The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients
The material selection platform
Cosmetics Ingredients


CAS Number 3055-94-5 / 68439-50-9
Chem/IUPAC Name: 2-[2-(2-dodecoxyethoxy)ethoxy]ethanol
EINECS/ELINCS No: 221-280-2 / 500-213-3
COSING REF No: 34911
Polyoxyethers of lauryl alcohol make up the ingredients in Laureth. They belong to the alkyl polyethylene glycol (PEG) ether family. The name's numeric component represents the typical number of ethylene oxide units present in the molecule. Laureth-3 is used in the formulation of a variety of bath, eye, facial, hair, cleansing, and sunscreen products in the cosmetics and personal care industry. Additionally, it is utilized in moisturizing, deodorizing, and cuticle-softening products.

What is LAURETH-3 used for?

Laureth-3 is a liquid emulsifier and surfactant/cleaning agent. It is frequently used in skin care formulations to aid in the blending of water and oil-based ingredients. Due to its solubilizing qualities, it is frequently used in products that call for a milky consistency. It is frequently used as a thickening agent in products like shampoos and shower gels for the best aesthetics.

The ingredient's viscosity (thickness) is correlated with the number 3. The viscosity increases with the laureth's numerical value. It can be used in all kinds of skincare products, and hair care products including body washes, hair shampoos, deodorants, lotions, and creams. The typical use level is 1-5%.


Alkaline catalysis is by far the most common method of manufacture of alkyl PEG ethers, although acid catalysis is known. The initiation of the alkaline catalyzed synthesis of alkyl PEG ethers consists of the addition of ethylene oxide to a dry solution of the appropriate alcohol (e.g., lauryl alcohol is used to synthesize laureths) with an alkali earth metal (e.g., potassium hydroxide) or alkoxide (e.g., sodium methoxide). The reaction continues to propagate (i.e., continues to add additional units of ethylene glycol to the alcohol) until the available ethylene oxide is consumed and/or the reaction is terminated by the addition of an acid (e.g., hydrochloric acid). Dioxane (1,4-diethylene dioxide; 1,4-dioxane) is commonly formed as a byproduct. Finally, one or more oxidizing agents (e.g., hydrogen peroxide) or antioxidants/stabilizers (e.g., butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) or -tocopherol (vitamin E) are commonly used as a finishing step.

What does LAURETH-3 do in a formulation?

  • Cleansing
  • Emulsifying
  • Surfactant

Safety profile

The safety of the alkyl PEG ethers, including the Laureth ingredients, has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that the Laureth ingredients were safe as used in cosmetic products when formulated to be non-irritating. Developmental and reproductive toxicity studies as well as mutagenicity data were all negative for these compounds. These compounds, however, can irritate the skin. Therefore, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that the Laureth ingredients, as well as the other alkyl PEG ether ingredients, were safe as used when formulated to be non-irritating. Small amounts of 1,4-dioxane, a by-product of ethoxylation, may be found in the Laureth ingredients. The potential presence of this material is well known and can be controlled through purification steps to remove it from the ingredients before blending into cosmetic formulations.

Technical profile

Property Values
Boiling Point 391°C
Melting Point 131°C
pH 5.0-6.5
Solubility Soluble in water
Back to Top