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)

Sodium Coco Sulfate (SCS)

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 1–15%
Texture See “appearance”.
Scent Characteristically soapy/detergent-y.
Active Surfactant Matter 95%
pH 7.5–10.5 (1% solution)
Charge Anionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in recipes? 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 Recipes that Use Sodium Coco Sulfate

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa)

What is it? Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa) is a solid anionic surfactant of vegetable origin. It meets ECOCERT standards. It is not the same thing as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)—it is a much gentler surfactant.
INCI Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
Appearance A very fine white powder.
Usage rate Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (SLSa) is non-irritating to the skin at up to 70%
Texture Fine powder.
Scent Characteristically soapy/detergent-y.
Active Surfactant Matter 65%
pH 5–7.5 (5% solution)
Charge Anionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in recipes? It offers fantastic, rich lather to our products. Due to the small particle size it readily dissolves in water, making it a great choice for things like bath bombs and foaming bath salts.
Do you need it? I’d highly recommend it, but it isn’t essential.
Strengths Wonderful, rich, long-lasting lather.
Weaknesses Inhaling it is beyond wretched.
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 may need to use a different quantity of the new surfactant to get the same ASM level in the end product) and the pH of the final product.
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, SLSa should last for two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks SLSa is an easy way to make almost anything foam!
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 Recipes that Use Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate

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”, “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 recipes? 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 Recipes that Use Cocamidopropyl Betaine

Thank you to Zack for helping with this entry!

Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside

What is it? Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside is a liquid non-ionic surfactant made from vegetable derived fatty acids and glucose. I often refer to it as C/C Glucoside since it’s shorter!
INCI Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside
Appearance A viscous, pale yellow liquid.
Usage rate up to 40%
Scent Characteristically soapy/detergent-y.
Active Surfactant Matter 60%
pH 5.5–6
Charge Non-ionic
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in recipes? It is gentle and contributes great lather to body washes, hand washes, face washes, and anything else liquidy that we want to add bubbles to!

It’s also a good solubilizer—much better than many other surfactants. This means we can incorporate essential and fragrance oils into products like hand washes without the need for another solubilizer, like Polysorbate 20.

Do you need it? If you’re only going to buy one liquid, non-ionic surfactant, I’d recommend this one.
Strengths Good lather + solubilizing.
Weaknesses Harder to find than coco glucoside.
Alternatives & Substitutions Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside is quite unique as it is often used as both a surfactant and a solubilizer, so you’ll need to replace both functions.

The alternative I typically suggest is coco glucoside for the cleansing/lathering with added polysorbate 20 and/or polysorbate 80 to solubilize whatever the Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside was solubilizing. You’ll also need to lower the pH of your final product if you use coco glucoside as it has a much higher pH than Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside.

How to Work with It Since it is liquid it can be used in cold-processed recipes, but it can be heated in the heated water phase if needed. Avoid vigorous stirring/agitation so you don’t work up too much lather.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside should last for two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside is the only acidic non-ionic surfactant I’ve managed to find.
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! Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside also appears in my solubilizers table since it does both jobs.

 

Some Recipes that Use Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside

Pin It on Pinterest