LUMOROL K 5229

What is it? LUMOROL K 5229 is a water-free surfactant blend that mixes clearly and easily with high-oil, water-free formulations. It allows us to create products like foaming bath oils and butters; products that contain lots of fat, and no water, but still bubble beautifully! Theses formulations will also turn all milky when mixed with water. You might’ve seen products like this from L’Occitane and Glossier. This is really unique as most foaming surfactants like Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) and Coco Glucoside are water soluble and do not lather well (if at all) in formulations that contain lots of oil.

LUMOROL K 5229 is made of a blend of Laureth-4, MIPA-Laureth Sulfate, and Propylene Glycol. According to this data sheet from Windy Point it is 25-50% each Laureth-4 and MIPA-Laureth Sulfate; both are surfactants. The lather comes from the MIPA-Laureth Sulfate, while the Laureth-4 ensures clear mixtures with all kinds of oils.

The data sheet from Zschimmer & Schwarz states that LUMOROL K 5229 is 93% active, with 43% anionic surfactant matter; the MIPA-Laureth Sulfate is the anionic surfactant matter, so I believe we can assume that’s used at 43%, with the remaining 50% to total 93% active matter coming from the non-ionic Laureth-4.

INCI Laureth-4 (and) MIPA-Laureth Sulfate (and) Propylene Glycol
Appearance Semi-viscous clear golden liquid
Usage rate The manufacturer doesn’t provide a usage range, and I haven’t found any regulatory limits. 10–60% tends to get the job done; do some experiments to figure out what works for your formulation! I’ve been surprised at how little you need to get excellent rinse-off and good lather (≤ 40%).
Texture Oil-like
Scent Very faint; slightly chemically.
Active surfactant matter 93% active, with 43% being active anionic matter.
Approximate Melting Point LUMOROL K 5229 is liquid at room temperature.
pH 7 in a 10% solution
Charge Anionic
Solubility LUMOROL K 5229 is oil soluble, but will self-emulsify and turn white when combined with water.
Why do we use it in formulations? LUMOROL K 5229 allows us to make anhydrous, high-oil-content formulations that lather beautifully! Think shower oils, bath oils, bath butters, and more 😍 Very exciting!
Do you need it? If you want to make foaming bath/shower oils, it is essential!
Refined or unrefined? LUMOROL K 5229 only exists as a refined product.
Strengths LUMOROL K 5229 makes it delightfully easy to create anhydrous, high oil content products like shower oils, butters, and bars that lather beautifully!
Weaknesses Not natural, and not super widely available as of 2023.
Alternatives & Substitutions You’ll need another MIPA or TIPA sulfate product that’s combined with an emulsifier like Laureth-4. There are plenty of these products on ULProspector (Plantapon SF by BASF looks like it would work well, for example), but so far none of them are available to smaller makers.

You cannot use a water-containing surfactant or a water-soluble surfactant instead of LUMOROL K 5229. This means most surfactants you likely already have (Sodium Cocoyl IsethionateCoco Glucoside, Decyl GlucosideSodium Lauryl SulfoacetateCocamidopropyl Betaine, etc.) won’t work.

I also do not recommend non-ionic anhydrous solubilizers like PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil or Polysorbate 80 as a substitution. While these ingredients will give your formulation rinse-off, they won’t lather.

How to Work with It Treat LUMOROL K 5229 like you’d treat a liquid oil. It can be hot or cold processed, and mixes easily with other oils.

To get started working with LUMOROL K 5229, try swapping 20–40% of the liquid oil in an anhydrous formulation for it.

If your formulation is fluid (like a foaming shower oil), I’ve learned you’ll want to include some medium chain triglycerides in your oil blend if you’re using less than ~58% LUMOROL K 5229 in the formulation in order to prevent splitting. I haven’t done the tests to determine exactly when the MCT becomes necessary, but it’s somewhere between 40–58%. ~30% MCT has worked in the experiments I’ve done, but I haven’t tested for the lower limit. Click here to learn more.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, LUMOROL K 5229 should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks There are at least 8 different products in the LUMOROL line; make sure you’re getting LUMOROL K 5229!

LUMOROL K 5229 is free of diethanolamine.

Recommended starter amount At least 100g (3.5oz).
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. In the UK, Aromantic sells it. In the US, Dauphine Organics sells it. In Canada you can get it from Yellow Bee and Windy Point.

Some Formulations that Use LUMOROL K 5229

Plantapon® SF NA

What is it? Plantapon® SF NA is a pre-blended sulfate-free surfactant product made by BASF Care Creations as part of their “Plantapon®” range of surfactant products.
INCI Sodium Cocoamphoacetate (and) Glycerin (and) Lauryl Glucoside (and) Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate (and) Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate
Appearance Yellow liquid
Usage rate The manufacturer of Plantapon® SF NA suggests usage at 20–50%.
Scent Characteristic; detergent-y
Active surfactant matter 30%
pH 6.5–7.5
Charge Plantapon® SF NA contains amphoteric, non-ionic, and anionic surfactants.
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Plantapon® SF NA works as a lovely and very easy-to-use primary surfactant blend in our cleansing formulations. It is gentle and produces a beautiful, rich lather with nice rinse-off.
Do you need it? No, but it is a nice “shortcut” surfactant product.
Refined or unrefined? Plantapon® SF NA only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Plantapon® SF NA is an easy-to-use blend that functions nicely as the sole surfactant blend in formulations, though you can also blend it with other surfactants. If you don’t want to invest in a lot of surfactants it’s a good option for easily creating a variety of gentle foaming/cleansing products.

Due to the presence of both Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate and Lauryl Glucoside you can thicken formulations made with Plantapon® SF NA by lowering the pH to approximately 4.7–5.8; precisely what works will depend on what else is going on in the formulation. Learn more here!

Weaknesses I find it can be pretty strong when used at the rate suggested by the manufacturer.
Alternatives & Substitutions Iselux Ultra Mild is a pretty good alternative as it is also a blended surfactant product that thickens in lower pH environments.

Broadly speaking, another blended surfactant product like Plantapon® TF or STEPAN-MILD® BSB would be a decent place to start. If you are counting on the interplay between Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate and Lauryl Glucoside + an acidic pH to thicken the formulation you will need to thicken the formulation another way.

If you have a collection of anionic, amphoteric, and non-ionic surfactants you could also create your own blend, but that’s starting to get pretty far into re-formulating territory. Have fun!

How to Work with It Include it with the surfactant and/or water phase of your formulation. Plantapon® SF NA can be hot or cold processed.

BASF recommends a final pH of 4–5.5 for products made with Plantapon® SF NA.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Plantapon® SF NA should last at least one year. Plantapon® SF NA does not contain an added preservative.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks There are quite a few products in the Plantapon® range, so make sure you’re purchasing the correct one!

BASF lists Plantapon® SF NA as “good” for salt thickening.

Recommended starter amount 250mL (8 fl oz)
Where to Buy it In Canada, you can purchase Plantapon® SF NA from Voyageur Soap & Candle. Making Cosmetics (USA) sells a product they call “Coco Glucose” with the same INCI; I suspect it is the same product (though they list the active surfactant matter of their product at 42–52% vs. the 30% stated by BASF). I’ve also found it for sale in Germany, Greece, and Cyprus. It seems to be pretty widely available!

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super-useful surfactants table!

Some Formulations that Use Plantapon® SF NA

Lamesoft® PO 65

What is it? Lamesoft® PO 65 is a blend of Coco Glucoside and Glyceryl Oleate manufactured by BASF. It’s primarily a natural lipid layer enhancer/re-fatting ingredient for surfactant products, though Skin Chakra says that it’s also useful in lotions.
INCI Coco Glucoside (and) Glyceryl Oleate
Appearance Cloudy viscous liquid
Usage rate 1–5%
Scent Characteristic; detergent-y
Active surfactant matter Solids content is 64–68%, water content is 32–35%.
pH 3–4 (5% solution)
Charge Non-ionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Lamesoft® PO 65 is a simple and effective way to make our surfactant formulations gentler as glyceryl oleate is a great re-fatting ingredient. If a formulation is leaving to skin or hair feeling too clean, try adding Lamesoft® PO 65!

Lamesoft® PO 65 also boosts viscosity in surfactant formulations, though given a maximum recommended usage rate of 5% it’s not an amazing thickener. You will almost certainly need some other sort of thickener if you’re looking for a typical liquid shampoo/shower gel consistency.

Do you need it? I highly recommend it if you like making liquid surfactant products, and especially if you want to make natural liquid shampoos.
Refined or unrefined? Lamesoft® PO 65 only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Lamesoft® PO 65
Weaknesses I can’t think of any. It’s useful!
Alternatives & Substitutions I primarily include Lamesoft® PO 65 in my formulations for the re-fatting benefits of the glyceryl oleate rather than the foaming brought by the Coco Glucoside.

If you can purchase the component ingredients separately, that can work. Making Cosmetics sells glyceryl oleate on its own, and coco glucoside is pretty easy to get. I’d start with a 60/40 blend of coco glucoside and glyceryl oleate.

Depending on the formulation, you may be able to use Plantapon® TF instead as it is basically Lamesoft® PO 65 + Decyl Glucoside (and) Polyglyceryl-10 Caprylate/Caprate.

You can also try other liquid re-fatting ingredients like Olivem 300 and Cromollient SCE (Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate), adjusting the overall surfactant blend to account for the loss of the coco glucoside.

How to Work with It Incorporate Lamesoft® PO 65 as part of your surfactant phase; it can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Lamesoft® PO 65 should last at least one year.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks BASF says a formulation containing 5% Lamesoft® PO 65 will add 1.7% active surfactant matter to the overall formulation from the coco glucoside content. Assuming an active surfactant matter of 55% for coco glucoside, that means Lamesoft® PO 65 is approximately 61.7% coco glucoside and 38.3% glyceryl oleate.
Recommended starter amount 250mL (8 fl oz)
Where to Buy it Canada / USA / NZ / EU / UK

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super-useful surfactants table!

Some Formulations that Use Lamesoft® PO 65

Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate

What is it? Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate is a mild anionic surfactant. Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate is not the same as Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate, though I believe you could use either in most applications. The laureth version is produced with ethoxylation, while the lauryl version is not.
INCI Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate
Appearance Pale semi-viscous liquid.
Usage rate Cosmetics Info does not list a maximum allowable usage rate. I’ve seen supplier recommendations ranging from 4–40%.
Texture Slippery, detergent-y
Scent Characteristically detergent-y
Active Surfactant Matter 30–35% for the liquid version, though this can vary so be sure you check with your supplier for what you have.
pH 5.5–6.2 (10% solution in water)
Charge Anionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate is a lovely cleansing, foaming surfactant. I love it in all kinds of washes—face, body, hand, shampoo, etc. It can be used as a primary surfactant or as part of a blend.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate is a good mild cleansing surfactant with good foaming/lathering properties. It’s also inherently acidic, which makes it easier to make acidic cleansers.
Weaknesses Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate is not considered natural—this isn’t an weakness to everyone, though.
Alternatives & Substitutions You’ll want to look at other anionic surfactants; liquid ones will be the easiest. Sodium C14-16 Alpha Olefin Sulfonate (Bio-Terge AS40) would be a pretty simple swap as the active surfactant matter (ASM) is close, but the pH is higher, so you’ll need to test and potentially adjust the pH of your finished product. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLeS) could also work, but be sure to compare active surfactant matter values as different Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLeS) can have very different active surfactant matters.
How to Work with It Include Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate in the water phase of your formulations; it can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks I’ve found some sources that say Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate is natural/ECOCERT, but I think they’ve likely confused it with Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate. Because Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate is produced with ethoxylation it isn’t considered natural.
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 Formulations that Use Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate

Cocamide DEA

What is it? Cocamide DEA is a liquid non-ionic liquid surfactant made from coconuts. It helps boost foam, thicken surfactant blends, and condition the hair.
INCI Cocamide DEA
Appearance Pale yellow liquid
Usage rate “The CIR Expert Panel concluded that Cocamide DEA was safe as used in rinse-off products and safe at concentrations of less than or equal to 10% in leave-on products.” (source)
Scent Characteristically detergent-y
Active surfactant matter Varies by product; mine is 85%
Approximate Melting Point Liquid at room temperature
pH 8.5–11 at 1% (varies by product)
Charge Non-ionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Cocamide DEA helps boost the foam in our formulations, thicken surfactant blends, and condition the hair.
Do you need it? No.
Refined or unrefined? Cocamide DEA only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Good thickener and foam booster.
Weaknesses Harder to find, depending on where you live.
Alternatives & Substitutions I’d try a different non-ionic liquid surfactant, like one of the glucosides. This may result in a thinner product, depending on the formulation, so you may have to adjust the formulation to get the desired final viscosity.
How to Work with It Include Cocamide DEA in the surfactant/water phase of your formulations. Cocamide DEA can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry,
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Cocamide DEA and Cocamide MEA are not the same.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon. Mine is from Mystic Moments.

Want to compare different surfactants?

Check out my super-useful surfactants table!

Some Formulations that Use Cocamide DEA

Decyl Glucoside

What is it? Decyl Glucoside is a gentle non-ionic surfactant made from coconut oil and sugar.
INCI Decyl 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 detergent-y
Active Surfactant Matter 51%
pH 11–12
Charge Non-ionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Decyl glucoside can be a good primary or secondary surfactant, contributing foaming/cleansing to an end product. It has a really rich, dense lather that is lovely in our formulations.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? Decyl Glucoside only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Decyl Glucoside is a relatively easy to source “natural” surfactant with lovely lather.
Weaknesses It has a fairly high pH and isn’t a great solubilizer; I tend to choose Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside over the other glucosides.
Alternatives & Substitutions I tend to prefer Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside in any recipe that calls for decyl glucoside, though the lather of Decyl Glucoside is richer + thicker, so I might blend Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside and Decyl Glucoside to get some of the solubilizing powers of Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside and the lather of Decyl 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, Decyl 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 Formulations that Use Decyl Glucoside