From romantic and relaxing jasmine to the intense sweetness of hyacinth, benzyl alcohol’s presence in these essential oils makes it an aromatic compound in multiple senses of the word. Outside of its natural occurrence in plants and their fragrant derivatives, manufactured benzyl alcohol is also used as a flavor-enhancing solvent, and can be found in wines, liqueurs, baked goods, and even e-cigarette flavoring.
In commercially manufactured cosmetics, benzyl alcohol is frequently utilized as a pH adjuster and as a preservative. It can be found in products for skin care such as eye makeup and cleansers. While we more commonly associate the use of preservatives with food products, they play an important role in extending the shelf life of cosmetics. As a bacteriostatic preservative, benzyl alcohol prevents the growth of bacteria without destroying it, meaning your personal care products won’t become bacterial breeding grounds, but also won’t wipe out any bacterium they come into contact