Texture enhancer

Silica at a glance

  • Natural ingredient found in clays as well as in parts of plants and animals
  • Used as an absorbent powder and thickener in cosmetics
  • Can enhance the absorption of ingredients and serve as a drug delivery system
  • Is also FDA-approved as a food additive

Silica description

Silica is a mineral found abundantly in sandstone, clay, and granite, as well as in parts of plants and animals. Silica can also be produced synthetically, with both forms routinely used as an absorbent powder and thickening agent in cosmetics. Certain forms of silica can improve even distribution of pigments in cosmetics and prevents them from settling in makeup, ensuring smooth, even application. Research has shown that silica nanoparticles can enhance the absorption of other ingredients and serve as an effective delivery system for antioxidants (such as quercetin). Silica can also improve the protective ability of the mineral sunscreen ingredient titanium dioxide. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows silica to be added directly to food as an anti-caking agent, and it has been ruled safe as used in a wide range of concentrations in cosmetics by the independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel.

Silica references

  • Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, July 2021, page 10,2437
  • Cosmetic Ingredient Review, October 2019, pages 1-34
  • Nanomedicine, August 2019, pages 2,243-2,267
  • Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 2016, pages 1,201-1,205
  • European Journal of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics, January 2015, pages 116-125
  • Cosmetics & Toiletries, April 2015, pages 36-45

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

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