Follow us on our new Insta page »

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

Klairs Rich Moist Facial Soap T3 Ada Gel Aha+ (Glycolic Acid - 10%) Avoskin Naufa Pure Olive Oil Bar Soap Bioderma Sebium Serum Bioderma Sébium Night Peel Bliss That'S Incredi-Peel Clinique ID Active Cartridge Concentrate - for Pores & Uneven Texture Dr Bronner Lavender Soap Bar 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 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 Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% Aha Gel Exfoliant Proactiv Step 2 Toner Proactive+ Revitalizing Toner Skin Authority Instant Perfection Peel Pads The Inkey List 15% Vitamin C And EGF Serum Urban Skin Rx Clear & Even Tone Clarifying Glycolic Pads Apolosophy Aloe Vera Gel BOSCIA Resurfacing Treatment Toner With Apple Cider Beauty Bay Acid Trip Exfoliating Toner Beauty Bay Skinhit Correcting Serum Benefit Cosmetics Benetint Bioderma White Objective Sérum Cordes Bpo 5% Gel Dermaceutic Mela Cream Dermasence Seborra Serum Ethique Eco-Friendly Face Cleansing Bar, In Your Face FÜNFSINNE Multi Tonic 6% Aha Gesichtswasser Und Peeling Geek & Gorgeous Smooth Out 12% AHA + Cactus Exfoliating Liquid Goop Beauty G.Tox Malachite And Aha Purifying Tonic Kate Somerville Liquid Exfolikate LVLY by Paola Maria Skin Toner Lucy Bee Aha Dazzling Tonic Modern Skyn Alchemy Daily Resurfacing Exfoliant Moon Juice Beauty Shroom Exfoliating Acid Potion No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum Activating Pads O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet Foot Cream O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads Pixi Skintreats Overnight Glow Serum Concentrated Exfoliating Gel Postquam Med Skin Ácido Glicólico