We’re all familiar with the ritual: rinse, lather, and repeat.
In fact, so complex is our relationship with foam, that we even celebrate a National Bubble Bath Day.
But where does all that foam really come from, and is it safe enough to be slathering it all over our body?
Well, the good news is YES it is safe, providing you are using products formulated with natural surfactants.
Below, we look at some of the surfactants that are used in the Naked Chemists bath and body care products.
Follow the link for further reading on the role of surfactants in personal care products.
Surfactants Used in Bath and Body Formulas
Inci Name: Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Usage Rate: 5-40%
Lather: Coco Betaine creates a high-foaming lather.
In cosmetic science, this would be described as having a “flash foam”; it bubbles up quickly, but soon dissipates. Think of bubble bath formulae, where the cleansing is secondary to the bubbles.
Description: Coco Betaine is one of the most popular surfactants used in skincare today.
It is naturally derived from coconut and is a high-foaming surfactant. Because of its flash foam capabilities, many cosmetic chemists see it as an inferior surfactant.
Coco Betaine is also gentle enough to use in facial washes and baby formulations.
It isn’t suited to being the only solitary surfactant within a formulation, but it can be blended with a non-ionic surfactant, which also makes it milder.
INCI Name: Decyl Glucoside
Usage Rate: 5-40%
Lather: This creates a lovely, rich, foamy lather; making it a popular choice for bath and body formulae.
Description: Polyglucose is considered to be part of a new generation of surfactants; it is derived from sugar and is considered an extremely natural and readily biodegradable. It is both mild and non-irritating to the skin
From our experience, Polyglucose tends to have similar characteristics to non-ionic surfactants, in terms of its gentleness and mildness. Because it is so mild, it can also be used alone, as it works perfectly as a primary surfactant.
INCI Name: Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
Usage Rate: 5-50%
Lather: This surfactant is a great foam booster.
It produces a really lovely, rich, thick lather – which is what you would expect from an anionic surfactant.
It is a great shaving foam ingredient, as the end result is white and opaque.
Description: Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate can be used as a primary surfactant.
It is an extremely gentle and natural surfactant, derived from coconuts, so it won’t irritate the skin.
It is great for bath and body products, as it leaves the skin feeling luxuriously moisturised.
INCI Name: Sodium Lauryl Sulphoacetate
Usage Rate: 5-60%
Lather: Produces a large volume of foam in bath and body products.
Description: This is a mild, water-soluble powder, it doesn’t irritate the skin, making it the perfect ingredient for sensitive skin.
If you want to have fun creating, this is the surfactant I recommend for making solid bubble bath and body formulae, because its more natural and easy to work with.