No known benefits

Steareth-2 at a glance

  • Waxy compound that is a derivative of stearyl alcohol (which is a non-irritating fatty alcohol)
  • Primarily functions as an emulsifier to help water and oil-based ingredients stay blended
  • Often combined with steareth-21 to improve a product’s sensory attributes
  • Deemed safe by the independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel

Steareth-2 description

Steareth-2 is a waxy compound that primarily functions as an emulsifier to help water and oil-based ingredients stay together so that an emulsion is formed. If an ingredient such as this is absent from certain skin care formulations, the solution would separate (sort of like what you see with certain oil-based salad dressings). Steareth-2 is often combined with other steareth ingredients, such as steareth-21, since this combination provides an elevated sensory experience. Steareth ingredients are prepared by interacting with the chemical intermediate gas ethylene oxide with stearyl alcohol, a process which forms an entirely new stable compound. The number that comes after (for instance, 2) indicates the average number of ethylene oxide units used in the preparation. In 2012, the independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel ruled that steareth-2 is safe as used in cosmetics in amounts up to 10%. There have been concerns about the safety of steareth ingredients because toxic 1,4-dioxane, a by-product of ethoxylation, can be produced; however, this is eliminated through purification processes.

Steareth-2 references

  •, Accessed January 2022, ePublication
  • International Journal of Toxicology, 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