Cleansing Agent

No known benefits

Laureth-4 at a glance

  • Works as a cleansing agent in skin care formulas
  • Also functions as an emulsifier/stabiliser and texture enhancer
  • Described as a clear, colourless liquid in raw material form
  • Proven track record of safety in cosmetic use

Laureth-4 description

Laureth-4 is a form of lauryl alcohol (a non-sensitising fatty alcohol derived from coconut oil) that can function as a cleansing agent, emulsifier/stabiliser, and formulary texture enhancer. You can find this ingredient in all kinds of skin care products, including cleansers, toners, serums, and other leave-on treatments. The number 4 correlates with the viscosity of this ingredient. The higher the laureth’s numerical value, the greater the viscosity, eventually leading to white, waxy solids. Laureth-4 is described as a clear, colourless liquid. It can be plant-derived or made synthetically, with both forms producing equivalent results. Laureth-4 has a proven track record of safety in cosmetics. In 2012, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel reaffirmed its safety status. Despite misinformation found on the Internet, there’s no substantiated evidence that this ingredient is problematic for oily skin.

Laureth-4 references

  •, Accessed September 2021, ePublication   
  • International Journal of Toxicology, October 2012, pages 169S-244S
  • Colloid Polymer Science, November 2009, pages 423-431

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