Know Your Ingredients: Glyceryl Stearate

by beautifulwithbrains

glyceryl stearate

What it is
Glyceryl Stearate (also called Glyceryl Monostearate) is a white or cream-coloured solid made from glycerin and stearic acid (a fatty acid obtained from animal and vegetable fats and oils).

What it does
Glyceryl Stearate is an emollient that softens and moisturizes skin and hair.
In addition, Glyceryl Stearate is used as a thickening agent.

Side effects
Glyceryl Stearate is a very mild irritant and can cause allergic reactions.

(Source: paulaschoice.com)

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32 comments

Dao October 4, 2009 - 6:37 pm

This ingredient is so common that I did not bother to look it up. My instinct told me it’s a moisturizer and I’m glad it’s correct.
.-= Dao´s last blog ..Beauty Literotica: The DERMAdoctor Skinstruction Manual by Dr. Audrey Kunin =-.

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beautifulwithbrains October 5, 2009 - 12:45 pm

Dao, sometimes the most common ingredients are the most overlooked too, but it’s still useful to know what they’re doing. I’m glad you were right about it too 🙂

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Colin July 5, 2011 - 9:59 am

Glyceryl stearate is really just an emulsifer. It doesn’t really do much of any of the other things you are suggesting here. It is also very very unlikely to cause much in the way of allergic reactions at the levels it is normally used at.

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beautifulwithbrains July 6, 2011 - 8:51 am

Colin, thanks for your comment. The Cosmetics Cop and Cosmeticsinfo.org state that Glyceryl Stearate is also an emollient, skin lubricant and thickener so that’s why I included those functions in the post. I guess it’s used mainly as an emulsifier and just sometimes for other reasons, then.

I agree with you that there really isn’t much chance of it causing a negative reaction but I thought I would point that out for people whose skin is very sensitive and gets irritated easily.

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Johanna September 14, 2013 - 10:18 pm

That happened to me. I used a product containing glyceral stearate 3 times on my hands. I developed redness and itching. It took 4 days of a 1% steroid cream to alleviate the problem.

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beautifulwithbrains September 15, 2013 - 5:36 am

Johanna, that’s awful! I’m sorry you had a negative reaction to it.

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Tammy L. Buffington October 7, 2019 - 9:04 pm

That happened to me. I ended up narrowing it down to Glyceral Stearate SE that was causing an allergic reaction on my face. The one product from the same company had it and the other product did not have it. Once I washed my face with the product that did not contain the Glyceral Stearate SE, the redness and itchiness went away. I’m just glad I was able to figure it out!!🎉🎉🎉

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Beti June 7, 2012 - 5:52 pm

Beautifulwithbrains, than you for covering all the basis. I am one of those with sensitive skin and a ‘natural’ deodorant product I’m using works good, but it irritates my skin. It could be any of the ingredients but Glyceryl Sterate was the first one I investigated.

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beautifulwithbrains June 7, 2012 - 6:25 pm

Beti, you’re welcome. I’m sorry the deodorant you’re using is irritating your skin. I hope you can figure out what the culprit is.

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Erika May 26, 2014 - 4:42 am

I just want to ask, Can this be used to make Candles? Thanks, Erika

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Gio May 28, 2014 - 8:40 pm

Erika, frankly I don’t know what the best ingredients for making candles are because I never made them myself. I don’t think I have ever seen this one in any candles though.

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Terrie Smith January 9, 2017 - 11:21 pm

I used to make all natural candles full time as my own business, and this is not a product I would use mainly because I don’t see a reason to use this compound, but also because I don’t know enough about how stable it is to heating and cooling, how safe it is to work with in different stages of liquid and solid, nor if it is safe to breath in as your candle burns (which is a big concern for me for the customers safety). Plus it is my understanding that there are no regulations on what is put into glyceryl stearate, so there isn’t a way to know what is in one batch vs. the next batch or the 5th batch, etc.

There are amazing all natural waxes that will work wonderfully for your candle making love. Beeswax, GMO/pesticide free Soy Wax, Palm Wax, and Coconut Wax are the four main candle waxes that I use. For a desired look, creative idea, or desired low to high melting points, I use the natural waxes in percentage combination for what I want to do. Enjoy your natural candle making!!!

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Gio January 16, 2017 - 3:03 pm

Terrie, thanks for your comment. I don’t think it’s a dangerous compound, but if the other alternatives work well for you, why change?

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Marci August 21, 2014 - 3:34 pm

I am glad to find this. It is in a deodorant I am trying. It also has Alcloxa. I am trying to find information on that. Do you have any?

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Gio August 23, 2014 - 12:39 pm

Marci, glad you find this post helpful. Alcloxa is used to induce a tightening or tingling sensation of the skin, but can cause irritation in some people, especially those with sensitive skin.

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Marci August 21, 2014 - 3:34 pm

Do you know of a safe deodorant? I have tried the natural ones with baking soda, but they make me break out.

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Gio August 23, 2014 - 12:44 pm Reply
Tad December 19, 2014 - 7:28 am

A skin cream I was using to mosturize my skin recently added glyceryl stearate to the ingredients list. I didn’t even know that they had added it until I went to purchase a refill since I was getting low. Well once I switched to the new jar that had glycerol stearate in it, my skin started breaking out. Itching, hives, and puffy redness. Luckily I was able to find some existing stock of the older product that didn’t have the glycerol stearate in it and I bought all of it. When i went back to using the product without the glycerol stearate all the symtoms went away. Then one day after cleaning and organizing my house, I accidentally dipped in to the jar of the newer product that I had set aside, the stuff that has the glycerol stearate in it, and sure enough, within an hour hives, redness, and puffyness everywhere that I applied the cream. Needless to say I threw that jar away the very same day haha. From now on though I’m definitely checking ingredients lists for this stuff. My skin can’t tolerate it.

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Gio December 20, 2014 - 3:08 pm

Tad, thank you for sharing your experience with us. I’m sorry your skin reacts so badly to it.

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Silvia February 10, 2016 - 8:06 pm

Hi! I know this is an old post. But I came across it doing some research on this ingredient. I have two products that caused red, itchy, bumps. One, on my face 🙁 and the other on my arm. I looked and both have this ingredient in common. The first product was the Cetaphil lotion for Eczema and the second is Silicone Glove from Avon. In addition to the Glyceryl Stearate, they both also contained: Cetyl Alcohol and Disodium EDTA. I don’t know if it’s just the Glyceryl Stearate or a combination of all of them….as of today I’m stopping both. But just thought I’d share.

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Gio February 10, 2016 - 10:02 pm

Silvia, thank you for sharing our experience. I’m sorry both products caused such a bad reaction. But , I agree. Until you know for sure what the culprit is, it’s best to avoid both.

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FAITHLARGE April 25, 2016 - 4:20 pm

Hello. Thanks for the info. Have been using Francoise Bedon Royal Lightening Lotion for two years. All these years I ve been having red patches on my skin, sometimes I find the redness on my waist where the waist band of my trouser sits. Sometimes on my neck and so in. But it disappears after minutes or hours. Also, my skin is itchy. It comes and goes. My skin can be itchy for straight one week, then I won’t feel it again for like a month, then it returns again. Even as am typing this, my skin is itching. So today I decided to look up the ingredients on the lotion am using, and found it contained glyceryl stearate. Thanks for the info

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Gio June 17, 2016 - 12:01 am

Faithlarge, I’m sorry to hear about your problem, must be very annoying. I hope this post has helped you find the culprit.

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SP May 30, 2016 - 2:02 am

Hi, As far as you know, is there anything indicating that Glyceryl Stearate is of any health concern for those who don’t have skin irritation?

I have recently learned about many ingredients in my skin care that are not very good for my body. In recent years, despite being in my 30’s, I’ve developed random health conditions, mostly GI and endocrine related – none of them are so serious that I can’t live a pretty normal life, but my friends say I live in a bit of a bubble….nothing is ‘terrible” is wrong but at the same time, nothing is quite normal either. Although my skin is not sensitive at all – in fact my friends often compliment my complexion. A friend suggested I look in to my skin care. I noticed Glyceryl Stearate is the only ingredient that I can’t find a definitive answer on (though I did realize quite a few of my favorites had some pretty nasty things in them). Have you seen anything to suggest Glyceryl Stearate is harmful in any way to any organ system?

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Gio May 30, 2016 - 9:36 pm

SP, I’m sorry to hear about your condition. It must be very frustrating. But, at least, this is an ingredient you don’t need to worry about. As far as I know, it’s harmless to those who aren’t allergic to it.

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William Hough August 13, 2017 - 4:04 pm

I want to use Eucerin on my toes as they are dry and there is a thicken on the edge of my big toes. Two ingredients – Glyceryl Stearate and PEG-40 Stearate – are listed and I am wondering if these are classified as steriods? I have an early stage of prostate cancer I want to avoid any steriod as that can potentially exacerbate the problem.

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Kim Atkins June 1, 2018 - 6:55 am

I really enjoy reading your comments to the different questions and comments. You have a very calm way of addressing everyone, and I commend you! Thank you for Being!

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Gio June 2, 2018 - 3:01 pm

Kim, thanks for your kind words. You make me blush. 🙂

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Meddy July 3, 2018 - 6:10 pm

Hiya…please are they any effects of using a HAIR product with glyceryl monosterate?

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Gio July 5, 2018 - 8:12 pm

Meddy, glyceryl monosterate is an emulsifier: it helps water mix with oils. Unless you’re allergic to it, it won’t cause any side effects.

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Milky May 5, 2019 - 6:00 am

Stopping by to say that i suspect Glycerl Stearate broke me out (comedones) on my face. Product in question was Avene’s new Very High Protection Fluid SPF50. There was also Tocopherol and one or two other known comedogenic ingredients but those usually do not cause me problems. Intrigued.

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Gio June 4, 2019 - 4:42 pm

Milky, sorry it didn’t work for you!

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