Hexyl laurate is a mixture of hexyl alcohol (an organic alcohol with a 6-carbon chain) and lauric acid (a saturated fatty acid with a 12-carbon atom chain). In cosmetics and personal care products, hexyl laurate functions as an emollient, solvent, and viscosity controlling agent.
As an emollient, hexyl laurate is able to soften and soothe the skin upon topical application, which is why it is often used in creams and lotions. Hexyl laurate also functions as a solvent by helping other ingredients dissolve into a solution. Additionally, solvents can increase the efficacy of active ingredients in a formulation by enhancing their absorption through the skin. Hexyl laurate has a fruity flavor, which is why it is often used in lip products.