No known benefits

Laureth-3 at a glance

  • Works as an emulsifier and cleansing agent in skin care formulas 
  • Also functions as a texture enhancer/thickening agent
  • Solubilising properties make it popular in products where a milky consistency is desired
  • Proven track record of safety in cosmetic use

Laureth-3 description

Laureth-3 is a liquid emulsifier and cleansing agent derived from lauryl alcohol, which is a non-sensitising fatty alcohol obtained from coconut oil. In skin care formulations, it is commonly used to help water and oil-based ingredients to mix. Its solubilising properties make it popular in products where a milky consistency is desired. In products such as shampoos and shower gels, it is often used as a thickening agent for optimal aesthetics. The number 3 correlates with the viscosity (thickness) of this ingredient. The higher the laureth’s numerical value, the greater the viscosity. Laureth-3 has a proven track record of safety in cosmetics. In 2012, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel reaffirmed its safety status. Their report looked at products using concentrations between 0.0004-20%, although typical use levels are closer to 1-5%.

Laureth-3 references

  • Making Cosmetics, Accessed January 2022, ePublication    
  •, Accessed January 2022, ePublication    
  • International Journal of Toxicology, October 2012, pages 169S-244S

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.


We couldn't find this in our ingredient dictionary. We log all missing ingredients and make continuous updates.

Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.