Polyvinyl Acetate

What Is It?

In cosmetics and personal care products, Polyvinyl Acetate is a polymer of vinyl acetate used as a binder, stabilizer and fixative in the formulation of eye makeup preparations, eyeliners and mascara.

Why Is It Used?

Polyvinyl Acetate helps keep emulsions from separating into their oil and water components. It also acts as a binder to hold together the ingredients of a compressed tablet or cake. Binders are ingredients added to compounded dry-powder mixtures of solids to provide adhesive qualities during and after compression to make tablets or cakes. Many lipids, surfactants and polymers can be used as binders.

Scientific Facts

Polyvinyl Acetate is a polymer, which means it is made from individual monomers of vinyl acetate connected in very long chains. Polyvinyl Acetate has a variety of noncosmetic uses, including its use in veterinary medicine, as an adhesive, and in resinous and polymeric coatings in food packaging.

Safety Information

The Food and Drug Administration reviewed the safety of Polyvinyl Acetate and approved its use as both a direct and indirect food additive. The safety of Polyvinyl Acetate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Polyvinyl Acetate was safe as a cosmetic ingredient.

CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel noted that because of the large size of polymer molecules, they do not penetrate the skin, and exposure is therefore very low. Although available data did not completely identify all possible trace materials that may be found in Polyvinyl Acetate, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that the concentrations of arsenic and heavy metals were insignificant and presented no safety concern.

In clinical tests, 50% Polyvinyl Acetate aqueous emulsions produced no reactions, suggesting that any unidentified impurities were both nonirritating and nonsensitizing. Neither mutagenicity nor carcinogenicity data suggested any biological activity of concern for cosmetic use.

FDA: Link to the FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Polyvinyl Acetate

Polyvinyl Acetate may be used in cosmetics marketed in the Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation: 

More Scientific Information

Polyvinyl Acetate is the homopolymer of vinyl acetate, also called ethenyl acetate, used in cosmetics and personal care products as a binder, emulsion stabilizer and hair fixative.


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/