What is it? Octyldodecanol is a low polarity liquid fatty alcohol that is an emollient, moisturizer, and solvent. It’s very versatile and can be used like liquid carrier oils in many applications. Octyldodecanol is popular in colour cosmetics as it improves pigment dispersion (some manufacturers sell pigments pre-dispersed in a base of octyldodecanol).

Octyldodecanol is non-volatile and is very different from alcohols like isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol and ethanol. It is more like carrier oils than ethanol.

Octyldodecanol is also known as 2-Octyl-1-dodecanol.

INCI Octyldodecanol
Appearance Clear, thin fluid
Usage rate Recommendations are usually in the 1–20% range. I have not found a maximum allowable level. “The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that … Octyldodecanol [was] safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.” (source)
Texture Smooth, spreadable
Scent Nothing noticeable
Absorbency Speed Average to fast
Approximate Melting Point Liquid at room temperature
Solubility Octyldodecanol is oil and paraffin soluble, miscible in alcohol.
Why do we use it in formulations? Octyldodecanol is very useful in formulations. It offers emolliency, moisturizing, and lubrication. It also helps decrease foam, stabilize emulsions, and is an excellent solvent.
Do you need it? No, but it is very useful if you are formulating with salicylic acid.
Refined or unrefined? Octyldodecanol only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Octyldodecanol is an excellent solvent for salicylic acid.
Weaknesses Octyldodecanol can be tricky to find.
Alternatives & Substitutions Before you choose an alternative, you’ll need to determine why octyldodecanol is used in a formulation.

If it is being used as an emollient you could try different emollient ingredients like liquid oils, esters, and silicones.

If it is being used as a salicylic acid solvent I’m afraid I don’t have many suggestions; octyldodecanol is an excellent salicylic acid solvent with a much higher ability to dissolve salicylic acid than most other options.

How to Work with It Include octyldodecanol in the oil phase of your formulations; it can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, octyldodecanol should last at least 12 months.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Octyldodecanol and stearyl alcohol (a component of Cetearyl Alcohol) are both long chain fatty alcohols.
Recommended starter amount 60mL (2 fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. Mine is from TKB Trading.

Some Formulations that Use Octyldodecanol


Posted on

June 22, 2022