Benzyl benzoate is a clear colourless compound with a faint balsamic odour found in abundance in Benzoin resin, Balsam Tolu and Peru Balsam. It is present in Beaver Castors, Rosewood and Cinnamon as well as the flowers of Tuberose, Ylang Ylang and Hyacinth.
It acts as a fixative in perfumes and is used extensively as a solvent in the production of resinoids of Labdanum, Myrrh, and Benzoin.
It is used as a topical treatment for scabies and as a solvent/carrier for injecting steroids. It is also used as a repellant for chiggers, ticks and mosquitos.
Benzyl benzoate should be used well-diluted and in moderation, keeping in mind that as with resins, resinoids and compounds in the Benzoin family, excessive use can cause sensitization. Don’t get it in your eyes and remember that it is toxic to cats.
Benzyl Benzoate is one of my secret weapons, my go-to solvent and a very useful trick of the trade I am happy to share.
It makes an excellent intermediary solvent when resins, resinoids, absolutes and other materials are reluctant to blend with oil or alcohol cleanly.
Using a water bath and a little bit of Benzyl Benzoate to pre-dissolve the compound, contributes to a clean dissolution in the carrier of choice with little to no clouding or “dropping” of undissolved material to the bottom of the flask. Wonderfully versatile, Benzyl benzoate dissolves in alcohol, essential oils and most carrier oils.
Having difficulty dissolving Benzoin resin in your oil or alcohol-based product? Dissolve it first in Benzyl Benzoate. That orris root or Tonka bean absolute dropping goop in your blend? Dissolve it first in a little warm Benzyl Benzoate and make the most of every precious aromatic milligram.
I’m sure it will not work on EVERYTHING in your studio, but it does such a great job with so many difficult compounds, you will always want to have some handy just in case.
Whether using a little Benzyl Benzoate in your formulas disqualifies you from stating your products are natural, will be up to each of us to decide. This is an area where there are no absolutes, (especially after you dissolve them in a bit of Benzyl benzoate)…