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Cocamide MEA

* Made by mixing the fatty acids from coconut oil and monoethanolamine (MEA). It comes in the form of a waxy, white substance. It may also contain small amounts of Cocamide DEA.


Works as a thickener, foaming agent and emulsifier. Its functions are very similar to those of Cocamide DEA. Its mainly used to thicken and opacify a cosmetic formulation, and also works to enhance the properties of the main cleansing ingredient contained in a surfactant, most often a bath product like conditioner or body wash.

While its foaming capabilities are not directly responsible for cleansing the skin/hair, it allows the hands to efficiently work and spread the cleanser/shampoo across the surface, which in turn, helps the mechanical removal of dirt. It also provides excellent moisturization and conditioning to the hair/skin. This ingredient is most often used in opaque and syrupy cosmetic formulations such as hair dye, body wash, conditioner, dandruff treatment, liquid hand soap, cleanser, exfoliant/scrub, bubble bath and bath oil.

Safety Measures/Side Effects:

This ingredient may contain traces of Cocamide DEA, which according to the FDA may lead to the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines. The CIR Expert Panel has acknowledged that MEA can react with an aldehyde to form DEA, which then can be nitrosated. They also note that MEA vapor is highly toxic, but do not consider this significant since there is no vapor that arises from Cocamide MEA. Furthermore, this ingredient does not appear to be a sensitizer, and in clinical tests, it was not irritating at a concentration of 50% in a single-insult patch test. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data surrounding Cocamide MEA and concluded that it was safe for use in rinse-off products and safe at concentrations up to 10% in leave-on products.

Recommended Products w/ Cocamide MEA:

Christophe Robin Creme Lavante Au Citron ($52)

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