What Is It?

Eugenol is a clear to pale yellow liquid that has a spicy clove-like aroma. Eugenol, a naturally occurring substance found in many plants, is used to make fragrances and flavors. In cosmetics and personal care products, Eugenol is used in the formulation of aftershave lotions, bath products, bubble baths, fragrances, hair care products, moisturizers, shampoos and skin care products.

Why Is It Used?

Eugenol functions as a fragrance ingredient and as a denaturant.

Scientific Facts

Eugenol is a naturally occurring fragrance compound found in clove oil, nutmeg, cinnamon and bay leaf. It can also be produced synthetically.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes clove and its derivatives, including Eugenol, on its list of substances affirmed as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) as direct food substances. The safety of Eugenol has been evaluated by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials Expert Panel (REXPAN). Based on this evaluation, an International Fragrance Association (IFRA) Standard has been established. The IFRA Standard restricts the use of Eugenol in fragrances because of potential sensitization.

Link to the IFRA Standards:

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) defers review of individual fragrance ingredients to the IFRA program unless the ingredient has significant uses other than as a fragrance. In this case, the ingredient may be assessed by both the CIR Expert Panel and REXPAN.

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Eugenol:…

The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) established an Acceptable Daily Intake for Eugenol of up to 2.5 mg/kg body weight when used as a flavoring agent.

Link to the JECFA safety evaluation of Eugenol:

The Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association Expert Panel has reviewed the safety of Eugenol and determined that it is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use as a flavoring agent. In Europe, Eugenol is included on the list of “allergenic” substances. The European Cosmetics Regulation requires manufacturers of cosmetics and personal care products to indicate the presence of certain “allergenic” substances in the list of ingredients if they are present above certain levels in the product (see Annex III). The presence of Eugenol must be indicated in the list of ingredients when its concentration exceeds: 0.001% in leave-on the skin products 0.01% in products that are rinsed off the skin.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:

More information about the safety of fragrances.

More Scientific Information

Eugenol is also referred to as allylguaiacol. It is an aromatic liquid that functions as a fragrance ingredient and denaturant.


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):

Link to the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials

Search the FDA Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory