Trihydroxystearin at a glance

  • Mix of glycerine and fatty acid hydroxystearic acid (which is derived from castor oil)
  • Used in amounts between 1-7% as an occlusive or thickener in cosmetics
  • Ruled safe as used in skin care, hair care, and makeup products
  • Also used as a direct and indirect food additive

Trihydroxystearin description

Trihydroxystearin is a mixture of glycerine and castor oil-derived fatty acid (hydroxystearic acid). It is used in amounts between 1–7% as an emollient (moisturising ingredient) and texture-improving thickening agent in cosmetics. In particular, it helps thicken the oil (lipid) part of a skin care or makeup product. The independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review board has ruled that trihydroxystearin is safe as it is used in cosmetics. In addition to its use in makeup and skin care, the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of trihydroxystearin as an indirect food additive, for example, as a component of paper or paperboard that comes in contact with aqueous or fatty foods. It is also used directly as a thickener for peanut butter.

Trihydroxystearin references


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