Sodium Cocoamphoacetate

What is it? Sodium Cocoamphoacetate is a mild liquid amphoteric surfactant.
INCI Sodium Cocoamphoacetate
Appearance Turbid semi-viscous liquid.
Usage rate Typical usage in formulas would generally be in the 3–40% range. I have found no maximum usage level stated.
Scent Characteristically soapy/detergent-y.
Active Surfactant Matter 38%
pH 9 (10% solution)
Charge Amphoteric
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in recipes? We include Sodium Cocoamphoacetate in our formulas to make surfactant blends milder, function as a secondary surfactant, boost foam/lather, and increase viscosity.
Do you need it? No, Cocamidopropyl Betaine would be my first choice for a mild amphoteric surfactant.
Strengths Makes surfactant blends milder, boosts lather, conditions skin and hair.
Weaknesses Because it has a higher pH than Cocamidopropyl Betaine I find products made with Sodium Cocoamphoacetate usually require pH adjustment.
Alternatives & Substitutions Cocamidopropyl Betaine would be my first choice. Otherwise you’ll want to look for another liquid amphoteric surfactant. Read this for more information on substituting surfactants.
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, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate should last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Amphoteric surfactants have a positive (cationic) charge in acidic pH environments and a negative (anionic) charge in basic pH environments.
Recommended starter amount 250mL (8fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. Mine was gifted by Essential Wholesale.

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super useful surfactants table!

 

Some Recipes that Use Sodium Cocoamphoacetate

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLeS)

What is it? Sodium Laureth Sulfate (sodium lauryl ether sulfate/SLeS) is an anionic surfactant made from coconuts. It should not be confused with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)—SLeS is much milder.
INCI Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Appearance Clear, viscous liquid or a smooth, thick paste—it is available at different concentrations and more concentrated versions are thicker.
Usage rate The CIR has not noted a maximum usage rate. Let the desired total active surfactant matter of your end product be your guide.
Texture Slippery, detergenty
Scent Characteristically detergenty
Active Surfactant Matter 26–70% (this varies with format; confirm with your supplier)
pH 7.5 (10% solution)
Charge Anionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in recipes? Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLeS) is an excellent lathering surfactant and is a great choice for a primary surfactant in any kind of foaming/cleansing product. It is also a fairly decent solubilizer.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLeS) only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Fantastic lather, great cleansing.
Weaknesses It is still a sulfate, which some people prefer to avoid due to possible irritation or colour-treated hair. It also tends to get confused with SLS, which isn’t really a weakness of the product itself.
Alternatives & Substitution Generally speaking, you’d hope to replace any surfactant with one that is the same format and has the same charge. A similar pH and ASM would be nice, but those differences can be accommodated in the formulation. It is also nice if the surfactant has a similar feel and produces similar lather.

If you need a substitute for Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLeS), Sodium coco sulfate is another sulfate you may have on hand, though you will likely need to dissolve it in some water to create a liquid solution with a similar concentration to use it in place of SLeS. You can try Sodium C14-16 Alpha Olefin Sulfonate (Bio-Terge AS40) as an alternative liquid anionic non-sulfate surfactant, or even Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, though it is non-ionic and does not have the same high-foam properties.

How to Work with It Include it in the water phase of your formulations; it can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLeS) should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks There is quite a lot of misinformation about the safety of SLeS. I recommend giving this a read. Neither SLS or SLeS are carcinogens.
Recommended starter amount 250g (0.5lbs) (solid surfactant bars and bath bombs will use lots!)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super useful surfactants table!

Some Recipes that Use Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLeS)

PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides

What is it? PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides is a water-soluble emollient made from medium chain triglycerides typically sourced from coconut oil. The HLB value is approximately 12.5–14.
INCI PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides
Appearance Thin clear liquid
Usage rate 0.5–5%
Texture Smooth, slick liquid
Scent Nothing much
Charge Non-ionic
Solubility Water, alcohol, and oil
Why do we use it in recipes? PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides are pretty versatile! I primarily use this ingredient as the active cleansing ingredient in micellar water formulations; I’ve experimented with every liquid surfactant/solubilizer I own and only PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides  produce good results.

PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides can also be included in body washes and other surfactant products to make them gentler and more emollient, and as a solubilizer.

Do you need it? If you want to make micellar water I consider it to be essential. Otherwise, no.
Refined or unrefined? PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Excellent skin feel, even in leave-on applications. Versatile, gentle ingredient.
Weaknesses Not considered natural, can be harder to find than other surfactants.
Alternatives & Substitutions In micellar water I have not found any suitable alternatives to PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides. In other projects other water soluble “oils” like Olivem 300 will work well.
How to Work with It Include it in the water phase of your products; PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides should last at least 2–3 years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides are in no way interchangeable with Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides.
Recommended starter amount If you’re primarily using PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides for micellar water 30mL (1fl oz) will go a very long way. If you also wish to use it as a water soluble emollient I’d purchase at least 100mL (3.3fl oz).
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides

Coco Glucoside

What is it? Coco Glucoside is a gentle non-ionic surfactant made from coconut oil and sugar.
INCI Coco Glucoside
Appearance Semi-viscous yellowish liquid
Usage rate The CIR has not noted a maximum usage rate. Let the desired total active surfactant matter of your end product be your guide.
Texture Slippery, detergenty
Scent Characteristically detergenty
Active Surfactant Matter 55%
pH 11.5–12.5
Charge Non-ionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in recipes? Coco glucoside can be a good primary or secondary surfactant, contributing foaming/cleansing to an end product.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? Coco glucoside only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Coco glucoside is usually a fairly easy to source “natural” surfactant.
Weaknesses It has a fairly high pH and is a poor solubilizer; I prefer Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside.
Alternatives & Substitutions I tend to prefer Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside in any recipe that calls for coco glucoside.
How to Work with It Include it in the water phase of your formulations; it can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, coco glucoside should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Realize Beauty has a great article on glucosides that’s worth a read!
Recommended starter amount 250mL (8fl oz) or less
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super useful surfactants table!

Some Recipes that Use Coco Glucoside

Sodium (C14-16) olefin sulfonate (Bio-Terge AS90)

What is it? Sodium (C14-16) olefin sulfonate is a mild solid anionic surfactant made from coconut oil.
INCI Sodium (C14-16) olefin sulfonate
Appearance Fine white powder
Usage rate The CIR Expert Panel has determined sodium (C14-16) olefin sulfonate to be safe for use in rinse-off products (no upper limit mentioned) and safe at up to 2% in leave-on products.
Texture Dry, fine powder
Scent Detergent-y/soap-y
Active Surfactant Matter 88%
pH 8–10 (5% in water)
Charge Anionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in recipes? Sodium (C14-16) olefin sulfonate can function as a primary or complimentary cleansing surfactant in all kinds of formulations.
Do you need it? No; I would chose Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS) first. Sodium (C14-16) olefin sulfonate is a good alternative to SCS if you are looking for a sulfate-free alternative.
Strengths Biodegradable anionic surfactant with excellent flash foam that performs well over a wide pH range.
Weaknesses It seems to be harder to find than many other surfactants.
Alternatives & Substitutions You’ll need a solid anionic surfactant; SLSa would be my first choice.
How to Work with It Wear a dust mask! Inhaling solid surfactants is incredibly unpleasant.

Include in the water or surfactant phase of products. Can be hot or cold processed, as needed.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, sodium (C14-16) olefin sulfonate should last two to three years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Sodium (C14-16) olefin sulfonate is especially floaty—make sure you wear your dust mask! It is fine enough that it can be incorporated into solid detergent products (like shampoo bars) without heating.
Recommended starter amount 250g (0.5lb)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super useful surfactants table!

Some Recipes that Use Sodium (C14-16) olefin sulfonate (Bio-Terge AS90)

Sodium (C14-16) alpha olefin sulfonate (Bio-Terge AS40)

What is it? Sodium (C14-16) alpha olefin sulfonate (Bio-Terge AS40) is a gentle liquid anionic surfactant made from coconut oil.
INCI Sodium (C14-16) alpha olefin sulfonate
Appearance Thin yellow liquid.
Usage rate The CIR concludes Sodium (C14-16) alpha olefin sulfonate is safe for use in wash-off products (no upper limit listed) and safe at up to 2% for leave-on products.
Texture Slippery, soapy liquid.
Scent Detergent-y/soap-y
Active Surfactant Matter 39%
pH 8–9 (10% in water)
Charge Anionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in recipes? Sodium (C14-16) alpha olefin sulfonate can function as a primary or complimentary cleansing surfactant in all kinds of formulations.
Do you need it? No, but it is useful to have at least one liquid anionic surfactant on hand.
Strengths Biodegradable anionic surfactant with excellent flash foam and cleansing. I find the lather it produces to be very pillowy and luxurious.
Weaknesses It seems to be harder to find than many other surfactants.
Alternatives & Substitutions You’d want to start with a liquid anionic surfactant. If the active surfactant matter is different you’ll need to adjust the formula to keep the total ASM the same. Be sure the watch the pH of the end product as well.
How to Work with It Include in the water phase of products. Can be hot or cold processed, as needed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry,
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks When combined with Cocamidopropyl Betaine you get a surprisingly viscous mixture!
Recommended starter amount 250mL (8fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super useful surfactants table!

Some Recipes that Use Sodium (C14-16) alpha olefin sulfonate (Bio-Terge AS40)

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