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Cananga Odorata Flower Oil

Also-called-like-this: Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
What-it-does: perfuming

Official CosIng Information


Sweet, exotic and floral, it’ no surprise that Ylang Ylang is a popular essential oil. It is coming from the yellow, fragrant flowers of the Cananga tree native to tropical Asia and, similar to other essential oils, it is a chemically complex mixture with several pros and cons. 

Unfortunately, these are a bit tricky to pin down as the composition varies largely depending on where it is sourced, how the oil is extracted and the grade of it that is used in the product, but we’ll do our best!

Let’s start with the easy stuff.  The main components are fragrant molecules, including super common linalool (1-19%), benzyl benzoate (2-10%) and several others adding up to a max amount of 37.6% of EU sensitizers. The most expensive Extra grade is the most fragrant (has more benzyl acetate and cresyl methyl ether) and is used in high-end perfumes, while the First and Second grades are less fragrant, and used mainly in cosmetics.   

Other than smelling nice and making cosmetic formulas also smell nice, Ylang Ylang might have some antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits and also works as an insect repellent. Its nice smell is also commonly known as being relaxing and calming (also backed up by a few recent studies), but it is an aromatherapy use case (when inhaled) so this probably does not count much skincare-wise. 

On the other hand, the nice smell also means allergen fragrant components and 37.6% of EU sensitizers counts as quite high and the oil is considered to have high skin sensitization potential. It is a good idea to avoid if your skin is sensitive.

Show me some proof

  • Lis-Balchin, Maria. Aromatherapy science: a guide for healthcare professionals. Pharmaceutical press, 2006., p 341-343
  • Contact Dermatitis, Nov 1, 2010, Contact allergy to essential oils: current patch test results (2000–2008) from the Information Network of Departments of Dermatology (IVDK)
  • Flavour and Fragrance Journal, Jul 1, 1998, Antimicrobial and antioxidant properties of some commercial essential oils
  • Zhang, Nan, et al. "Cananga odorata essential oil reverses the anxiety induced by 1-(3-chlorophenyl) piperazine through regulating the MAPK pathway and serotonin system in mice." Journal of ethnopharmacology 219 (2018): 23-30.
  • Tan, Loh Teng Hern, et al. "Traditional uses, phytochemistry, and bioactivities of Cananga odorata (Ylang-Ylang)." Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2015 (2015).
  • Song, Eun Jeong, and Mi Young Lee. "Effects of Aromatherapy on Stress Responses, Autonomic Nervous System Activity and Blood Pressure in the Patients Undergoing Coronary Angiography: A Non-Randomized Controlled Trial." Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing 48.1 (2018): 1-11.

Products with Cananga Odorata Flower Oil

Cocokind Organic Chlorophyll Mask UMA Ultimate Brightening Face Oil Aesop Fabulous Face Oil Antipodes Divine Face Oil Organic Avocado Oil & Rosehip Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Calming Botanical Essence Pixi Rose Caviar Essence ila-spa Body Oil for Inner Peace Odacite Ac+R | Youthful Glow Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins™ Mega-Bright Skin Illuminating Treatment Lotion Pure Anada Repair Luxury Treatment Aesop Amazing Face Cleanser Aromatica Orange Cleansing Sherbet Love beauty and planet Tropical Hydration Shower Gel Coconut Oil & Ylang Ylang L´Occitane Aromachologie Body & Strength Shampoo iUnik Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil iUnik Calendula Complete Cleansing Oil Darphin 8-Flower Nectar Darphin Essential Oil Elixir - 8-Flower Nectar Oil EO Everyone Gentle Face Brightening Cleanser May Lindstrom The Honey Mud Cleansing Silk Origins Clear Improvement™ Active Charcoal Exfoliating Cleansing Powder to Clear Pores Bioelements Equalizer Dermafix Dermaprep Pre-Cleanse Dermalogica Overnight Repair Serum Dirty works Pure Beauty Facial Oil Ella Baché Floral Oil Body Cleanser La Eva Rosēum Wash Make P:rem Sleeping Pack Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins™ Mega-Bright Skin Illuminating Moisturizer SU:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick Tom Ford Makeup Remover doTERRA Pore Reducing Toner Beauty Counter Counter+ No. 3 Balancing Facial Oil Darphin Jasmine Aromatic Care Darphin Jasmine Aromatic Care Dermalogica Pure Light Spf 50 - Powerbright Good Molecules Instant Cleansing Balm Kevin Murphy Motion Lotion Lush Me Time Fresh Face Mask Aesop B & Tea Balancing Toner Aesop Lightweight Facial Hydrating Serum Bakel Cool Wash Purifying Cleansing Gel Herbfarmacy Mallow Beauty Balm Natural Instinct Refreshing Foaming Cleanser Origins Dr. Andrew Weil For Origins Mega-Bright Dark Spot Correcting Serum Tree of Life Beauty Ultimate Age Defying Serum - Nighttime Wildcraft Bergamot Rose Face Cream Ayumi Body Scrub Bohemian skin Gel Cleanser Darphin Niaouli Aromatic Care