Skincare ingredients: Isostearyl Isostearate

What is Isostearyl isostearate?

Great for: Emollient like jojoba oil with a virtually non-existent after-feel

How it works:  It provides a rich but non-greasy skin feel and improves spreading on the skin. It is often used in lipsticks and to bind together make-up powders.

Where does isostearyl isostearate come from?

Isostearyl isostearate is the ester (the product of an alcohol and an acid) of isosteric alcohol and isostearic acid.

Isostearic acid is an isomer of stearic acid, a naturally-occurring fatty acid found in cocoa and shea butter. Isostearic acid and stearic acid have the same chemical formula, but the arrangement of their atoms vary slightly which gives it very different physical properties.  For example, stearic acid is solid at room temperature and isostearic acid is clear yellow liquid.

Formulation tips

Undiluted Isopropyl Isostearate was classified as a slight ocular irritant but otherwise is considered very safe.

  • Milady Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary, 4th Edition
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  • Andy Parker
    July 10, 2019

    It’s not an ester of isopropyl alcohol and isostearic acid – it’s the ester of isostearic alcohol and isostearic acid.

    • Drew Lepp
      July 12, 2019

      Oh my goodness. Thank you for that information. I’m going to update right now. 🙂

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