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Sodium Hydroxide

Also-called-like-this: lye
What-it-does: buffering

Official CosIng Information


The unfancy name for it is lye. It’s a solid white stuff that’s very alkaline and used in small amounts to adjust the pH of the product and make it just right. 

For example, in case of AHA or BHA exfoliants, the right pH is super-duper important, and pH adjusters like sodium hydroxide are needed.  

BTW, lye is not something new. It was already used by ancient Egyptians to help oil and fat magically turn into something else. Can you guess what? Yes, it’s soap. It still often shows up in the ingredient list of soaps and other cleansers.

Sodium hydroxide in itself is a potent skin irritant, but once it's reacted (as it is usually in skin care products, like exfoliants) it is totally harmless.

Products with Sodium Hydroxide

Beauty Drops Aha 30% + Bha 2% Peeling DR. SOUL Dark Spot Eraser Whitening Soap Klairs Rich Moist Facial Soap Kruidvat Bodylotion Sensitive Almond Oil T3 Ada Gel Aha+ (Glycolic Acid - 10%) Advanced Clinicals 10% Glycolic Serum Aisuanis Energy Complex Ahas Exfoliating Toner Avoskin Naufa Pure Olive Oil Bar Soap Belo Intensive Whitening Bar Classic Bioderma Sebium Serum Bioderma Sébium Night Peel Bliss That'S Incredi-Peel Clinique Clinique iD BB-Gel+ Pores & Uneven Texture Pre-assembled Kit Clinique ID Active Cartridge Concentrate - for Pores & Uneven Texture D'lumiere Esthetique Aha 20% Anti Aging Serum Defensil Pimple Defense Soap Dermosil Anti-Spot Gel Dr Bronner Lavender Soap Bar Dr. Bronner's Organic Eucalyptus Soap Bar Dr. Bronner's Organic Green Tea Soap Bar Dr. Bronner's Organic Tea Tree Pure-Castile Soap Bar Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Bar Soap Elastalift Glycolic Acid Florence by Mills One Swipe Glow Wipe Treatment Pads Glossier Solution Glytone Rejuvenating Cream 20 Innoderm Teranex Soap KERSTIN FLORIAN Correcting Intensive Renewal Glycolic 15 Kayman Beauty Coalface Soap Kojie san Skin Lightening Soap Kojie san Skin Lightening Soap LANCER Caviar Lime Acid Peel L’anza Healing Color Care Color-Preserving Trauma Treatment Medik8 Glycolic Acid Activator Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Concentrate Extreme 10% Nuvo Active With Tcc + Mint Bar Soap PURA D'OR Apple Cider Vinegar - Thin2Thick Shampoo Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% Aha Gel Exfoliant Pixi Glow Tonic Pixi Glow Tonic Proactiv Step 2 Toner Proactive+ Revitalizing Toner QRxLabs Glycolic Acid/AHA 15% Renewal Serum SCT Gluta Kojic Ultra Soap Skin Authority Instant Perfection Peel Pads The Inkey List 15% Vitamin C And EGF Serum Urban Skin Rx Clear & Even Tone Clarifying Glycolic Pads Acnemy Zitless Patches Apolosophy Aloe Vera Gel