The sad truth is, as we explained in our earlier article, “How to decode the ingredients label on your skincare” it is not always easy to decipher whether the ingredients are halal. Take for example, Glycerine. This humectant which draws moisture to itself, can be made from animal sources, either bovine or porcine. Or like the glycerine we use in our skincare, made from vegetable sources.
Stearic Acid Molecule
But glycerine is an easy one, let us explore stearic acid. Like glycerin, stearic acid can be made from either animal or vegetable sources. However, the vegetable source is significantly more expensive to produce. It is why the British plastic currency have traces of animal derived stearic acid – to cut costs. So, look for stearic acid on the ingredients list and avoid it like the plague?
It is not so simple, stearic acid is used as the precursor in many different chemicals by reacting other chemicals with it. From stearic acid, you could get Stearamide, Stearamine, Stearates, Stearic Hydrazide, Stearone, Stearoxytrimethylsilane, Stearyl Alcohol, Stearoyl Lactylic Acid, Stearyl Betaine, Stearyl Imidazolin, Stearyl Acetate, Stearyl Betaine, Isopropyl Palmitate and many more obscure ingredients.
Stearic acid is only one of many different fatty acids such as Lauric Acid, Myristic Acid, Oleic Acid and Palmitic Acid used in soaps, cosmetics, skincare and even food. While each of these substances can be derived from plants, they are frequently obtained from a slaughterhouse by-product known as tallow or animal fat.