Sodium stearate is a salt of the fatty acid stearic acid. It is used as a thickener and emulsifier in cosmetics and food. Stearic acid is a naturally occurring fatty acid that comes from animal or vegetable triglycerides. Animal triglycerides are usually sourced from tallow, while plant triglycerides are derived from coconuts.
In the cosmetic industry, sodium stearate is used as an emulsifier, viscosity modifier and anti-caking agent. As an emulsifier, it induces the formation of micelles. Micelles are formed by presenting hydrophobic tails inwards and hydrophilic heads outwards. The polar head dissolves only in polar solvents while the non-polar tail dissolves only in non-polar solvents.
Sodium stearate is used in various industries including soaps, cosmetics, chewing gum, and leather. It is considered safe for use and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 1954.
Sodium stearate has been known to have moisturizing properties and prevent the skin from drying out. It also helps to reduce the risk of fine lines and wrinkles.
Sodium stearate has a fatty smell. Although it is not a natural substance, it is considered safe. However, there are reports of allergic reactions.
Sodium stearate can be purchased at various online retailers. It has a two-year shelf life when stored at room temperature. This material is also a good choice for personal care products like body wash, hair conditioner, soap, and shaving cream.
Sodium stearate is a water soluble fatty acid salt that is easily soluble in aqueous solutions and hot alcohol. However, it is insoluble in acetone, light gasoline, and similar organic solvents.