Stearalkonium Chloride

What Is It?

In cosmetics and personal care products, Stearalkonium Chloride is used in the formulation of a variety of products especially hair care products such as rinses, conditioners, setting lotions and bleaches.

Why Is It Used?

The primary use of Stearalkonium Chloride is as an antistatic ingredient in hair care products. Antistatic agents are ingredients that alter the electrical properties of cosmetic raw materials or of human body surfaces (skin, hair, etc.) by reducing their tendency to acquire an electrical charge thus minimizing “fly away” hair in dry weather.

Scientific Facts

Stearalkonium Chloride is a positively charged salt that attracts and binds proteins, which are negatively charged. This property makes Stearalkonium Chloride a useful ingredient in products intended for use on the hair, whereby it increases luster and improves the feel and wet/dry combing of hair. It is made from stearic acid which is a fatty acid found in plants and animals.

Safety Information

The safety of Stearalkonium Chloride has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Stearalkonium Chloride was safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products. In 2001, as part of the scheduled re-evaluation of ingredients, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on this ingredient and reaffirmed the above conclusion.

CIR Safety Review: Data on two compounds closely related to Stearalkonium Chloride, Cetalkonium and Myristalkonium Chlorides, were included in the report to permit a more complete appraisal of the safety of Stearalkonium Chloride. Single application dermal studies of Stearalkonium Chloride produced minor irritation. Stearalkonium Chloride was an eye irritant at high concentrations while low concentrations were slightly and transiently irritating. A repeated insult patch test with a 1% aqueous solution of Stearalkonium Chloride showed the material to be neither a primary irritant nor a sensitizer. A single 48-hour patch test with challenge two weeks later indicated that 20% Stearalkonium Chloride was not a sensitizer. In the 2001 re-evaluation, new studies, along with the updated information regarding uses and use concentrations, were considered by the CIR Expert Panel.

The CIR Expert Panel determined to not reopen this safety assessment. Stearalkonium Chloride may be used with restrictions in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in the European Union: ” Hair Care, rinse off products: < 3 % - Avoid contact with eyes. " Other products: 0.1 % maximum - Avoid contact with eyes. " If Stearalkonium Chloride is derived from raw materials of animal origin, it must comply with European Union animal by-products regulations.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:…

More Scientific Information

Stearalkonium Chloride is a cationic quaternary ammonium salt used as an antistatic agent in personal care products. Quaternary ammonium compounds (generally referred to as quats) are positively charged tetra-substituted nitrogen derivatives. The quaternary nitrogen atom in these compounds always carries a positive charge regardless of the pH of the system. The positive charge on the quats makes them substantive to the slightly negatively charged skin and hair proteins. This accounts for the use of most monomeric and polymeric quats for all types of hair and skin conditioning purposes and as antistatic agents.


The International Programme on Chemical Safety’s monograph on Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory