Stearic acid is a fatty acid found in many plant and animal oils. Due to it's molecular structure it is widely used in cosmetics as an emulsifier and can also be found in soaps, body washes and shaving creams. It's soap-like quality enables it to penetrate the skin, providing emollient, skin-softening properties. It has become a primary choice for many bath and body manufacturers as it is used to emulsify, thicken, or otherwise bind and stabilize lotions and creams.
It is particularly useful on cleansers as it allows for dirt and oils to be lifted from the skins surface by water. It also helps to harden soap bars. This same property makes it useful for candles, adding firmness, a longer burn-time, and a white (opaque) smooth look. It also reduces fragrance migration in mottled candles and is used as a mold release for pillars and votives.
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