• Derived from: coconut
  • Pronunciation: (\ˈsō-dē-əm\ me-thəl\ˈkō-(ˌ)kōyl\ˈtȯr-ate\)
  • Type: Naturally-derived

What Is Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate?

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

Coconut palm trees (cocos nucifera) grow around the world in lowland tropical and subtropical areas where annual precipitation is low.[3,4] Widely cultivated, healthy coconut palms produce 50 nuts per year, and the tree can be used to produce food to fibers, building materials, and natural ingredients.[5,6] 

What Does Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate Do?

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is a surfactant that allows water and oil to mix, allowing things to become clean. It also acts as a natural foaming agent and is a good alternative to harsh 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.[8]

How Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate Is Made

Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is made by reacting taurine, N-methyltaurine, or a taurate salt with a coconut fatty acid. (Note: Taurine occurs naturally in the human body[7]). This typically means heating coconut acid, the sodium methyl taurate solution, and boric acid to 200º C while stirring with a subsurface nitrogen purge. This distills off water. Stirring then occurs under lower heat and lower pressure. When cooled, the result is a waxy solid that is ground into a powder.[9] 

Another way to manufacture sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is to dissolve taurine in a mixture of water, isopropyl alcohol, and sodium hydrate. Lauric acid chloride and a sodium hydrate solution are stirred into the solution. Next, hydrochloric acid and a calcium chloride solution are added and stirred. The white substance is then filtered and dried. 

Often, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate is sold as a mixture with sodium chloride and water.[10]

Is Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate Safe for Skin and Hair?

The Cosmetics Ingredient Review has deemed sodium methyl cocoyl taurate safe for use in cosmetic products “when formulated to be non-irritating.”[11]  Whole Foods has deemed the ingredient acceptable in its body care quality standards.[12] Research shows the ingredient is typically not a skin irritant or sensitizer.[13,14,15,16] 



[1] Environmental Working Group
[2] McKinley Resources, Inc./Chemberry
[3] Pennsylvania State University
[4] Cosmeticsinfo.org
[5] University of Hawaii at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources
[6] U.S. National Plant Germplasm System
[7] Personal Care Council
[8] Environmental Working Group
[9] Personal Care Council
[10] Personal Care Council
[11] Personal Care Council
[12] Whole Foods Market
[13] Anonymous. 2015. “Summary of eye and skin irritation tests of Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate.” Unpublished data submitted by Personal Care Products Council
[14] European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate.
[15] European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). “Fatty acid chlorides, C18 unsatd., reaction products with sodium N-methyltaurinate.”
[16] 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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