Coco-Caprylate/Caprate: What Is It, Skin Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: October 3, 2023
Table of Contents

Reflect on the last time you picked up a cosmetics product, flipped it over, and scanned the small print on its back. Your eyes likely skimmed over a long list of ingredients—some familiar, others comprehensible only to a chemistry major. Trying to decipher these modern hieroglyphics can often leave you perplexed, as if you’ve just tried to decode a secret message from a spy movie.

One such ingredient that might have caught your attention is Coco-Caprylate/Caprate. Yes, its name may sound like a tropical drink you’d order at a beach bar—or perhaps a mysterious code you’d encounter in Scrabble!

This article will cast a spotlight on Coco-Caprylate/Caprate. We’ll explore its origins, delve into its role in the world of skincare and cosmetics, and investigate why it often appears on your favorite product’s list of ingredients.

What is Coco-Caprylate/Caprate?

In cosmetics, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate emerges as a hero of hydration. This ingredient, also known as coco-caprate or Cetiol C5, is a light, ester-based emollient derived from coconuts—hence the ‘Coco’ part of its name. This compound serves a dual purpose in cosmetics as a skin conditioning agent and an emollient. Its direct interface with your skin helps to soften and smooth it while providing a silky touch upon application.

This versatile ingredient, being lighter and drier than other natural oils, leaves no oily residue after being applied to the skin, a feature that is appreciated by end-users across the board.

Furthermore, it enhances the spreadability of a product, ensuring a uniform application. In skincare, it’s typically found as part of a broader product formulation rather than a stand-alone.

Who Can Use Coco-Caprylate/Caprate?

The good news is that Coco-Caprylate/Caprate is incredibly versatile. Its gentle yet effective properties make it suitable for all skin types, ranging from the most sensitive to the more oily and combination skin. This is due primarily to its ability to balance moisture levels without leaving an oily residue or causing skin irritation.

For those committed to a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate is a perfect choice. Given its plant-based origin—derived from coconuts—it aligns with ethical and dietary choices that champion cruelty-free and plant-based ingredients.

As for pregnant or breastfeeding women, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate also poses no immediate concerns; however, it should be noted that there’s not that much research on the topic. As always, it’s a good idea to consult a healthcare provider to discuss any specific concerns or sensitivities while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Coco-Caprylate/Caprate Skin Benefits

Coco-Caprylate/Caprate boasts an array of potential benefits for your skin. Let’s delve into these skin-loving perks and find out why this ingredient is so adored by skincare aficionados and formulators alike:

  • Moisture Balancing: Coco-Caprylate/Caprate is a wizard at moisture management. Its unique structure allows it to form a nearly invisible barrier on the skin’s surface. This works by locking in necessary moisture while keeping excess oil and environmental irritants at bay. It helps prevent transepidermal water loss, an unfortunate skin condition where moisture seeps out of the skin into the surrounding air, leading to dry skin. By mitigating this moisture mishap, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate keeps skin at its optimal hydration equilibrium. The result? Skin that feels comfortably hydrated, supple, and resilient.
  • Smooth and Soft Skin: In the skincare vocabulary, the term ’emollient’ is often synonymous with smooth, soft skin. As an emollient, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate is a master at enhancing skin texture. Picture a cobblestone street, where the stones symbolize skin cells and the spaces between represent dry skin. Coco-Caprylate/Caprate fills these spaces with lipids, turning your cobblestone street into a smooth pavement. The outcome is a visible reduction in fine lines and a noticeable enhancement in skin suppleness and softness.

While these benefits are impressive, it’s important to note that they are not permanent. Consistent and regular usage of products containing Coco-Caprylate/Caprate is necessary for sustained effects.

Coco-Caprylate/Caprate Potential Side Effects

Like any substance, our bodies can respond differently to Coco-Caprylate/Caprate. This variance can be attributed to many factors, including our unique genetic makeup, our individual skin types, and even our overall health and lifestyle. It’s essential to find your skin type as it can influence how your skin interacts with different ingredients.

While Coco-Caprylate/Caprate is generally considered safe, some potential side effects might occur. These could include:

  • Skin Irritation: Although rare, some individuals may experience mild skin irritation, including redness, itchiness, or a feeling of heat. This is more likely to occur in individuals with highly sensitive skin.
  • Allergic Reactions: In sporadic cases, an allergic reaction may occur. Signs of an allergic reaction can include hives, severe redness, or swelling.

If any of these side effects are experienced, it’s essential to stop using the product containing Coco-Caprylate/Caprate and seek medical advice if symptoms persist.

Despite these potential side effects, adverse reactions to Coco-Caprylate/Caprate are rare. For the vast majority, it remains a safe and effective ingredient that delivers tangible benefits for skin health and cosmetic appeal.

Still, no matter how safe an ingredient is deemed, we can’t stress enough the importance of patch-testing new skincare products. This process involves applying a small amount of the product on a discrete area of your skin and monitoring any reactions for at least 24 hours. This precautionary test helps to mitigate the risk of having a full-blown reaction on a larger skin surface. For a comprehensive guide on how to conduct a patch test, you can refer to our patch testing guide.

Comedogenic Rating

On the comedogenic scale, which measures the likelihood of an ingredient clogging pores, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate sits comfortably at a 0/5. This is due to the ingredient’s unique molecular structure.

It has a lighter, dryer texture than other natural oils, meaning it does not block pores or contribute to the build-up that can lead to breakouts. Consequently, it’s a safe option for those prone to acne or breakouts as it helps to maintain balanced moisture levels without contributing to an oil overload.


Charting your path in skincare often involves a blend of experimentation, trial and error, and consistency once you discover what truly resonates with your skin. Coco-Caprylate/Caprate could be one of those ingredients that becomes a staple in your skincare routine, thanks to its ability to condition the skin, improve product application, and provide noticeable skin softening and smoothing effects.

While it may not be the most popular or hyped ingredient on the cosmetics market, it parallels other lightweight emollients and skin conditioners such as Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride. Although it might seem unusual due to its complex name, it’s quite a common ingredient in many skincare formulations.

Regarding its effects, it’s important to remember that skincare is not an overnight journey. While the moisturizing and smoothing effects are generally noticeable upon application, long-term benefits, like improved skin texture, will typically take a few weeks of consistent use to manifest.

If you’re apprehensive about using a product containing Coco-Caprylate/Caprate due to potential side effects, it’s critical to remember that this ingredient is generally well-tolerated. It has a proven track record of safety and efficacy, and the potential benefits to your skin are considerable. However, as with all skincare ingredients, your skin type, sensitivity, and overall skin health significantly determine your unique response.

Tell us how you found this article in just a couple of clicks!
Delivered right to your inbox each week. Zero spam, all goodness, opt-out at anytime.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
How did you find this article?
Tell us how you found this article in just a couple of clicks!
Get all our top headlines in beauty.
Delivered right to your inbox each week. Zero spam, all goodness, opt-out at anytime.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Send good feedback:

All feedback is anonymous and will be used to improve the quality of our articles.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Send bad feedback:

All feedback is anonymous and will be used to improve the quality of our articles.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.