Posted by Danny Stanzl on 18th May 2021

Using Behenyl alcohol (docosanol) in cosmetic formulations

Behenyl alcohol is an excellent opacifying ingredient and enhances spreadability, we look at how to include it in your formulation to improve your skincar

One of the most frequent questions we receive from those making their own skincare is how to enhance the spreadability of a product without making it more "greasy" or fundamentally changing the formulation. Behenyl alcohol could well be the ingredient your formulation and your skin is waiting for.

What is Behenyl alcohol?

Behenyl alcohol is a plant derived thickening agent and emulsifier. It is a saturated fatty alcohol with 22 carbons.

What produces is Behenyl alcohol used in?

Behenyl alcohol can be used in anhydrous (products containing no water) and water based formulations. Famously Behenyl alcohol is the main active ingredient in many cold sore and herpes products, where is used at 10%. For this reason you will find it used in Balms and Creams, however it is also very useful in haircare products where it acts as an emollient increasing the moisture content in the hair.

Improving Spreadability of your cosmetic formulation

Behenyl alcohol has an excellent property of removing stickiness from products such as beeswax, whilst at the same time in can greasy products feel less greasy and improve the way they spread and absorb on the skin. You will find Behenyl alcohol in many solid deodorant sticks, where the Behenyl alcohol takes the stickiness away from the product, whilst emulsifying the ingredients, including oils and providing antimicrobial properties.

Using Behenyl alcohol

The Behenyl alcohol

The Behenyl alcohol is a white wax, we supply Behenyl alcohol in white pellets, though it is available in other forms (solid, flakes, granules).

The wax is easy to incorporate into your final formula.

The melted Behenyl alcohol in your formula

We use a simple base of Yellow Beeswax and Sunflower to show the process. We have used 5% Behenyl alcohol in this example.

Remember there is no limit to the amount of Behenyl alcohol you can include in a formula. 10% is used in Cold Sore products, however higher amounts can cause some skin irritation, 2 - 5% is normally enough to achieve your desired texture and consistency.

Behenyl alcohol vital stats and buy online

Latin name: Behenyl alcohol

Cas number: 661-19-8

Origin: Vegetable

For more information and to buy Behenyl alcohol online visit:



See how easy it is to melt Behenyl alcohol into your skincare formulation