Sodium Chloride


Texture enhancer

No known benefits

Sodium Chloride at a glance

  • More popularly known as common table salt
  • Functions as a binding agent, thickener, and occasionally an abrasive in cosmetics
  • A white, crystalline solid
  • On the FDA’s list of substances Generally Recognised as Safe

Sodium Chloride description

Sodium chloride is more popularly known as common table salt. It is used primarily as a binding and/or thickening agent in skin and hair care products (notably shampoos) and occasionally as an abrasive in salt scrub products. In its raw form it is a white, crystalline solid. Regarding its most common use as a thickening agent, here are some fun facts: Salt is commonly used to thicken the water (also known as aqueous) phase of shampoos, body washes, and non-soap facial cleansers. It’s an inexpensive and highly effective, versatile ingredient included in numerous types of cosmetics. Despite pure salt’s potential to dehydrate skin, the amounts used in skin care and other ingredients present eliminate this issue. As such, sodium chloride is widely considered non-irritating and non-drying as used in cosmetics. The United States Food and Drug Administration has put sodium chloride on its list of substances considered Generally Recognised as Safe. In fact, there aren’t any restrictions on how much of it can be used in cosmetics, though clearly it isn’t being used anywhere near a 100% concentration!

Sodium Chloride references

  • Cell Metabolism, March 2015, pages 493-501
  • Journal of the Mexican Chemical Society, June 2012
  • Journal of the University of Chemical Technology and Metallurgy, February 2007, pages 187-194

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.