that it should also be avoided in formulations containing citric acid, but Lonza provides at least one Geogard Ultra™ sample formulation that includes citric acid for pH adjusting, so I think citric acid and Geogard Ultra™ are likely an ok combination.

Alternatives & Substitutions Please read this FAQ.
How to Work with It Geogard Ultra™ is not heat sensitive, so you can include it in the heated water phase of your products if desired. If cold processed it will take a while to dissolve; I will often cover my beaker with clingfilm and leave it to dissolve overnight.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Geogard Ultra™ should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks I find Geogard Ultra™ noticeably lowers the pH of products; I’ve created several formulations with it that I thought would need to have acid added to them but ended up needing the pH raised instead.
Recommended starter amount 30g (1.06oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Want to learn more about preservatives and compare them? Check out this chart!

Some Formulations that Use Geogard Ultra™

Liquid Germall™ Plus

What is it? Liquid Germall™ Plus is a broad-spectrum preservative that is effective in a wide variety of formulations and pH environments.

The limiting ingredient in Liquid Germall™ Plus for regulatory purposes is the Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate. The maximum usage rate of 0.5% Liquid Germall™ Plus results in 0.002% Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate in finished formulations, which is below the maximum usage rate for leave-on and rinse off purposes in the USA, EU, and Japan. In the EU, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate is not to be used on children under 3 years of age unless in rinse-off products. No such restriction exists in the USA or Japan, so I’d say it’s up to you if you wish to use this preservative in leave-on products for people under 3 years.

Liquid Germall™ Plus is a patented product made by Ashland.

INCI Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
Appearance Viscous clear liquid
Usage rate 0.1–0.5%, though Ashland reports efficacy as low as 0.06% and recommends higher concentrations for more complex formulations. I’ve never encountered spoilage at 0.5%, even in very challenging formulations.
Scent Nothing noticeable in end products
Approximate Melting Point Liquid at room temperature
pH range 3–8
Charge compatability Cationic, anionic, and non-ionic compatible.
Solubility Liquid Germall™ Plus is water-soluble.
Why do we use it in formulations? Liquid Germall™ Plus protects our products from microbial spoilage (bacteria, yeast, fungus). I’ve used it for years in all kinds of formulations and have found it to be an incredibly reliable, effective preservative.

In addition to its versatility in terms of efficacy, it also works over a broad pH range, generally negating the need to test the pH of your end product unless you know it contains high concentrations of extremely acidic or basic ingredients. If you don’t want to invest in pH testing equipment, this is a great added bonus!

Do you need it? highly recommend it. Even if you don’t want to use it forever, it’s a great starter preservative, allowing you to familiarize yourself with other aspects of making and formulating without worrying about preservation.
Refined or unrefined? Liquid Germall™ Plus only exists as a refined product.
Strengths It is very effective at low concentrations, and functions in a wide variety of formulations. According to Ashland, Liquid Germall™ Plus “is compatible with virtually all cosmetic ingredients including complex ingredients such as proteins and surfactants.”
Weaknesses Liquid Germall™ Plus can be very hard to find outside of North America.
Alternatives & Substitutions Please read this FAQ.
How to Work with It Add Liquid Germall™ Plus to the cool-down phase of your formulations; do not heat above 50°C (122°F).
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Liquid Germall™ Plus should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Diazolidinyl Urea is considered safe up to 0.5%; given it is just a component of the overall product with a maximum usage rate of 0.5%, we’re well below that.

Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate is present at 0.004% in Liquid Germall™ Plus; 0.5% usage means a finished formulation will contain 0.002% Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate. This is well below the CIR limit of 0.1%.

Recommended starter amount 30g (1.06oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Want to learn more about preservatives and compare them? Check out this chart!

Some Formulations that Use Liquid Germall™ Plus