Ethylhexylglycerin at a Glance
- Skin-softening agent with mild humectant (hydration boosting) properties
- Multitasks with preservative capabilities to improve formulary stability
- Also popular in deodorants where it has an inhibiting effect on odor-causing bacteria
- Proven track record of safety
- Pale to colorless liquid as a raw material
Ethylhexylglycerin is a synthetic skin-softening agent. Ethylhexylglycerin can also be used as a preservative and carrier/suspending agent that boosts the efficacy of other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. It has been shown to have mild humectant properties leading to improved skin hydration without a sticky feel.
Ethylhexylglycerin is also popular in deodorant formulas where it has an inhibiting effect on odor-causing bacteria. Antibacterial action is also where it earns its keep as a preservative, but since it isn’t effective against other type of pathogens, it would always be used with more broad-spectrum preservatives.
As a raw material, ethylhexylglycerin is a pale to colorless liquid. It is formed by a condensation reaction between 2-ethyhexanol (an oil-like ingredient) and glycerin.
In 2013, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel deemed ethylhexylglycerin as safe used in up to 8% concentration in rinse-off products and up to 2% in leave-on formulas. Studies regarding sensitization patch tests of 5% ethylhexylglycerin show that reactions to this ingredient are very rare and their occurrence in a broad population is considered low risk.
PLoS One, October 2016, ePublication
Contact Dermatitis, May 2016, pages 281-288
International Journal of Toxicology, September 2013, pages 5S-21S
Personal Care, 2008, pages 1-4
Cosmetic Science Technology, 2006, pages 1-11
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About the Experts
Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:
The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!