What Is It?
Glycol Stearate, Glycol Stearate SE, and Glycol Distearate are white to cream-colored waxy solids. All three ingredients are mixtures of mono- and diesters of ethylene glycol and stearic acid. Glycol Stearate and Glycol Sterate SE are predominantly the monoester, while Glycol Distearate is predominantly the diester. Glycol Stearate SE is a self-emulsifying grade of Glycol Stearate that contains some sodium and/or potassium stearate. In cosmetics and personal care products, Glycol Stearate, Glycol Stearate SE, and Glycol Distearte may be used to formulate a wide varitey of products including bubble baths, makeup, as well as hair, skin and nail care products.
Why Is It Used?
The following functions have been reported for Glycol Stearate, Glycol Stearate SE and Glycol Distearate.
- Ingredients that help to keep an emulsion from separating into its oil and liquid components. – Glycol Stearate
- Substances that reduce the clear or transparent appearance of cosmetic products. Some opacifying agents are used in skin make-up for hiding blemishes. – Glycol Stearate, Glycol Distearate
- Skin conditioning agent – emollient – Glycol Stearate
- Skin conditioning agent – occulsive – Glycol Distearate
- An ingredient that helps two substances that normally do not mix to become dissolved or dispersed in one another. Also called a surface active agent. – emulsifying agent – Glycol Stearate SE
- Viscosity increasing agent – nonaqueous – Glycol Distearate
The Glycol Stearate ingredients consist of mixtures of the mono- and diesters of ethylene glycol and triple-pressed stearic acid. Stearic acid is a common A natural organic compound that consists of a carboxyl group (oxygen, carbon and hydrogen) attached to a chain of carbon atoms with their associated hydrogen atoms. The chain of carbon atoms may be connected with single bonds, making a ‘saturated’ fat; or it may contain some double bonds, making an ‘unsaturated’ fat. The number of carbon and hydrogen atoms in the chain is what determines the qualities of that particular fatty acid. Animal and vegetable fats are made up of various combinations of fatty acids (in sets of three) connected to a glycerol molecule, making them triglycerides..
The safety of Glycol Stearate, Glycol Stearate SE and Glycol Distearate 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 Glycol Stearate, Glycol Stearate SE, and Glycol Distearate were safe as cosmetic ingredients in the present practices of use and concentration. In 2001, as part of the scheduled re-evaluation of ingredients, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on Glycol Stearate, Glycol Stearate SE and Glycol Distearate and reaffirmed the above conclusion.
CIR Safety Review: Studies of acute oral toxicity, skin and eye irritation and sensitization show that Glycol Stearate has low acute toxicity. A repeated insult patch test with 50% Glycol Distearate presented no evidence of skin irritation or hypersensitivity.
Human studies using formulations containing Glycol Stearate reported no skin irritation or sensitization. When made from plants, Glycol Stearate, Glycol Stearate SE, and Glycol Distearate 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.. Ingredients of animal origin must comply with the European animal by-products regulations.
Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:
More Scientific Information
Although predominantly stearic acid, the Glycol Stearate ingredients may contain esters of other fatty acids such as palmitic acid. In cosmetics and personal care products, the Glycol Stearate ingredients may function as A mixture of two liquids that normally cannot be mixed, in which one liquid is dispersed in the other liquid as very fine droplets. Emulsifying agents are often used to help form the emulsion and stabilizing agents are used to keep the resulting emulsion from separating. The most common emulsions are oil-in-water emulsions (where oil droplets are dispersed in water) and water-in-oil emulsions (where water droplets are dispersed in oil). stabilizers; opacifying agents; skin conditioning agents – emollient; skin conditioning agents – occulsive; surfactants – emulsifying agent; or nonaqueous.
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/