No known benefits

Undecane at a glance

  • Emollient that is known for offering a lightweight, smooth glide to formulations
  • Touted for its quick absorbency and non-greasy finish
  • Found naturally in coconut, palm, prickly pear, gooseberries, algae, and fungi
  • Often used in tandem with tridecane (another emollient)

Undecane description

Undecane is an emollient that is often used in tandem with another emollient known as tridecane. This pairing forms a lightweight, smooth glide formula base for skin care and makeup products. Undecane is sometimes touted as an alternative to silicone ingredients* because it delivers similar properties, including the ability to absorb quickly and leave a smooth, powder-dry finish. Suppliers of undecane also tout its use in foundation makeup, where it is said to help prolong wear. Undecane is found naturally in sources such as coconut, palm, prickly pear, gooseberries, algae, and fungi. It is considered safe for skin and is typically used as part of a blend where usage levels range from 2–10%. *Note: Silicones aren’t inherently bad—rather formulating with or without them is a matter of preference (see related ingredients for more info).

Undecane references

  • Egyptian Journal of Chemistry, January 2021, pages 437-444
  • Food and Chemical Toxicology, December 2020, page 11,745
  • CosmeticsBusiness.com, September 2018, ePublication
  • Indian Phytopathology, March 2018, pages 25-31
  • Iranian Journal of Science and Technology, Transactions A: Science, December 2017, pages 49-56
  • Journal of Food Biochemistry, June 2009, pages 307-330

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