Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose


Film-Forming Agent

No known benefits

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose at a glance

  • Modified cellulose polymer
  • Film-forming and binding agent
  • Assists in creating a cohesive formula texture
  • Safe for use in cosmetics

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose description

Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) is a polymer used in skin care as a film-forming substance, binding agent, emulsion stabilizer and texture enhancer. It also boosts foaming abilities in cleansing products. Through its many properties and uses, it can help a skin care formula’s appearance and usability, giving cosmetics desirable, homogenous textures that are easy to apply to skin. Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is a hydrophilic (water-loving) modified cellulose polymer that’s water soluble. It appears as a white or off-white powder in its raw material form and is typically sourced from cotton. In recent research, it’s been tested as a material used in the creation of hydrogels to promote wound healing. Beyond this, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose is a common food additive. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel determined it’s safe for use in cosmetics. Usage levels of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose range from 0.2–1% depending on desired texture (higher amounts are used in gel formulations).

Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose references

  • Personalcarecoucil.org, Accessed October 2022, ePublication
  • International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, July 2021, pages 1210-1221
  • Cosmetics, September 2020, ePublication
  • Food Chemistry, May 2017, pages 746-759
  • Food and Chemical Toxicology, December 2007, pages 2341-2351

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not Rated