What Is It?
Cetyl Esters is a synthetic wax that is moderately translucent white to off-white in color. In cosmetics and personal care products, it is used in a wide variety of product types, including moisturizers, skin care and cleansing products, makeup, hair conditioners and hair dyes.
Why Is It Used?
Cetyl Esters acts as a lubricant on the skin surface, giving it a soft and smooth appearance.
Cetyl Esters is a synthetic wax that has similar composition and chemical properties to a natural wax which is found in the blubber of whales.
The safety of Cetyl Esters has been assessed by the The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) was established in 1976 as an independent safety review program for cosmetic ingredients. The CIR Expert Panel consists of independent experts in dermatology, toxicology, pharmacolgy and veterinary medicine. The CIR includes participation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the Consumer Federation of America. (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Cetyl Esters was safe as used in cosmetics and personal care products.
CIR Safety Review: Cetyl Esters is a synthetic wax composed of a mixture of esters of saturated fatty acids and fatty alcohols with carbon chain lengths between 14 and 18. The esters that are found in Cetyl Esters include cetyl palmitate, cetyl stearate, myristyl myristate, myristyl stearate, cetyl myristate, and stearyl stearate. Safety data on four of these esters (cetyl palmitate, cetyl stearate, myristyl myristate, and myristyl stearate) have previously been reviewed and were summarized in the CIR report.
Overall, the data showed no systemic toxicity, no sensitization or photosensitization, and little irritation. Because of the structural similarity of cetyl myristate and stearyl stearate to these four ingredients, it is expected that they would behave in a similarly nontoxic manner. If made from plants, Cetyl Esters may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the Under the general provisions of the cosmetics regulation of the EU, ingredients appearing on the following function-specific annexes must comply with the listed restrictions and/or specifications: colorants (Annex IV), preservatives (Annex V), UV filters (Annex VI) and other ingredients with specific concentration limits and/or other restrictions (Annex III). Ingredients specifically prohibited from use in cosmetic products are listed in Annex II. Other ingredients listed in the EU cosmetic ingredient database (CosIng) may be used without restrictions.. If components of Cetyl Esters are made from animal sources, they must must comply with the European Union animal by-products regulations.
Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:
More Scientific Information
Cetyl Esters is a mixture of the following esters of saturated fatty acids and fatty alcohols: cetyl palmitate, cetyl stearate, myristyl myristate, myristyl stearate, cetyl myristate, and stearyl stearate. It is used as a skin conditioning agent -emollient in cosmetics and personal care products. Emollients are cosmetic ingredients which help to maintain the soft, smooth, and pliable appearance of skin. Emollients function by their ability to remain on the skin surface or in the stratum corneum to act as lubricants, to reduce flaking, and to improve the skin’s appearance.
Search the Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm
EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/