Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate

What Is It?

Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate is a clear, oily liquid that is used in the formulation of a wide variety of cosmetics and personal care products. Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate was formerly named Cetearyl Octanoate for the purpose of ingredient declarations on product labels.

Why Is It Used?

Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate acts as a lubricant on the skin’s surface to give it a soft and smooth appearance and as a hair conditioning ingredient. It also imparts water-repelling characteristics to cosmetics and personal care products, improves “spreadability,” and is used to improve dry skin conditions.

Scientific Facts

Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate is the ester of Cetearyl Alcohol and 2-ethylhexanoic acid (octanoic acid). Cetearyl alcohol is a straight-chain fatty alcohol and ethylhexanoic acid is a branched-chain fatty acid with eight carbon atoms.

Safety Information

The safety of Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate was safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the present practices of use. In 2003, as part of the scheduled re-evaluation of ingredients, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on this ingredient and reaffirmed the above conclusion.

CIR Safety Review:

The CIREP reported that the acute oral toxicity of Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate was low and that the ingredient produced no significant acute, subchronic or dermal skin or eye irritation. The ingredient produced no evidence of skin sensitization. Similar studies with product formulations containing Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate confirmed these results, as well as indicated the ingredient was not phototoxic.

In clinical studies, slight to moderate irritation with undiluted Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate was observed. Tests of product formulations containing Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate showed no signs of skin sensitization, photocontact allergenicity, or phototoxicity. Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in the European Union according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union.

Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate may be derived from raw materials of animal origin. In the European Union, ingredients obtained from animal sources must not contain any material from animals with a potential for BSE (see entry 419 of Annex II of the Cosmetics Directive).

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation: 

More Scientific Information

Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate is the ester of cetearyl alcohol, a mixture of fatty alcohols that consists predominantly of cetyl and stearyl alcohols, and 2-ethylhexanoic acid. Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate functions as skin conditioning agent – emollient and a hair conditioning ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products.


EU Cosmetic Ingredients Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/

Search the FDA Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm