Isopropyl Myristate

What is it? Isopropyl Myristate is an ester of isopropyl alcohol (aka rubbing alcohol) and myristic acid (a fatty acid that naturally occurs in coconut and palm oils). It is a very lightweight emollient and can be used like a carrier oil in many applications.
INCI Isopropyl Myristate
Appearance Thin clear liquid
Usage rate 1–20%
Texture Smooth, thin, liquid
Scent Low to none
Absorbency Speed Fast
Approximate Melting Point Below 25°C
pH 6.5–7.5 (5% solution in water)
Solubility Oil
Polarity Medium
Why do we use it in formulations? Isopropyl Myristate is included in formulas to dramatically reduce the greasy/oily feel; it’s brilliant in recipes with large amounts of butters that are famous for a heavier skin feel (like shea).

Isopropyl Myristate is also a great lightweight emollient; you can include it in recipes as an alternative to a liquid carrier oil to make for a lighter, faster-absorbing product.

At higher concentrations it can also be used in products like makeup removers.

Do you need it? No, but if you don’t like heavy/greasy products Isopropyl Myristate is an excellent thing to have around.
Refined or unrefined? Isopropyl Myristate only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Isopropyl Myristate is so good at reducing the greasy feel of other ingredients that it is possible to make products that are primarily shea butter that don’t feel greasy.
Weaknesses Isopropyl Myristate is not typically considered “natural”.
Alternatives & Substitutions One could use a very absorbing carrier oil instead (something like camellia seed oil), but even the lightest carrier oils won’t dramatically reduce the greasy feeling of a heavier formula, meaning the end product will be much heavier/slower absorbing than originally intended.

You can experiment with other lightweight esters, like C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate or Coco-Caprylate. They have different skin feels than isopropyl myristate (IPM), but they are nice and light!

You could try something like isododecane or cyclomethicone, but ingredients like that are very volatile, meaning they cannot be heated much and will evaporate out of the finished product over time if given the opportunity.

How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your products; it can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Isopropyl Myristate should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Isopropyl myristate can be used to remove prosthetic make-up.
Recommended starter amount 100–200mL (3.3–6.6fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Isopropyl Myristate


Posted on

January 30, 2019