By April 21, 2020 Blog
     Photo Courtesy of Chloe Kala (

What is Cocamidopropyl Betaine?

Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) is a synthetic detergent and surfactant found in personal care products, cosmetics and cleaning products. It is an amphoteric surfactant, a part of a class of ingredients called amidopropyl betaines. Synthesised from coconuts by mixing raw coconut oil and 3-dimethylaminopropylamine, the product which is used to produce more foam. It is also used to reduce static, condition the skin & hair, increase the foaming action of certain cleansing and cleaning products, and moderate the viscosity of liquids.

Why is it used in shampoos?

A shampoo has a number of characteristics that aren’t necessarily related to how well it cleans hair. Cosmetics companies can add CAPB to shampoos as: – an emulsifying agent to combine ingredients with different solubilities; – a foam-booster to increase the lather when rubbed into hair; – a viscosity modifier to increase the thickness of a shampoo; – or to reduce the concentrations of stronger surfactants, making a shampoo milder to the skin.

It’s essentially impossible to tell from the ingredient label which of these properties is being utilised by a secondary surfactant, and it’s likely to be a combination of several. CAPB can also be used as a ‘primary surfactant’ in higher concentrations.

Where is CAPB used?

Anal cleansers
Anti Static Agent
Bath formulations
Bubble bath
Cleansing lotion
Contact lens cleaning solutions
Eye make-up removers Hair colorants
Hair conditioners
Body wash
Personal hygiene products Shampoos
Shaving products
Styling products

The issues associated with Cocamidopropyl Betaine

One of the surfactant that is being slowly replacing the infamous sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Ammonium Sulphate in the personal care products is CAPB. Most personal care products in the market labeled as natural used CAPB with consumers associating it’s ‘naturalness’ from its origin from coconut oil. (As was mentioned CAPB is a chemical compound synthesized from coconuts by mixing raw coconut and 3- dimethylaminopropylamine)

Health concerns around CAPB include allergic skin reaction, contact dermatitis and environmental toxicity. Increasing rates of sensitization in the population led to cocamidopropyl betaine being named Allergen of the Year in 2004 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

The Environment Canada Domestic Substance List includes CAPB as a suspected environmental toxin. In addition, there are dangers associated with cocamidopropyl betaine having to do with the substances that are used in processing this ingredient: amidoamine and 3-dimethylaminopropylamine. Nitrosamines may also form as a by-product of cocamidopropyl betaine.

As an ingredient in shampoos for both adults and children, CAPB can easily get into the eyes. This may cause significant eye irritation, according to the HERA Project, which assesses the risks of ingredients in common household products.

What are the different names for cocamidopropyl betaine

Used in cleaning products: CADG, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Cocamidopropyl dimethyl glycine, Cocoamphocarboxypropionate, Cocoamphodiproprionate, Disodium cocoamphodipropionate

Used in personal care products: 1-propanaminium, 3-amino-n-(carboxymethyl)-n, n-dimethyl-, n-coco acyl derivs., inner salts; 1-propanaminium, n-(carboxymethyl)-n, n-dimethyl-3-[(1-oxococonut) amino]-, hydroxide, inner salt; 1-propanaminium, 3-amino-n(carboxymethyl)-n, n-dimethyl, n-coco acyl derivs., hydroxides, inner salts; cadg; cocamido betaine; cocamidopropyl dimethyl glycine; cocoamidopropyl betaine; cocoyl amide propylbetaine; cocoyl amide propyl dimethyl glycine solution; cocoyl amide propyldimethyl glycine; hydroxide inner salt 1-propanaminium, n-(carboxymethyl)-n, n-dimethyl-3-[(1-oxococonut) amino] –

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