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Cetyl ethylhexanoate

* A synthetic ester of cetyl alcohol and 2-ethylhexanoic acid. Comes in the form of a pale yellow wax/liquid.


Works as an emollient, skin conditioner and thickening agent. It lubricates the surface of the skin/hair, removes the appearance of dry patches and flakes and gives the skin a soft and smooth look. It gives cosmetic products water-repelling properties and an easy spreadabillity. It's used as a substitute to Spermaceti wax, which comes from whales. You can find this ingredient in products such as lipstick, foundation, facial moisturizer, lip gloss, anti-aging treatment, lip/eye liner, conditioner and eye shadow.

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

The safety of this specific ingredient has not been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient review (CIR) Expert Panel.

However, the CIR Expert Panel has reviewed the safety of cetearyl ethylhexanoate (which has a similar chemical composition). While undiluted forms of this ingredient were shown to cause slight dermal irritation, no sensitization was observed in studies where individuals applied products containing the ingredient. Thus, the CIR Expert Panel assessed this ingredient, as well as all cetyl esters, as safe to use in cosmetic formulations.

Recommended Products w/ cetyl ethylhexanoate:

SkinMedica Retinol Complex ($47)

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