Know Your Ingredients: Ozokerite

by Gio


What it is
Ozokerite is a natural occurring mineral wax. It is black in nature but once refined, it becomes yellow-white in color.

What it does
Ozokerite is very used in cosmetics and personal care products to thicken their oil portion.
In addition, Ozokerite adds hardness to products and helps them stay intact by holding their ingredients together: it prevents the oil and liquid part of products from separating and is what gives shape and stability to lipsticks, stick foundations and similar products.

Side effects
Ozokerite is generally considered to be safe.


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Amy December 19, 2010 - 8:27 am

I am such a fan of your ‘Know Your Ingredients’ series of posts, I come back every day hoping for more!

beautifulwithbrains December 19, 2010 - 3:27 pm

Amy, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy them!! 🙂

Ana February 7, 2011 - 12:50 pm

You have no idea how much your A-Z of ingredients just helped me!

I had a list of ingredients on a unfamiliar brand’s face paint and I went through half of just using your blog, hurrah!
(For the rest, there was some serious snooping to find Western equivalents to Asian ingredient names and an extensive use of Skin Deep: Cosmetic Safety Reviews. Phew! Got it all in the end 🙂 !)

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

beautifulwithbrains February 7, 2011 - 2:28 pm

Ana, you’re welcome. I’m so glad you found my ingredient posts useful. I think it’s handy to have evrything in one place and I plan to add more and more ingredients in the near future.

Laurelle March 8, 2016 - 5:18 pm

Ozokerite is from shale and coal production. I personally don’t consider coal or shale production safe or healthy for the planet or Earth.

I really like your blog though. I’m here because I’ve been researching cosmetic ingredients. Good resource.


Gio March 9, 2016 - 8:38 pm

Laurelle, unfortunately lots of ingredients used in cosmetics that are safe for us aren’t that good for the environment. *sighs*

Thanks you! Glad you like it, and hope to see you here often.

Teresa ElBaradie July 27, 2016 - 6:18 pm

I’m trying to make a lip exfoliator and the recipe calls for Ozokerite. I am looking to find another ingredient to replace this, any suggestions?

Gio July 31, 2016 - 6:09 pm

Teresa, have you tried using a butter, like cocoa or shea?

Teresa ElBaradie August 1, 2016 - 3:46 am

I use both sometimes in my recipe . So maybe omit the Ozokerite altogether?

Gio August 2, 2016 - 9:03 pm

Teresa, in this case, yes, I think that would be the best option.

Sedary December 28, 2017 - 6:06 am

The effects of long-term exposure to ozokerite mainly consisting of an aliphatic series of hydrocarbons using F344 rats.
Kuroda K1, Kijima A, Jin M, Ishii Y, Takasu S, Matsushita K, Nishikawa A, Umemura T.
Author information
Combined chronic toxicity and carcinogenicity studies of ozokerite (OZK), a natural wax substance used as a food additive for a gum base, were performed in male and female F344 rats. Dietary concentrations of 0%, 0.05%, 0.1% and 0.2% OZK were applied in a 52-week chronic toxicity study and 0%, 0.1% and 0.2% in a 104-week carcinogenicity study. In the chronic toxicity study, treatment with OZK caused a xenobiotic reaction against absorbed OZK, including formation of histiocytosis and granulomas with crystalline material in many organs in all of the treated males and females. Particularly in the liver, granulomatous inflammation was accompanied by hepatocellular vacuolation and changes in the serum biochemical parameters indicative of hepatic disorder. The number and area of glutathione S-transferase placental form (GST-P) positive foci were increased in all of the treated groups of both sexes, suggesting the proliferative effect of OZK. In the carcinogenicity study, the incidence of hepatocellular adenoma and the total tumor incidence in the liver of all of the treated males were significantly increased compared with the controls. In conclusion, long-term exposure to OZK caused systemic chronic inflammation due to a foreign body response. OZK was weakly carcinogenic in the liver of male F344 rats. [From

Gio December 31, 2017 - 8:45 am

Sedary, thanks for this study but I’ve noticed it was done on rats. The results may not necessarily translate to humans. Do you have any studies that ozokerite, in the small concentrations used in cosmetics topically applied on human skin, cause cancer or any other health problem?


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