Behenic Acid Good Texture enhancer No known benefits Behenic Acid at a glance A saturated fatty acid primarily used as a thickener and opacifying agent Sometimes used as a replacement for the lighter-weight ingredient stearic acid Works with traditional cleansing agents as a co-surfactant Considered safe as used in rinse-off and leave-on cosmetics Behenic Acid description Behenic acid is a fatty acid that is used as a thickener, cleansing agent, and opacifier in cosmetics. Also known as docosanoic acid, this ingredient may be plant-derived or synthetic. It’s a major component of moringa oil and is also found in peanut oil. The saturated nature of this long-chain (more than 20 carbon molecules) wax-like fatty acid is what gives it opacifying and texture-enhancing properties. It is sometimes used as an alternative to stearic acid, a decision dependent on desired aesthetics. Despite this being a saturated fatty acid, its lower molecular weight and affinity for skin enable it to enhance the penetration of other ingredients without posing a risk of irritation. Although also categorized as a surfactant (cleansing agent) behenic acid is typically used with pure surfactants to create fatty acid-enhanced oil-gel textures that can capably yet gently remove excess oil and long-wearing, more tenacious ingredients. Usage levels of behenic acid in cosmetics range from 0.024–22%. Products like lipstick that may lead to incidental ingestion may contain up to 14% behenic acid. All of these amounts are considered safe for skin.