PEG-40 hydrogenated Castor Oil: Does It Benefit The Skin?


PEG-40 hydrogenated Castor Oil: Does It Benefit The Skin?

What Is PEG-40 hydrogenated Castor Oil?

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil is a synthetic ingredient used in a variety of cosmetics and skincare products to help improve the texture and effectiveness of the formulation. The main functions of PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil are as a surfactant, emulsifier, and emollient.

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil is a combination of synthetic polyethylene glycol Or PEG with natural castor oil. It is produced through a process called ethoxylation, a chemical reaction in which ethylene oxide is added to a substrate, in this case, castor oil. Castor oil is reacted with 40 units of ethylene oxide, hence the 40 in this ingredient’s name.

If you’re researching PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, you might be looking for clean yet effective skincare. One brand we recommend is Carrot & Stick. You can read more about this brand at the bottom of the article.

What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2024?

Castor oil is a vegetable oil obtained by pressing the seeds of the castor oil plant, Ricinus communis. Castor oil contains a number of fatty acids which help to keep the skin healthy. The fatty acid chains present in castor oil are approximately 90% ricinoleic acid, with oleic and linoleic acid also being significant components. Castor oil is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with a distinct taste and odor.

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil is universally applicable in the beauty industry, especially in liquid soaps, lotions, body washes, shower gels, hair shampoos, facial cleansers, bubble baths, and decorative cosmetics.

Peg 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil Ingredient Review

Sodium Lactate

the good:As an emollient, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil can help reduce the appearance of dry flaky skin. It is also used to improve the texture and sensory feel of formulations.

the not so good:here are some concerns about the ethoxylation process that is used to manufacture this ingredient. There isn’t any reason to worry but more information on this below.

Who is it for?All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.

Synergetic ingredients:Works well with most ingredients

Keep an eye on:Nothing to keep an eye on here.

What Are The Benefits Of PEG-40 hydrogenated Castor Oil?

In cosmetics and skincare products, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil functions as a surfactant, emulsifier, and emollient.



PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil is a surfactant. Surfactants, like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, work to lower the surface tension between two substances, this allows them to lift oils, dirt and grease from the skin so they can be rinsed away. This is possible because while one end of the surfactant molecule is attracted to water, the other end is attracted to oil. Due to these properties, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil can be found in many different cleansers and body washes.



As an emulsifier, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil is a useful ingredient for products that contain both water and oil components. When water and oil are mixed together they can often separate and split, causing the product to feel unpleasant and it can also reduce the effectiveness of the formulation on the skin.

An emulsifier like PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil can be added to help the droplets remain dispersed. This improves the consistency of a product, which enables an even distribution of skincare benefits.



Lastly, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil functions as an emollient, which is why you can find it in many creams, lotions, and hair care products.

Emollients work to soften and soothe the skin or hair while also acting as occlusive agents. Upon application, occlusive agents form a protective film on the surface of skin, which helps to prevent evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture. Over time, this increases skin hydration by causing buildup of water in the top layers of the skin, giving you that dewy appearance.

Is PEG-40 hydrogenated Castor Oil Vegan?

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil is considered to be a vegan ingredient. However PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil isostearate may or may not be vegan. It is easy to get the two confused. PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil isostearate is a PEG compound combining stearic acid and castor oil. Stearic acid can have plant or animal sources.

If you are looking for a vegan product it is always best to check with the brand or research the ingredients in the formulation.

Is PEG-40 hydrogenated Castor Oil Safe?

The safety of PEG hydrogenated castor oils has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel is a group responsible for the independent evaluation of the safety and efficacy of skincae and cosmetic ingredients.

The Expert panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil was safe for use in cosmetics at concentrations up to 100%.

Historically there are concerns about the presence of ethylene oxide and the ethoxylation process by which this ingredient is made.

This concern stems from the production of 1,4-dioxane during the ethoxylation process. 1,4-dioxane has been linked to some forms of cancer.

This may seem concerning, however, manufacturing processes have been put in place to ensure that 1,4-dioxane is not present in the final product.

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil is also measured for impurities in the manufacturing process. It is also important to note that many of the studies that informed the link made between cancer and 1,4-dioxane specifically tested 1,4-dioxane not skincare ingredients.




Carrot & Stick

Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare. What does this mean? It perfectly balances the power of plants with innovative science, offering the best of both worlds. Read More


The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Read More

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