Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General Phenoxyethanol smell

  • Phenoxyethanol smell

    Posted by Margaret on December 19, 2022 at 12:01 am

    The preservative, phenoxyethanol, is supposed to smell like roses, from what I’ve read.

    To MY nose, it DOES NOT.
    Does anyone else also NOT smell any rose fragrance in phenoxyethanol?

    I’m wondering if it’s just my personal sense of smell(?).

    I have bought it from Lotion Crafter (U.S) and also from Voyageur Soap & Candle (Canada).  Neither had any rosy fragrance to MY nose. 

    My sense of smell is otherwise normal.

    PhilGeis replied 1 year, 7 months ago 7 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • Graillotion

    December 19, 2022 at 12:08 am

    NOT phenoxy…. phenethyl!!!

    LC does not sell phenethyl alcohol. @Margaret

  • Graillotion

    December 19, 2022 at 12:11 am

    Use this link:

    Perfumers Apprentice - Phenyl Ethyl Alcohol

    And the scent out of bottle…will knock you down…with rose. :) @Margaret

    When you smell a rose…you are smelling phenethyl alcohol.

    Rose absolute…is made of phenethyl alcohol….see partial GCMS:

  • Paprik

    December 19, 2022 at 1:25 am

    @Margaret, you are right. It should have a rose-y aroma. 

    I must say, when I bought my first one (Euxyl PE 9010) it did smell “rosy/floral” quite a lot.
    And I was not happy about it. I stopped using it. .
    After some time I decided to give it another try and to my surprise it did smell pretty much like nothing. Maybe a tiny little hint of a floral tones, but nothing I could recognize in a formula. So I guess it might be the batch and/or supplier. 

  • Abdullah

    December 19, 2022 at 2:08 am

    My phenoxyethanol doesn’t smell like rose too.

  • PhilGeis

    December 19, 2022 at 2:44 pm

    As Graillotion said, phenylethyl alcohol has more of a rose smell.

  • MarkBroussard

    December 19, 2022 at 3:28 pm


    I’ve seen write-ups describing the smell of Phenxoyethanol as “rose” … I have never used Phenoxyethanol that had any clearly distinct floral scent.  Lots of misinformation on the internet.

    Phenethyl Alcohol and Phenylpropanol both have a distinct rose scent.

  • PhilGeis

    December 19, 2022 at 3:49 pm

    Mark - I think the commercial name  “Rose ether” some suppliers attach to phenoxyethanol may be the source of olfactory expectation.

    Maybe my memory is flawed, but seems the term was used in the 80’s by the old Emery Chemicals to describe phenylethyl not phenoxyethyl

  • justaerin

    December 19, 2022 at 6:09 pm
    Some people notice it more than others. I find that it is more obvious at dilution than straight from the bottle. Phenoxyethanol is vaguely but persistantly rose-floral to me to the point that I only use Phenonip or PE 9010 in things I make for other people.
    Phenylethyl alcohol smells far more rosy, but, for lack of a better description, in a clearer, lighter way.
  • PhilGeis

    December 19, 2022 at 7:42 pm

    How do phenonip and PE 9010 mitigate perceived odor of their phenoxy component?

  • justaerin

    December 19, 2022 at 9:08 pm
    @PhilGeis They don’t? They smell like phenoxyethenol to me, and the products in which I have used them end up having that phenoxyethanol-floral smell. I’ve noticed it in fragrance free commercial products as well.
    I’m strictly a home hobby level maker and I don’t sell what make, though I do give some of it away to family and friends. I typically use formaldehyde releasers and parabens and EDTA, but occasionally need something less heat sensitive than DMDM hydantoin or Germaben II.
  • PhilGeis

    December 19, 2022 at 9:47 pm

    ok - I see. My error, sorry.

    btw - good for the systems you use.

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