Hydroxyethyl Cellulose

Commonly found in:

  • Hair care
  • Toothpaste
  • Foundation
  • Tooth whitening
  • Facial cream
  • Sunscreen
  • Mascara
  • Anti-aging
  • Eye drops
  • Concealer
  • Eye liner


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Simplifica products with this ingredient:

Hydrating Shampoo
Curl Defining Shampoo
Sleek & Shiny Shampoo
Volumizing Shampoo
Natural Hold Styling Gel
Ultra Hold Styling Gel
Curl Defining Cream

EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database:

  • Safety Rating - 1
  • Data - Limited

Also identified as:

  • Cellulose Gum
  • Hydroxymethylcellulose
  • Hydroxyethylcellulose
  • Carboxymethyl Hydroxyethylcellulose
  • HEC


Cellulose gum is naturally occurring in the cells walls of plants. It is composed primarily of glucose monomers and is only somewhat different in composition than starch.

Carboxymethyl cellulose gum is a cellulose derivative. HEC results through a process that replaces certain glucose components with hydroxyethyl ether. This action prohibits crystallization and creates solubility.

This form of cellulose gum is considered very safe for use in cosmetics. However, of the varieties of cellulose gum, this one is more likely than others to trigger allergic reactions. It is primarily used as a thickener and stabilizer in personal care products.


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