ASTM E640 – Preservation Test – Cosmetics

ASTM E640 is a standard preservation test method for testing performance of preservatives found in water-containing cosmetics.

ASTM E640 is commonly used for personal care and cosmetic products where the use of an effective and long-lasting preservative is a key consideration in formulation development, storage, and continual use.

ASTM E640 is a multi-cycle challenge test that exposes a product to a series of common microbes.

Typically tested to separate bacteria and fungal challenges, ASTM E640 can be modified to include specific organisms as found in actual production and use conditions.

Testing is commonly requested for product development, performance testing, and quality control testing.

It is important to test a personal care product’s preservation performance to meet customer expectations and to assure quality products batch after batch.

Additional Testing Information

  • This method produces in a laboratory environment representative microbial exposure as typically seen in use- opening and closing of a bottle or package and/or the constant inoculation of organisms commonly associated with direct consumer contact.
  • Once exposed to microbial populations, the preservative’s ability to withstand initial contact and subsequent re-inoculations helps to determine the effectiveness of a particular preservation system and/or formulation.
  • ASTM E640 is often run with shelf life tests, including accelerated aging by heat where the product is exposed to environmental conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.) as specified by the customer.
  • Another common preservation challange method performed for cosmetic and presonal care products is USP 51, also referred to as a bioburden test.

For more information about ASTM E640 and Preservation testing, contact our antimicrobial lab at 847-483-9950 or