Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate is in bar soap?
I already talked about the most common surfactants in shampoo (SLS, SLES, and CAPB – see previous posts). Now I’ll move on to the less commonly found ones. Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) is actually a pretty common bar soap ingredient. We use it infrequently in shampoo because it’s hard to formulate into a liquid. SCI is a solid and is usually sold in a powder or flake form. It has a high melting point and hard to dissolve into water which is why few people choose to use it. We’ll tell you why we chose to anyway.
What are the benefits of Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate?
First of all, it’s considered very mild (as it’s been used on skin for years with no irritation problems). As we will continue to reference, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) actually has done multiple reports on this ingredient and found it to be safe as used in cosmetics. Sometimes they will say safe up to X%, but their statement means it’s safe if you use it at whatever level you need in your product. You can view the full CIR report here.
Secondly, the foam profile it creates in conjunction with SLS/SLES is amazing. It produces copious, luxurious foam. What that means is the bubble size it creates is very small. The bubbles are both small and uniform size. Other products will have a larger bubble size with great variation in bubble size, and that decreases how you perceive the foam. Our product makes the foam feel like it’s very heavy. One of the best comments to demonstrate what that means is a customer was able to create a “foam mohawk” with her hair. It could stand up with just the foam from the shampoo. That’s a good foam! Lastly, it doesn’t have any baggage which I talk about below.
Is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate natural?
I wouldn’t say it’s natural, but part of the molecule is derived from coconut oil. It doesn’t appear on the warning list for a lot of the “natural” product companies like Whole Foods. You will find products in Whole Foods containing SCI, but not SLS/SLES. Also, it typically rates well for “natural” NGOs such as Environmental Working Group (EWG). They rate it a 1 which is the safest level they have. We don’t put a lot of stock in their assessment but we’ll explain that in a later post. They aren’t really scientifically sound with their ratings. To check out the full ingredient list of Phique shampoo, click here.