INCI: C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
Alkyl Esters is known as the silkiest of all the esters used in hair and body care products. People use it as a silicone replacement, it decreases the 'tacky' feeling to almost any emulsion, is non-comedogenic, and can be used to help condition the skin in oil-free products.
According to online information, Esters are the results of replacing the hydrogen of an acid by an "alkyl" or other group. A variety of naturally occurring fats and essential oils (triglycerides) are fatty acid esters of glycerol.
Alkyl Esters — like what you can order at ingredientstodiefor.com — is a liquid, oil-soluble emollient used to give a silky smooth after-feel to your products. Not only does it help improve the feel of the product, it helps reduce the 'greasy' feeling of products with a high percentage of oil in them.
Because its oil-soluble, I add this to my whipped butters to ensure they are as smooth as possible.
USAGE RATE: 2 – 20%
Add to your OIL phase
There are no pH restrictions when using it
Most formulators tend to use it to reduce that dreadful 'soaping' effect when you rub a product on your skin. 'Soaping effect' is just a way to describe what happens when you rub a product on your skin or hair and the product turns white for an extended period of time. Alkyl esters helps to lessen that.
Alkyl esters can be used to make detanglers and 'glossing' products for the hair. Its also said to be a great substitute for oil when you're making a moisturizer for acne-prone skin.
Another little perk to using Alkyl Esters is that it helps your fragrances linger longer in your diy skin and hair products. I've never tested this with a stop watch or anything, though. LOL! I can say, however, that after I made an oil mix for my skin using this, I could definitely still smell the fragrance on my skin.
If that weren't enough, Alkyl Esters can be used to 'solubilize' difficult ingredients. A 'solubilizer' is an ingredient which makes it easier for OTHER ingredients to mix with the whole emulsion. Salicylic acid can be difficult to fully incorporate into a product. Using alkyl esters can help it mix fully with the other ingredients in your mix.
Solubility: Its kinda like when I use NatureSilk (a water-soluble solubilizer) to incorporate Guar Gum into my mixes without it turning clumpy. Alkyl Esters is an oil-soluble solubilizer.
The Alkyl Esters I get from ingredientstodiefor.com is a clear liquid with a 2 year shelf-life (when protected from freezing and extreme heat)
So when you need a low-cost additive to improve the feel of your products without adding silicones, give it a try!