What Is Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate?

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is the salt derived from coconut fatty acid amide of N-methyltaurine. It is a soft white paste that is prized as a gentle foaming surfactant.[1,2]

What Does Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate Do?

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is a surfactant that allows water and oil to mix, thus improving the cleaning process. It also acts as a natural foaming agent and is an excellent alternative to silicones. Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate can be found in hundreds of personal care products such as shampoo, facial cleanser, body wash, acne treatments, toothpaste, hand soap, and other products.[1]

How Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate Is Made

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is made by reacting coconut fatty acids with either taurine, N-methyltaurine, or a taurate salt. This is typically done by heating these ingredients with boric acid to 200º C (while stirring with a subsurface nitrogen purge) to distill water. When cooled, the waxy solid is ground into a powder.[3]

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate may also be created by dissolving taurine in a mixture of water, isopropyl alcohol, and sodium hydrate. Lauric acid chloride and a sodium hydrate solution are then stirred into the solution, followed by hydrochloric acid and a calcium chloride solution. The white substance is then filtered, dried, and pulverized.

Often, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is sold as a mixture containing sodium chloride and water.[7]

Is Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate Safe for Hair & Skin?

The Cosmetics Ingredient Review has deemed sodium methyl cocoyl taurate safe for use in cosmetic products “when formulated to be non-irritating.”[7] Whole Foods has deemed the ingredient acceptable in its body care quality standards. [4] Research shows the ingredient is typically not a skin irritant or sensitizer.[5,6,7,8]

Sources

[1] Environmental Working Group
[2] McKinley Resources, Inc./Chemberry
[3] Personal Care Council
[4] Whole Foods Market
[5] Anonymous. 2015. “Summary of eye and skin irritation tests of Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate.” Unpublished data submitted by Personal Care Products Council
[6] European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate.
[7] European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). “Fatty acid chlorides, C18 unsatd., reaction products with sodium N-methyltaurinate.”
[8] CRODA Europe Limited. 2015. “Chemical safety report: Ethanesulfonic acid, 2-(methylamino)-, N-coco acyl derivs., sodium salts (Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate).” Unpublished data submitted by Personal Care Products Council

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