Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that does occur in nature, for example in the seeds of some citrus fruits. For commercial use it is synthesized as the cost of extracting it from natural sources would be too high both in terms of financial cost and valuable food source.
Phenoxyethanol is very well tolerated and we are not aware of any reports of adverse effects from its use in cosmetics and personal care products. It also biodegrades readily and has minimal adverse effect on the environment. Phenoxyethanol is on the list of preservatives permitted by Soil Association and Organic Food Federation for use in cosmetic products.
We currently only use Phenoxyethanol in one formula which is our Day Solution SPF15 as this particular formulation has some specific preservation issues meaning that it needs a stronger preservative than most of our products. We are currently in the process of reformulating that product ready for a relaunch, by which time we will be selling entirely phenoxyethanol-free products.