We investigated the growth-inhibitory activities of cosmetics and their preservatives against pathogens and resident skin bacteria. Of the tested cosmetics, preservatives such as parabens, 1,2-hexanediol, phenoxyethanol-contained toner, emulsion, cream and baby cream exhibited potent antibacterial effects against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Parabens, 1,2-hexanediol and phenoxyethanol inhibited the growth of pathogens, as well as skin-resident bacteria such as Staphilococcus epidermidis, Shigella flexneri, Enterobacter aerogenes and so on. The application of a basic cream containing phenoxyethanol to human skin was shown to disturb the skin microbiota: at the phylum level, Proteobacteria increased and at species level, 4P004125_s increased and Propionibacterium humerusii decreased. Based on these findings, parabens, 1,2-hexanediol and phenoxyethanol have antimicrobial activity and cosmetics containing phenoxyethanol may disturb skin microbiota.