An emollient derived from petroleum with high spreadability. It is often used as a replacement for oils and silicones because it leaves no residue behind on the skin. When a product is labeled as “oil-free” it may contain isododecane instead of heavier oils.


Isododecane is a clear, colorless liquid that is derived from petroleum. This ingredient has a very low viscosity, as well as a low density, and when these traits are combined with its high volatility, the result is an emollient with high spreadability.

In addition, isododecane leaves behind no residue on the skin, which makes it popular for use as an alternative to silicones. This hydrocarbon, or a molecule made solely of carbon and hydrogen atoms, is soluble in a variety of materials, including oils, mineral spirits and silicones.

In fact, isododecane is commonly used as a solvent due to its low polarity, which means it is very oil-loving. As a result, it is capable of dissolving most oil-based solids and liquids, and this makes those ingredients easier to incorporate into skincare products. Specifically, isododecane is excellent for incorporating fragrance oils into products, due to their good compatibility.

This ingredient is also often used as a replacement for oils in emulsions. When a skincare product is labeled as “oil-free,” it may contain isododecane as an alternative to heavier oils, such as jojoba oil or grape seed oil.