|What is it?||Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) is a solid anionic surfactant of coconut origin. It is not the same thing as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and is generally accepted as a gentler alternative.|
|INCI||Sodium Coco Sulfate|
|Appearance||You can purchase SCS as a powder or little sticks that look like sprinkles.|
|Usage rate||The CIR has not declared a maximum usage level for Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) in rinse-off products, declaring it “safe for use in rinse-off products”. It is limited to 1% in leave-on formulations (source).
As Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) is a very effective cleanser, 1–15% is generally suitable in liquid formulations. Solid cleansers will generally use quite a lot more as Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) is part of the solid-ness. As the CIR has not declared a maximum allowable usage level, let the performance of the formulation be your guide. LUSH uses Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) noodles/sticks in some of their shampoo bars and you can tell from looking at them that they must contain upwards of 80% Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS)—they’re basically bricks of Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) noodles held together with a bit of liquid, much like a sugar cube.
|Active Surfactant Matter||95%|
|pH||7.5–10.5 (1% solution)|
|Why do we use it in formulations?||It offers fantastic, fluffy, super-abundant lather and is a strong cleanser.|
|Do you need it?||It’s very fun (and especially great if you’re making household cleaners), but not essential.|
|Strengths||Ample, rich lather and strong cleansing/de-greasing.|
|Weaknesses||It is a stronger surfactant and could irritate very sensitive skin. It also has a higher pH and products made with it typically need to be adjusted.|
|Alternatives & Substitutions||As a bare minimum you’ll need a different solid anionic surfactant. You’ll also need to watch the active surfactant matter (you will likely need to use a different quantity of the new surfactant to get the same ASM level in the end product as SCS is much more concentrated than most other surfactants). Keep in mind that unless you use Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) as your alternative surfactant the end product is likely to be lower-lathering and not be as potent of a cleanser.|
|How to Work with It||Wear a dust mask! Inhaling airborne powdered surfactants is unbelievably unpleasant.
You can dissolve it into the heated water phase for liquid concoctions, or stir/mash the powder into blends of butters and/or other surfactants to create syndet bars. It can also be added to the powder phase of bath bombs and other bath products.
|Storage & Shelf Life||Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, SCS should last for two years.|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) is made from whole coconut oil, while Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is made from lauric acid, an isolated fatty acid that is present in coconut oil. That means SCS will contain some SLS because lauric acid is a component of coconut oil.|
|Recommended starter amount||250g (0.5lb)|
|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 Sodium Coco Sulfate
- Champagne Shampoo Bars
- Birthday Suit Solid Body Wash
- Rich Lavender Shower Cleansing Cream
- Solid Dishwashing Brick
- Argan Rose Pressed Shampoo Bars
- Chocolate Rhassoul Shampoo Bars
- Lavender Spruce Shower Gel
- Lottie’s Dog Shampoo Bar
- Super Concentrated Lemon Dishwashing Paste
- Snowflake Shampoo Bar
- Vanilla Spice Hand Wash
- Pumpkin Spice Foaming Hand Wash