1640s, from French émollient (16c.), from Latin emollientem (nominative emolliens), present participle of emollire "soften," from ex- "out" (see ex-) + mollire "soften," from mollis "soft" (see melt (v.)). The noun is recorded from 1650s.
emollient e·mol·lient (ĭ-mŏl'yənt)adj. Softening and soothing, especially to the skin. n. An agent that softens or soothes the skin.