Polyethylene Terephthalate

What Is It?

Polyethylene Terephthalate occurs both as a transparent material and as a white, semi-crystalline material. In cosmetics and personal care products, Polyethylene Terephthalate is used in the formulation of foundations, leg and body paints, nail polish and enamels, and hair coloring products.

Why Is It Used?

Polyethylene Terephthalate unites or bonds surfaces together and increases the thickness of the lipid (oil) portion of cosmetics and personal care products. Polyethylene Terephthalate also dries to form a thin coating on the skin, hair or nails and helps hair hold its style by inhibiting the hair’s ability to absorb moisture.

Scientific Facts

Polyethylene Terephthalate is a resin used as a raw material in man-made fibers, such as polyester and food and beverage containers.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed the safety of Polyethylene Terephthalate and approved its use as an indirect food additive as a component of polymers having incidental contact with food.

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Polyethylene Terephthalate polymers

Polyethylene Terephthalate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation: 

More Scientific Information

Polyethylene Terephthalate is an organic compound produced from terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. In cosmetics and personal care products, Polyethylene Terephthalate functions as an adhesive, film former, hair fixative, and viscosity increasing agent – nonaqueous.


Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration

Food Ingredients and Packaging: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/default.htm

Food Contact Substances: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/PackagingFCS/defaul…

Substances Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS): http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/GRAS/default.htm

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/