Magnesium stearate is a white, water-insoluble powder. Its applications exploit its softness, insolubility in many solvents, and low toxicity.
It is used as a release agent and as a lubricant in the production of pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
It is often used as an anti-adherent in the manufacture of tablets, capsules and powders when its lubricating properties prevent ingredients from sticking to equipment during compression into tablets. Magnesium stearate is the most commonly used lubricant for tablets.
Magnesium stearate is also a common ingredient in baby formulas.