Cocamidopropyl Betaine

What is it? Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB) is a liquid amphoteric surfactant made from coconut oil. It can also be found sold under the names “Coco Betaine” (which is quite misleading as true Coco Betaine is a different ingredient; read this entire entry to learn more!), “Amphosol CG”, and “SurfPro™ CAPB”; be sure to check the INCI.
INCI Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Appearance Thin golden liquid.
Usage rate 4–40%
Scent Characteristically soapy/detergent-y.
Active Surfactant Matter 30%
pH 5–6 (10% solution)
Charge Amphoteric
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Cocamidopropyl Betaine is a great co-surfactant that makes the overall surfactant blend milder. It helps improve flash foam and stabilize lather, and helps thicken some surfactant blends as it contains some sodium chloride. “It has a negative charge in alkaline products and a positive charge in acidic products like most personal cleansers. It is substantive when positively charged (in an acidic formulation), so it acts as a skin and hair conditioner, leaving behind a moisturized feeling after rinsing with no feeling of tightness.” –LotionCrafter

Basically, it makes all things surfactant-y better, and more gentle. It also works well on its own as a gentle, low-lather cleansing agent.

Do you need it? If you plan on doing any work with surfactants, definitely.
Strengths It is inexpensive, easy to work with, and improves all surfactant blends by boosting lather and making them milder.
Weaknesses It is often the only amphoteric surfactant available, which can be limiting but isn’t really a weakness of the ingredient itself.
Alternatives & Substitutions It’s hard to swap out because there aren’t very many amphoteric surfactants available to home crafters. The best alternative I’ve found at this point is Babassuamidopropyl Betaine. You could also use Coco Betaine if you can find it (most “Coco Betaine” I’ve found is actually Cocamidopropyl Betaine when you look at the INCI), though it’s not as gentle.
How to Work with It Include it in the heated water phase or cool down phase.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Cocamidopropyl Betaine should last at least 1.5 years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Cocamidopropyl Betaine and Coco Betaine are not the same thing, but Cocamidopropyl Betaine is often sold with “Coco Betaine” as the product name, with Cocamidopropyl Betaine as the INCI. Make sure you’re checking the INCI so you know what you’re getting!
Recommended starter amount 250mL (8fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super useful surfactants table!


Some Formulations that Use Cocamidopropyl Betaine

Thank you to Zack for helping with this entry!


Posted on

November 24, 2018