Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate


Cleansing Agent

Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate at a glance

  • Gentle cleansing agent with emulsifying properties
  • Made from amino acid glutamic acid
  • May be synthetic or animal-derived
  • Considered safe as use in cosmetics

Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate description

Sodium stearoyl glutamate is a synthetic or animal-derived ingredient (Paula’s Choice uses the former) that is added to cosmetics to condition skin or work as an emulsifier, keeping oil-and-water formulas blended. In higher amounts, it works as a surfactant, typically with other cleansing agents; however, it used more often for its skin-softening and emulsifying properties. Chemically, sodium stearoyl glutamate belongs to the amino acid group since the glutamate portion (not to be confused with the protein gluten) comes from the amino acid known as glutamic acid, which enhances skin hydration. The sodium portion makes it an amino acid salt, and it as well as similar ingredients in this amino acid group are considered non-irritating. Usage levels of sodium stearoyl glutamate in cosmetics range from 0.03–2%, with amounts above 1% more likely to see use in leave-on products. This ingredient has been deemed safe as used in cosmetics; however, there’s one case report of a person having an irritant contact dermatitis to a leave-on product that contained a 1% amount of sodium stearoyl glutamate. It wasn’t clear if the reaction may have been due to this ingredient being combined with another surfactant/preservative, plus the product in question contained fragrance compounds known to provoke irritation.

Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate references

  • Contact Dermatitis, November 2022, pages 453–454
  • International Journal of Toxicology, 2017, pages 17S-56S
  • Cosmetics, July 2014, pages 159-170

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.