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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

T3 Ada Gel Aha+ (Glycolic Acid - 10%) Bioderma Sebium Serum 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 Kayman Beauty Coalface Soap L’anza Healing Color Care Color-Preserving Trauma Treatment Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Concentrate Extreme 10% Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 8% Aha Gel Exfoliant Pixi Glow Tonic 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 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 Kate Somerville Liquid Exfolikate LVLY by Paola Maria Skin Toner Modern Skyn Alchemy Daily Resurfacing Exfoliant Moon Juice Beauty Shroom Exfoliating Acid Potion No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum Activating Pads O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads Pixi Skintreats Overnight Glow Serum Concentrated Exfoliating Gel RAU Aha Tonic Saturday Skin Pore Clarifying Toner 10% Glycolic Acid + Pore Control Complex Sidmool Vitamin C E Ferulic Ampoule SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Solution SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Toner The Ordinary Aha 30% + Bha 2% Peeling Solution The Ordinary Aha 30% + Bha 2% Peeling Solution bio D Rosemary And Thyme Sanitising Hand Wash life aloe vera gel 365 Skin Workout Essentials Multicleanse Alcina Skin Manager Aha Aloe Pura Aloe Vera Gel 99.9%