C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate



C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate at a glance

  • Popular emollient (skin-softening, moisture-sealing) ingredient
  • Often used in sunscreens where it keeps active ingredients evenly dispersed throughout the formula
  • May also boost the SPF of certain sunscreen actives
  • Can impart a lightly conditioning, silky finish to products
  • Proven track record of safety in cosmetic use

C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate description

C12-15 alkyl benzoate is used as an emollient (skin-softening, moisture-sealing), texture-enhancing and dispersing agent in cosmetics. This common, synthetic ingredient is an ester that’s soluble in oil and oil-like ingredients, and imparts a lightly conditioning, silky, non-oily finish to products. C12-15 alkyl benzoate’s excellent solubility is one of the main reasons it’s used in so many sunscreens, as it helps keep the active ingredients evenly dispersed throughout the formula. Research also indicates it has the ability to boost the SPF of certain sunscreen actives. Another advantage of C12-15 alkyl benzoate is its occlusive properties which help skin retain moisture over a longer period compared to some other emollients that deliver shorter-lived results. In 2012, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel deemed C12-15 alkyl benzoate as safe in the reported use/max concentration at that time (up to 59% in leave-on products).

C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate references

  • The University of Toledo, May 2020, ePublication
  • Scientific Journal of the Faculty of Medicine in Nis, December 2013, pages 193-200
  • International Journal of Toxicology, November-December 2012, pages 342-372

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.