Name / description

Butyl Benzoate; Benzoic Acid, Butyl Ester

Function(s) of this ingredient in cosmetic products


Enhances the smell of a product and / or perfumes the skin


Protects cosmetic products from microbial spoilage



Occurrence in cosmetics

As a preservative in various cosmetic products

Background information on use in cosmetics

Preservatives protect cosmetic products against microbial spoilage and hence make a major contribution to consumer health. Preservatives are particularly required in cosmetic formulations containing water, because microorganisms can colonise and reproduce in an aqueous (water-containing) environment. Cosmetics often contain more than one preservative substances and these preservative systems act simultaneously against different bacteria, yeasts or moulds. Each of these substances has been comprehensively tested and assessed for safety (individually and in combination). Manufacturers always use only the lowest possible effective concentration in a product so that an optimum shelf life and safe application are ensured. Fragrances or mixtures of fragrances are often referred to in the cosmetics area as "perfuming agents" or "perfume oils" or "parfum oils". On the cosmetic products they are declared with the INCI name "PARFUM". These are undiluted individual substances or their mixtures which originate from natural raw materials or can be produced (semi-) synthetically. They are starting materials for the production of perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne and other perfumed cosmetic products. The average content of fragrances amounts in perfume to 15-30 %, in eau de parfum to 10-14 %, in eau de toilette to 6-9 %, in eau de cologne to 3-5 % as well as in skin creams, shampoos, hair and deodorant sprays to approximately 0.2-1 % and approximately 1-3 in deodorant sticks. The perfume oils include essential oils, resinoids and absolutes. The sources are, amongst others, flowers, leaves and stems, fruits and fruit peels or roots of plants; woods, grasses or herbs, needles, resins and balsams. Moreover, only compounds isolated from natural products such as aldehydes, ketones, esters, alcohols etc. are used (geraniol, citronellal, citral, eugenol, menthol) as well as semi-synthetic (citronellol, geranyl acetate, jonone) and synthetic scents (eg phenylethyl alcohol and linalool) are used. Scents of animal origin such as musk and ambra are only rarely used. The aromatic carboxylic acid benzoic acid as well as its salts and esters are used as preservatives in cosmetics. They have a good efficacy against bacteria, yeasts and moulds in cosmetic products. In nature benzoic acid occurs in benzoin which has given the name to benzoic acid. The resin originates from the styrax trees in India and Malaysia. At present benzoic acid and its salts and esters are primarily produced by chemical synthesis. The benzoic acid esters have partly a fragrance character – as for instance benzyl benzoate, ethyl benzoate and methyl benzoate.

Information on safe use

In accordance with the EC Cosmetics Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009), which applies to the entire EU market, preservatives means substances which are exclusively or mainly intended to inhibit the development of microorganisms in the cosmetic product. Annex V of the Regulation defines the substances which may be used as preservatives in cosmetic products. In this so-called positive list of preservatives, maximum concentrations are defined for the use of these substances in cosmetic products as well as the permissible uses. Preservatives are examined in respect of their toxicological safety prior to their approval in Annex V and undergo extensive tests. Manufacturers must prove the health safety in extensive scientific studies.

Belongs to the following substance groups

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