Synergistic interactions between constituents of essential oils have been reported for several areas of research. In the present study, mechanisms that could explain the synergistic action of the two major insecticidal constituents of rosemary oil, 1,8-cineole and camphor against the cabbage looper, Trichoplusia ni were investigated. 1,8-Cineole was more toxic than camphor when applied topically to larvae, and when coadministered in their ratio naturally occurring in rosemary oil, the binary mixture was synergistic. However, when injected directly into larvae, camphor was more toxic than 1,8-cineole. GC-MS analyses showed that penetration of topically-applied camphor was significantly enhanced when it was mixed with 1,8-cineole in the natural ratio. A bioassay combining injection and topical application methods confirmed the increased penetration of both compounds when mixed, showing the same bioactivity as seen for higher amounts applied individually. Lowered surface tension as well as increased solubility of camphor by 1,8-cineole, along with the interaction between 1,8-cineole and the lipid layer of the insect’s cuticle may explain the enhanced penetration of camphor. Because of the similarities in biological function of animal and microbial membranes, our finding has potential for application in other fields of study.