Beauty glossary

What Is Xanthan Gum?

Xanthan Gum is a natural ingredient – or, to be exact, a sugar-based polymer produced by bacteria. Used as a thickening agent in food, it’s also a staple of beauty products. Check out the ingredients on your fave face mask or serum, and chances are you’ll find xanthan gum’s been invited to the party.

What Does Xanthan Gum Do?

While xanthan gum doesn’t get the same airtime as vitamin C or retinol, it’s super important to your skincare routine. Firstly, it improves the viscosity (or thickness) of skincare products, allowing you to spread them onto your skin more smoothly and evenly. You know, the ones that glide on like silk? That’s the xanthan gum. Props where props due!

In addition, it acts as a binder, holding ingredients together, so your skincare and makeup products don’t fall apart – because we all know how annoying that is (anyone else thinking about their pressed powder right now?). It’s also used to stabilize oil-and-water emulsions – preventing the two phases from separating.

Who Should You Use Xanthan Gum?

When applied topically, xanthan gum is suitable for most skin types and isn’t known to have any harmful side effects. Plus, it’s a great option for those searching for organic, all-natural skincare.

How To Use Xanthan Gum In Your Routine

Xanthan Gum is in everything from creams to toothpaste and masks to serums, so it’s probably already in your skincare regimen – you just didn’t know it.

Our Fave Xanthan Gum Skincare Products:

xantham gum Source: xanthan gum

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream, $68: This silky (yep, that’s the xanthan gum) moisturizer cleverly combines peptides, amino acids and a powerful shot of protein for skin that’s firmer, youthful and more hydrated.

xantham gum Source: The Ordinary

The Ordinary Buffet, $15: Like a fancy five-course meal for your skin, this serum is chock-full of anti-aging goodies (like matrixyl 3000, amino and hyaluronic acids), to stimulate collagen production, boost hydration and fight fine lines.

xantham gumSource: Glow Recipe

Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, $45: Lightweight and nourishing, this mask – infused with watermelon, vitamins, and antioxidants – soothes irritated skin and hydrates thirsty cells while you sleep, so you wake up with that famous K-Beauty glow. We love the goopy texture and how it melts into the skin!

For more bomb skincare ingredients, check out our Beauty Glossary.