Glyceryl Behenate: What Is It, Skin Benefits, Cosmetic Uses & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: August 15, 2023
Table of Contents

It’s a sentiment many of us can relate to—you’re standing in the skincare aisle, staring at a product’s packaging, and your eyes glaze over the ingredients list. The tiny print is filled with words that look like they’ve been plucked from an advanced chemistry textbook. You can’t help but feel overwhelmed, trying to decipher what these complex words mean for your skin and overall beauty routine.

Among these scientific terminologies, you may have stumbled upon Glyceryl Behenate. The name itself might seem like a tongue-twister, almost as if it’s primed to compete in the spelling bee championships or ready to star in the next science fiction movie.

However, beyond its complex moniker, Glyceryl Behenate is a key player in the formulation of many cosmetic products. Throughout this article, we’ll be taking a comprehensive journey into this ingredient, scrutinizing its properties, benefits, and uses within the realm of cosmetics.

What is Glyceryl Behenate?

Glyceryl Behenate, also known as Docosanoic acid, monoester with glycerol, is a versatile cosmetic ingredient, playing many roles within a single formula. This unique substance is an ester of behenic acid and glycerin, often recognized for its emollient properties.

In terms of its functionality, Glyceryl Behenate serves as a skin conditioning agent, an emollient, and a surfactant that promotes emulsification. Simply put, this ingredient helps to soften the skin, improving its feel and texture while enabling the mixture of otherwise unmixable ingredients, like oil and water in formulations.

It is not commonly sold as a standalone, but rather, is typically part of a formulation. The concentration of Glyceryl Behenate in a product can vary significantly depending on the type of cosmetic. For instance, it can be found in high concentrations in lipsticks due to its excellent structure-giving properties, while in skincare products, it’s usually present at a much lower percentage to condition the skin.

Who Can Use Glyceryl Behenate?

Glyceryl Behenate is highly versatile and suitable for a broad spectrum of skin types, from dry to oily, and everything in-between. Thanks to its skin conditioning properties, it can help maintain the skin’s hydration, making it beneficial for those with dry and dehydrated skin.

If you’re vegan or vegetarian, there’s good news — Glyceryl Behenate is entirely plant-derived, often landed from sources like rapeseed oil, making it a cruelty-free and vegan-friendly ingredient.

As for pregnant or breastfeeding women, there are currently no indications that Glyceryl Behenate should be avoided. However, as always, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist if you have any concerns. It’s worth noting that each individual’s skin can react differently to ingredients, hence taking professional advice is always beneficial.

Glyceryl Behenate Skin Benefits

Let’s delve into the benefits that make Glyceryl Behenate a notable ingredient in the cosmetic world. These benefits derive directly from its official functions as listed by CosIng, and they include:

  • Skin Conditioning: Glyceryl Behenate has a unique ability to enhance the appearance, feel, and suppleness of the skin. It helps to maintain the skin’s hydration level, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. This is due to its humectant properties, meaning it can draw moisture from the environment and hold it within the skin, thereby preventing dryness and flakiness.
  • Emollient: As an emollient, Glyceryl Behenate not only softens and soothes the skin, but it also forms a protective layer on the skin’s surface. This barrier helps to lock in moisture and protects the skin from environmental stressors, such as pollution and harsh weather. Moreover, this silky, protective layer provides a smoother surface for makeup application, creating a flawless finish.

As beneficial as Glyceryl Behenate is to the skin, it’s important to note that these effects are not permanent. To continue reaping the benefits, sustained use of products containing Glyceryl Behenate is recommended.

Glyceryl Behenate’s Non-Active Cosmetic Uses

Glyceryl Behenate, while providing excellent skin benefits, also shines in the non-active realm:

  • Emulsifying Agent: Glyceryl Behenate is an effective surfactant, meaning it can help disparate ingredients blend together. Think of your cosmetics as a big family reunion: oil- and water-based ingredients are like distant relatives who, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t mix. That’s where Glyceryl Behenate steps in. By reducing the surface tension between these ingredients, it allows them to blend seamlessly. This ensures a stable, homogeneous product that won’t separate over time. This emulsifying property makes Glyceryl Behenate an essential tool in crafting a vast array of cosmetics, contributing to their overall effectiveness and aesthetic appeal.

While you might not see Glyceryl Behenate featuring as the star ingredient in your skincare arsenal, remember that it plays an invaluable backstage role, ensuring the harmony and stability of your beloved beauty products.

Glyceryl Behenate Potential Side Effects

Let’s start by acknowledging a fundamental truth about skincare: reactions and side effects can vary significantly from person to person. This is primarily because our skins are as unique as our fingerprints. Factors such as our genetics, lifestyle habits, and the environment we live in influence our skin’s behavior and its response to different ingredients. Understanding and identifying your specific skin type can help predict how your skin might react to certain ingredients.

As for Glyceryl Behenate, despite its general safety, potential side effects may include:

  • Allergic Reaction: While rare, some individuals may have an allergy to the ingredient, resulting in redness, itching, or a rash.
  • Irritation: Again, this is unlikely, but in some cases, Glyceryl Behenate may cause slight irritation, especially for those with extremely sensitive skin.

If you experience any of these side effects, it’s advisable to stop using the product immediately and consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional for further advice. Remember—your safety and comfort always take precedence.

However, it’s important to underscore that adverse reactions to Glyceryl Behenate are rare. As an ingredient, it is generally considered safe, effective, and well-tolerated by most skin types.

Finally, when incorporating new products into your skincare regimen, the importance of patch testing cannot be overstated. It’s a simple and effective way to predict how your skin may react to a new product or ingredient. For a step-by-step guide on this crucial process, feel free to refer to our detailed patch testing guide.

Comedogenic Rating

When considering the comedogenic rating of Glyceryl Behenate, it falls within the 0-1 range. This means it’s unlikely to clog pores. It earns such a low rating due to its unique molecular structure. As an ester of behenic acid and glycerin, it has a larger size, which inhibits it from easily penetrating and congesting the pores, hence its non-comedogenic nature.

Consequently, Glyceryl Behenate is suitable for those who are prone to acne and breakouts. Its moisturizing capabilities can help balance the skin’s sebum production without the risk of pore-clogging, to aid in maintaining clear and blemish-free skin.


The journey to optimal skincare is often a path of exploration, experimentation, and understanding. Glyceryl Behenate, with its dual role, exemplifies this beautifully. It offers immediate tangible benefits to the skin, acting as a superb skin conditioner and emollient, while also serving non-active functions like ensuring the stability and homogeneity of your skincare products.

Opting for products containing Glyceryl Behenate can be a wise choice, considering its ability to nourish, soften, protect, and improve the skin’s texture. It’s also worth noting that its comedogenic rating makes it suitable for different skin types, including those prone to breakouts.

While Glyceryl Behenate might not be the superstar ingredient taking center stage in skincare conversations, it certainly earns its spot in the lineup. Its subtle, understated nature shouldn’t be mistaken for insignificance—instead, its contribution to the world of cosmetics deserves more recognition.

In terms of results, like most skincare ingredients, Glyceryl Behenate doesn’t offer an overnight miracle. Consistent application over several weeks is typically required to see visible improvements in the skin’s condition. Remember, skincare is a long game, and patience is key when introducing new products or ingredients into your routine.

If you’re harboring concerns about the use of Glyceryl Behenate, rest assured—it’s well-tolerated by a range of skin types, and it’s not known for causing irritation or sensitivity. Its low comedogenic rating also means it’s unlikely to provoke breakouts or acne, making it a reliable and versatile ingredient to incorporate into your beauty regimen.

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