Categories: Emollient, Emulsifier, Cleansing Agent
Glyceryl stearate is a mixture of portions of glycerin and stearic acid. While it’s found naturally in the human body and can be animal-derived, most glyceryl stearate used in cosmetics is plant-derived (such as from olive oil or coconut) or produced synthetically. In its raw form it is a white or cream-colored wax-like solid.
Glyceryl stearate functions as an emollient, surfactant, and emulsifier in skin care products. Its emulsifying properties are highly versatile, making it a valuable and gentle addition to several types of emulsions, such as oil-in-water or water-in-oil, where it helps support the benefits of skin-replenishing ingredients such as ceramides and fatty acids. Its moisturizing properties help skin look and feel softer and smoother. It also forms a barrier on skin, helping prevent water loss. In addition, glyceryl stearate is used as a food additive.
The Cosmetics Ingredient Review Panel has found glyceryl stearate to be safe within its typical usage levels of 1–10%. Studies have also shown it to be non-sensitizing, and plant-derived glyceryl stearate is allowed for use in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe.