What is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate?

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is a natural ingredient that is derived from coconuts, specifically coconut oil. The process includes mixing a natural sulfonic acid called isethionic acid with the fatty acids that naturally occur in coconut oil. The mixture is then heated to remove extra water as well as distilled to remove any unnecessary fatty acids. Much like coconut oil, sodium cocoyl isethionate provides incredibly moisturizing properties, especially when compared to other surfactants with similar cleansing and foaming properties. This powerful ingredient is common in many soaps and cleansers as it effectively washes away dirt and oil without leading to dryness or irritation.

Baby Foam: Mild Enough for the Most Sensitive Skin

A major reason sodium cocoyl isethionate is an ideal ingredient for skincare products is because it is extremely mild. In fact, the common nickname for sodium cocoyl isethionate is ‘baby foam’ because it's gentle enough for even super sensitive newborn skin!

Though it is extremely gentle, sodium cocoyl isethionate is still an effective cleanser, and is also low-odor, therefore increasing its versatility. Sodium cocoyl isethionate is a pure and natural surfactant, with its active surfactant level reaching 84%. Its high active surfactant level indicates that almost every element of the ingredient is at work, and very little of the ingredient is acting as a filler. This means that the ingredient effectively interacts with oil, dirt, and water, thereby helping it to cleanse the skin.

The ‘Cleaner’ Alternative

Not only is sodium cocoyl isethionate gentle and mild, but it is also biodegradable and natural. Many shampoos, soaps, and cleansers include sulfates and sodium laureth as dirt and oil cleansing agents, but these ingredients can have harmful effects:

  • Environment: Sulfates present a major environmental concern because they are often washed down the drain, thereby contaminating wastewater supplies. As the water goes back into the environment, it can still be contaminated with sulfates, which poses a threat to aquatic animals.
  • Skin & Hair: Sulfates are known to be damaging to both skin and hair. Sulfates are very harsh chemicals, and exposure can lead to dryness because they often strip away too many of the oils the scalp and pores produce. Additionally, people with sensitive skin can experience symptoms such as irritation, itching, and burning.

As the beauty and cosmetic industry moves towards environmentally friendly, natural, and less chemically-laden products, sodium cocoyl isethionate has emerged as an ‘cleaner’ alternative. Its molecular structure allows it to serve the same purpose as other harsh ingredients, while retaining the skin and hair’s moisture and vitality. Formulations that include sodium cocoyl isethionate, such as our cleansing powder capsules, are great options for consumers seeking milder and more natural products.