What is vegetable stearic acid?

Answered by Ivana Knezevic

Cosmetic Ingredients Advice from Ivana

QI am trying to find out more information about vegetable stearic acid. Would you please provide me with some as I couldn't find it on your page (though some things did sound similar). I have recently found this ingredient in a bar of "natural" soap. I have been told by one person that doesn't use this in their products that it is a highly synthetic oleochemical and by another person who does use this ingredient in their product that that is not true and that it is a safe and natural cold-pressed product from vegetable (I believe palm). Also would you please tell me this ingredients function and is it a necessary ingredient in a bar of soap?





A:  Hello JH,


     Stearic acid is a saturated fatty acid that occurs in animal and vegetable fats and oils. It is a solid, waxy substance and it can be obtained through hydrolysis of animal fat, or hydrogenation of some vegetable oils. Since these materials are widely and easily available, there is no need for synthesizing this oleo chemical, and if there is synthetic production of it I am not aware, but each manufacturer (of the Stearic acid) will inform its customers how the acid is obtained.

     What 'oleo chemical' means is 'oily substance'. Neither is there cold-pressing of stearic acid. It tolerates heat well. It is simply a naturally abundant material widely used in all kinds of industries.

If Stearic acid is not used in soaps then it will have to be another fatty acid, because soaps are salts of fatty acids created when these are treated with an alkali. If an oil or fat is used in the production of a soap, it is the free fatty acids that react and result with the creation of a soap, the rest of the ingredients may add to the emoliency and texture.


I hope that this helps.


Best regards,


Ivana K.


Ivana is a cosmetic chemist as well as owner and founder of i2 by Ivana K, an exquisite line of all-natural skin care located in Canada. We encourage you to visit the website to see the full range of beauty products that Ivana offers. She will be happy to guide you with your skincare needs.


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