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Glyceryl Stearate

What is it?

Glyceryl Stearate and Glyceryl Stearate SE are esterification products of glycerin and stearic acid. Glyceryl Stearate is a white or cream-colored wax-like solid. Glyceryl Stearate SE is a “Self-Emulsifying” form of Glyceryl Stearate that also contains a small amount of sodium and or potassium stearate. In cosmetics and personal care products, Glyceryl Stearate is widely used and can be found in lotions, creams, powders, skin cleansing products, makeup bases and foundations, mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner, hair conditioners and rinses, and suntan and sunscreen products.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes Glyceryl Stearate (also called glyceryl monostearate) in its list of direct food additives affirmed as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).

The safety of Glyceryl Stearate and Glyceryl Stearate SE has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Glyceryl Stearate and Glyceryl Stearate SE were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.
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Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?

Glyceryl Stearate acts as a lubricant on the skin’s surface, which gives the skin a soft and smooth appearance. It also slows the loss of water from the skin by forming a barrier on the skin’s surface. Glyceryl Stearate, and Glyceryl Stearate SE help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified.

Scientific facts:

Glyceryl Stearate is made by reacting glycerin with stearic acid, a fatty acid obtained from animal and vegetable fats and oils.

Glyceryl Stearate SE is produced by reacting an excess of stearic acid with glycerin. The excess stearic acid is then reacted with potassium and/or sodium hydroxide yielding a product that contains Glyceryl Stearate as well as potassium stearate and/or sodium stearate.

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