All Topics
What is "1,2-hexanediol" and what is its purpose?

What is "1,2-hexanediol" and what is its purpose?

1,2-Hexanediol is an alcohol that belongs to the diol or glycol family. This organic chemical ingredient contains two hydroxyl groups (-OH) and six carbon atoms. It functions both as a solvent and a cosurfactant, enhancing the effectiveness of surfactants. These can act as foaming agents, emulsifiers, detergents, dispersants, and wetting agents in a variety of skincare products. Let's delve into the utility of 1,2-Hexanediol.

Everything you need to know about 1,2-Hexanediol.

The 1,2-hexanediol is a colourless substance. Frequently used in skincare, it maintains the health of the skin. Moreover, it assists in the dissolution of other substances. Just like pentylene glycol and caprylyl glycol, 1,2-hexanediol is a 1,2-glycol ingredient. All soluble in water, these molecules differ by the number of carbons on the carbon chain:

  • The 1,2-hexanediol consists of 6 carbon atoms in its chain ;

  • The pentylene glycol has 5 carbon atoms;

  • Caprylyl glycol consists of 8 carbon atoms.

The KMO-6 is a 1,2-hexanediol that can be used in skincare formulations. It can serve as a substitute for traditional preservatives.

The 1,2-hexanediol is composed of alpha-lipoic acids, chrysin, bioflavonoid, diosgenin, glucosamine hydrochloride, and indole-3-carbinol.

The Utility of 1,2-Hexanediol in Cosmetics.

The 1,2-hexanediol is an agent:

  • Emollient: It serves to relax and soften the skin. Emollient treatments are suitable for dry or atopic-prone skin;

  • Humectant: It has the ability to attract and retain water in the epidermis due to its hygroscopic properties. Thus, it provides long-lasting hydration to the skin;

  • Solvent: It serves to stabilise fragrances in aqueous textured skincare products. As a solvent, 1,2-hexanediol has the ability to dissolve ingredients (such as pigments and botanical extracts). This ensures an even distribution of each ingredient within the formulation. However, the presence of 1,2-hexanediol in a skincare product also affects its texture. This ingredient also allows the incorporation of fragrances and silicones into skincare products, ensuring their stabilisation.

Thus, 1,2-hexanediol is a multifunctional ingredient, commonly used in skincare as a humectant, emollient and as a moisturising agent. Furthermore, it allows preservatives to easily eliminate microbes. 1,2-hexanediol is therefore present in deodorants, baby care products, hair care products, cleansing care products and make-up.

1,2-Hexanediol: What are the risks?

Although it is considered non-sensitising, 1,2-hexanediol can cause irritations, particularly dermatitis around the eyes. To reduce the risk of irritation, it is better to use it in small quantities.

In conclusion, due to its hygroscopic properties, 1,2-hexanediol acts as a humectant, deeply hydrating the skin. Furthermore, it restores its suppleness thanks to its emollient virtues. 1,2-hexanediol can be used alone or combined with other ingredients to act as a preservative or to enhance the effectiveness of preservatives.


Understand your skin
and its complex needs.