surfactant natural sodium cocoyl isethionate

Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate – Foaming Face Wash!

Written by: | October 12, 2018 | Leave a Comment

Surfactants have a reputation as being harsh and irritating to the skin, but sodium cocoyl isethionate is a completely different type of surfactant! Derived from coconut, this extremely gentle ingredient is fast replacing traditional surfactants in natural hair and skincare formulations.

Biodegradable and Gentle
Naturally derived from coconut, sodium cocoyl isethionate is readily biodegradable and gentle. According to a study performed by MIT in 2007, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate forms micelles that are easily rinsed away before penetrating the stratum corneum making this surfactant more gentle to the skin than other comparable surfactants (1).  This makes it the perfect surfactant for creating everything from bubble baths to foaming face wash!

Bubble Baths
This mild, natural surfactant is great in bubble baths! It’s a high foaming agent so there are tons of soft, gentle bubbles that last. Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate is mild enough to use in formulations for baby products and because the suds last even in hard water, it’s a fun way to take a bubble bath and it won’t irritate the skin like other surfactants. Zen Dragon Bath Soak uses the foaming action of sodium cocoyl isethionate and the fizzing action of baking soda and citric acid to make a super fun bath for kids of all ages. Dragon fruit powder is a luxurious addition due to its gorgeous, reddish-pink hue and vitamin E and antioxidant properties. The dragon fruit powder appears light pink in the dry soak but activates in bath water to create a vibrant pink foamy soak reminiscent of strawberry milk. Don’t worry though, it doesn’t stain the tub or your skin.

Sodium cocoyl isethionate is not only natural, it also out-performs other surfactants in providing a dense, creamy lather. Besides compatibility with hard water, good cleaning properties, and excellent lathering, it also imparts softness and manageability to hair and is non-drying to the skin. Check out this recipe for a simple and gentle foaming coconut face wash.

Foaming Coconut Facial Cleanser

Finding a gentle and effective facial cleanser that also has great foam and suds can be challenging as surfactants can sometimes irritate skin. This cleanser is designed with ultra gentle sodium cocoyl isethionate. This is a fun recipe to make and it makes your skin feel amazingly soft and clean without feeling stripped.

Equipment You’ll Need

Stick blender
Mixing Bowl

Approximate yield: 1 Pound  or approximately 5 – 6  – 4oz bottles
Approximate cost per pound:  $4.45
Suggested Packaging: 4oz bottle with pump top
Suggested retail price:  $15 – $20


  • 0.7667 LBS         1 ½ Cup                  77%        Deionized Water
    • 0.1467 LBS       ½ Cup                    15%        Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
    • 0.0673 LBS       2 Tbsp                     6%         Vegetable Glycerin
    • 0..0051 LBS     1Tsp                       0.5%         100% Natural Coconut Fragrance Oil
    • 0..0109 LBS     1 ½ Tsp                    1%         Phenoxyethanol
    • 0.7000 LBS       ½ Tsp                   0.5%        Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate


  1. Add ingredients to water while mixing with your stick blender.
  2. Once fully blended, you will see the water turn clear with a foamy head, this is expected. Let sit for 1-2 hours, then blend again,
  3. This will create a gentle foaming cleanser that has the consistency of whipped cream or meringue.
  4. Let sit for another 24 – 48 hours and mix again or whip with a hand mixer for a fluffier foaming wash. If your wash has become too thick, you may need to thin with more water.
    1. Take deionized water and add 1% phenoxyethanol. This will be your preserved water you will use to thin down your wash if needed.
    2. Add your preserved water to your foaming wash 1% at a time. Let rest for at least 6 -8 hours and mix again.
    3. If needed, add more water following the steps above until you reach the desired consistency.
  5. Use anytime you want a gentle foaming face wash!


Please note that this recipe has not been challenge tested for preservation efficacy. If you use this recipe for market sales, it is up to you to ensure the safety of the product. We strongly recommend 3rd party challenge testing. If you need additional help, please contact us at or 866-252-9639.



  1. Ghosh S, Blankschtein D. J Cosmet Sci. 2007 May-Jun;58(3):229-44. PMID: 17598025

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