Fragrance Synthetic and Natural

No known benefits

Phenylpropanol at a glance

  • Masking scent used in skin care formulas
  • Also serves as a preservative, extending product shelf life
  • Potentially irritating to skin
  • Used in concentrations of up to .3%

Phenylpropanol description

Phenylpropanol is a naturally derived and synthetically made ingredient used in skin care as a masking scent, preservative and solvent. Its hyacinth-like smell is often employed in formulas to cover, or “mask,” the natural-yet-not-so-pleasant scents of other ingredients. Beyond this, phenylpropanol has preservative qualities in formulas, helping keep formulas safe for usage for longer amounts of time. However, due to phenylpropanol’s fragrance compounds it can irritate skin. This perfuming compound hasn’t been reviewed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. More research is needed to determine its impact on skin as well as its safety. As a raw material, this fragrant compound appears as a clear colorless liquid. It’s soluble in alcohol, but only dispersible in water. According to suppliers, its recommended use percentage is 0.3% as a preservative.

Phenylpropanol references

  • Journal of Applied Microbiology, February 2022, pages 933-948
  • Scientific Reports, April 2021, ePublication
  • ULProspector, Accessed November 2022, Webpage
  • PubChem, Accessed November 2022, Webpage

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.