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


CAS Number 9005-00-9 (Generic) / 16057-43-5
Chem/IUPAC Name: 2-(2-octadecoxyethoxy)ethanol
EINECS/ELINCS No: 605-213-8
COSING REF No: 78990
Steareth-2 is a surfactant. It is a waxy compound mainly used as an emulsifier & surfactant in various cosmetic products. Its Molecular Formula is C22H46O3 and Molecular Weight is 358.6.

What is STEARETH-2 used for?

In cosmetics and personal care products, Steareth-2 primarily functions as an emulsifier to help water and oil-based ingredients stay together so that an emulsion is formed. It is used in the formulation of personal cleanliness products and deodorants, as well as suntan, fragrance, skin, eye and hair products.
  • Skin care: It is used as an emulsifier & surfactant in products such as moisturizer, daily cream with SPF, mascara, foundation, facial moisturizer/treatment, hand cream, sunless tanning, mask, brow liner, antiperspirant/deodorant, recreational sunscreen, facial cleanser, around-eye cream, body firming lotion, serums & essences, foot moisturizer, makeup primer, eye liner, anti-aging, after shave, antiperspirant/deodorant (men's), foot odour control, exfoliant/scrub, BB cream, bronzer/highlighter, baby oil, styling mousse/foam, detangler, skin fading/lightener, eye makeup remover, concealer, foot cleansing, lip balm, damaged skin treatment.
  • Hair care: It is used as an emulsifier & surfactant in products such as hair styling aide, hair treatment/serum, Conditioner, styling gel/lotion, shampoo.


Steareth-2 is polyethylene glycol ethers of stearic acid. Its 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.

What does STEARETH-2 do in a formulation?

  • Emulsifying
  • Surfactant

Safety profile

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 in water was neither primary irritants nor sensitizers to human skin.

STEARETH-2 Alternatives

Technical profile

Property Values
Boiling Point 455.7±20.0°C at 760 mmHg
Flash Point 229.4±21.8°C
Index of Refraction 1.455
Vapor Pressure 0.0±2.5 mmHg at 25°C
Density 0.9±0.1 g/cm3
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