Diethylhexyl Adipate

What Is It?

Diethylhexyl Adipate and Diisopropyl Adipate are clear, colorless to light yellow viscous liquids. Diethylhexyl Adipate may also be called Dioctyl Adipate. In cosmetics and personal care products, these ingredients are used in the formulation of perfumes and colognes, bath products, aftershave lotions, skin fresheners, skin cleansers, makeup foundations and lipsticks, and other skin care products.

Why Is It Used?

Diethylhexyl and Diisopropyl Adipate act as lubricants on the skin’s surface, which gives the skin a soft and smooth appearance. They are also used to dissolve other substances in cosmetics and personal care products and to soften synthetic compounds by reducing brittleness and cracking.

Scientific Facts

Diethylhexyl Adipate is the ester of diethylhexyl alcohol and adipic acid. Diisopropyl Adipate is the ester isopropyl alcohol and adipic acid. Adipic acid is a component of various fats. Adipic acid is added to baking powders to make them acidic. Adipic acid is found in beet juice.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the safety of Diethylhexyl Adipate and approved its use as an indirect food additive as a component of polymers having incidental contact with food.

The safety of Diethylhexyl Adipate and Diisopropyl Adipate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel.

The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Diethylhexyl Adipate and Diisopropyl Adipate were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products. In 2010 the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on these two ingredients and reaffirmed the above conclusion.

CIR Safety Review:

Both ingredients had low acute oral and dermal toxicity. Undiluted Diethylhexyl Adipate and Diisopropyl Adipate were, at most, only very mild, transient eye irritants. Primary dermal irritation tests indicated that Diethylhexyl Adipate was a very mild irritant and Diisopropyl Adipate was minimally irritating. Diethylhexyl Adipate was not a skin sensitizer.

A test in bacteria for the mutagenic potential of Diethylhexyl Adipate was negative. Diethylhexyl Adipate was not carcinogenic. In a lifetime study, Diethylhexyl Adipate caused no skin tumors when 10 mg was applied weekly to back skin.

Clinical assessment of Diethylhexyl Adipate in formulations showed, at most, minimal erythema and papules when applied under occlusion. No UV sensitization occurred.

Undiluted Diisopropyl Adipate produced no irritation in 24 hour patch tests, but was moderately irritating in a 21-day cumulative irritancy test. Formulations containing up to 20% Diisopropyl Adipate caused minimal to mild irritation, no sensitization and no photosensitization.

FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Dioctyl Adipate (Diethylhexyl Adipate)

Diethylhexyl Adipate and Diisopropyl Adipate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

EU Cosmetic Regulation

More Scientific Information

In cosmetics and personal care products, Diethylhexyl Adipate and Diisopropyl Adipate function as skin conditioning agents – emollient and solvents in cream-type skin products.

The adipate ingredients are also used as plasticizers and as components of cosmetic bases where they modify the tactile and flow properties of emollient blends, especially in bath products.


Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration

Food Ingredients and Packaging

Food Contact Substances

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory