Cocamide MEA blend for cold process formulas

I've been working on a Cocamide MEA blend for the past few days from some samples I received from Taiwan to make a cold process MEA blend to use in lieu of DEA as a 1:1 alternative for simple hand soaps. DEA is being phased out, as it's a carcinogen, so I want to get some of our clients switched over ASAP.

I was heating the Cocamide MEA flakes to 60C to get them to melt and mixing them with the following formula.

C-MEA 12%

CAPB 38%

Water 50%

My first few attempts at this turned out rather nicely, but suddenly everything I made started coming out like EGDS pearl. Instead of thickening and boosting/stabilizing foam, it just started making all my products pearly.

Do you think I got some bad MEA? Am I missing something? Any tips/hints?


  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    No. It is a solubility issue with MEA. Highly dependent on temperature.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • It's not separating in an aqueous solution, just making the entire thing look opalescent and pearl when disturbed. Is pearling common?

  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    edited August 2015
    cocamide DEA is not a carcinogen

    it can form carcinogenic substances in the presence of a very specific type of preservative which is rarely if ever used in cosmetics these days, but it is not carcinogenic in itself
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • I apologize for the miscommunication. However, they're currently banning DEA where I live.
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