Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB from now on ‘cos I’m tired of typing) is a slightly yellow, viscous liquid derived from coconut oil. It’s an excellent mild (non-stripping) surfactant that can perform several functions in a cosmetic product; from foam boosting, to thickening to even a (slight) antibacterial.
It’s derived from coconut oil so it’s natural, right?
I was boiling Quaker oats to make myself a healthy breakfast one morning when I noticed the water bubbling. The bubbles looked very soap-like and I immediately began to wonder if certain compounds found in oats could have cleansing properties.
So I started looking around. I found that I was in fact right: there are compounds found in many plants called saponins, which perform a variety of functions including cleansing.
Saponins are made up of complex water-soluble glucosides (sugars) bound to oil-soluble sapogenins (steroid or triterpene based). This amphiphilic structure is what helps to make saponins naturally foamy and cleansing. This property makes them surfactants. Continue Reading