Stearic acid is obtained from fats and oils by the saponification of the triglycerides using hot water (about 100 °C). The resulting mixture is then distilled. Stearic Acid - In view of the soft texture of the sodium salt, which is the main component of soap, other salts are also useful for their lubricating properties. Lithium stearate is an important component of grease. The stearate salts of zinc, calcium, cadmium, and lead are used to soften PVC. Stearic acid is used along with castor oil for preparing softeners in textile sizing. They are heated and mixed with caustic potash or caustic soda. Related salts are also commonly used as release agents, e.g. in the production of automobile tires. Stearic acid is one of many fatty acids that occur naturally in various plants and animal derivatives. Its found in such products as animal tallow, cocoa butter and vegetable fats. When its used in cosmetic products, stearic acid primarily fulfills the role of a thickener or hardener.