While formulating our skincare line, we tested several types of preservatives (none that are on The Never List™ or that have strong links to health concerns, of course) before landing on the preservatives that we did. We chose options that are effective in very small concentrations, and we use different preservatives for different products because of performance (e.g. sodium benzoate might work well on its own in one product but not in another, so we may use phenoxyethanol or potassium sorbate).
We use the smallest amount of preservatives that still get the job done, and we’re on a continuous quest to find even better, safer preservative options (including natural preservatives, new packaging that reduces the amount of air in the bottle, etc).
We make sure that we formulate our products to comply with the regulatory requirements both in the European Union and in Canada. With respect to phenoxyethanol, the percentages we use vary by product, but we make it a point to keep the levels below 1% in any given product, as outlined by the E.U. guidelines.
As for the shelf life, each product features an image of a container with a number on it—this indicates the shelf life. Most products have a 12-month shelf life, as long as the product is properly stored.