Surfactants: Incorporating mildness into your creations – overview

Surfactants, by their very nature, are irritating to our skin. The goal when creating surfactant based products is to reduce the irritation to our skin by using milder cleansers, creating blends that enhance mildness, and adding ingredients like cationic polymers, proteins, or emollients. When a surfactant comes into contact with our skin, it can bind...

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Which surfactants should you buy?

People ask me all the time which surfactants they should buy, and this is a more complicated question than they think! If I could afford it, I’d have every single surfactant available on my shelves, but I know this isn’t realistic. So how do you decide which ones get a permanent place in your formulating...

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Surfactants: Ethanolamines or alkanolamides

Cocamide DEA (or cocamide diethanolamine) is a non-ionic surfactant derived from coconut fatty acids (hence the coca- part) that behaves as an emulsifier, slip enhancer, and re-fattener when included in surfactant mixes. Cocamide DEA can improve the density, body, and stability of foams, so it is a great addition to a bubble bath, but it...

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Surfactants: Alkyl polyglucosides or glycosides

Some non-ionic surfactants are not only emulsifiers or solubilizers but foamy detergents. The alkyl polyglucosides are new surfactants derived from reacting corn starch with a fatty alcohol to produce a highly biodegradable that is highly tolerant to electrolytes like salt (which means it can’t be thickened well with salt). You can find low ethoxylated monoglycerides...

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Surfactants: Betaines (updated December 2021)

If you read anything about cocamidopropyl betaine, it is usually listed as an amphoteric, meaning it has a positive functional group – the quaternized nitrogen – and a negative functional group – a carboxylate, phosphate, or a sulfate functional group able to carry a negative charge in neutral or alkaline conditions. Believe it or not,...

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