Monday, April 19, 2010

Surfactants: Alkyl polyglucosides or glycosides

Some non-ionic surfactants are not only emulsifiers or solubilizers but foamy detergents. The alkyl polyglucosides are new surfactants derived from reacting corn starch with a fatty alcohol to produce a highly biodegradable that is highly tolerant to electrolytes like salt (which means it can't be thickened well with salt).

You can find low ethoxylated monoglycerides - like PEG-7 cocoate - and alkyl polyglucosides - like Plantaren (decyl glucoside), Plantapon LGC Sorb (sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate), and Plantasol CCG (caprylyl capryl glucoside). Some are foamy surfactants - like the Plantaren and Plantapon LGC Sorb - and some are means as solubilizers, like the Plantasol CCG or PEG-7 cocoate. (Although the LGC Sorb is anionic because of the carboxylate ion that makes it negative.)

The polyglucosides are good emulsifiers, good foamers, and good wetters. They have good chemical stability in neutral and alkaline pH. These are great co-surfactants as they can reduce the irritation potential of other surfactants, thicken mixtures, and improve foam volume in the presence of hard water or sebum. Some, however, aren't very foamy at all; instead, they are used to improve the qualities of other surfactants.

PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate is a non-ionic, low ethoxylated monoglyceride that can behave as an emulsifier, emollient, foamer, and skin conditioner in our products. It is a thickening polymer, meaning it will thicken your surfactant mix when used with anionic surfactants. It is emollient, which means it will reduce skin irritation from other surfactants, and will re-fatten your skin when you are bathing or shampooing. It can make the foam feel slippery, which is a nice thing in a body wash. It's not really a detergent type surfactant - you'd never use it as the primary or even co-surfactant because it's meant to boost the qualities of your surfactant mix. Use it at 2% to 10% in cleansers and shampoos.

Plantaren 2000N (decyl glucoside) is a very mild non-ionic cleanser that works well as both a primary or secondary surfactant as it is a good foamer. It has an alkaline pH - 7 to 9.5 - so you'll have to bring your pH down with citric acid or another acidic ingredient to ensure it reaches the right pH for skin and hair. (Another data sheet states the pH is 11.5! EEK!) It is about 48% to 52% active ingredients in the surfactant, and the suggested use is 4% to 40%. This is a great ingredient for a conditioning shampoo or body wash as it improves the cationic conditioning in your products, as well as offer foam stabilization.

Plantapon LGC Sorb (sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate) is not considered a polyglucoside, but I include it here anyway because it's part of the Plant- family of surfactants. It has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5, which is perfect for our hair and body care products. It shows excellent foaming, and works well with disodium cocoamphidiacetate. It's about 28.5% to 34% active in the bottle.

Plantasol CCG (caprylyl capryl glucoside) is a non-ionic solubilizer, much like polysorbate 20, and it can be used in surfactant systems to help emulsify oils or in a lotion as a high HLB emulsifier. It is not a foaming surfactant, but a surfactant enhancer. It is very compatible with surfactant systems, which means if you want some oils in your shampoo, this is the product you can use. The Herbarie recommends it for make up removers and facial cleansers because it is such a mild cleanser. The suggested use is 1% to 10%.

These surfactants are excellent for all skin types as they will moisturize skin without oils and offer gentle to mild cleansing. The down side is the pH in the Plantaren 2000 must be altered or it will not work well with our skin.

In this make-up remover recipe, try substituting one of these polyglucosides for the BSB in the recipe to enjoy a lovely mild, slightly foamy, slightly cleansing make-up remover!

Join me tomorrow for fun with non-ionic alkanolamides!


Claudia said...

Hi Susan,
Does decyl glucoside foam? Or do I need to use something like sodium lauroyl sarcosinate as foaming agent?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Claudia. Sorry, I should have included that information!

Decyl glucoside is a good foamer and mild cleanser and can be used as a primary or secondary surfactant.

Christine said...

Thanks, I've found this post immensely useful (as with all your posts!). Interesting to read decyl glucoside is so alkaline. I followed some recipe years ago to make shampoo with it, but I found it horrible... dried my hair out and made my hands get that feeling like the top layer had been stripped off. Not sure how else to describe it, but just this raw feeling to my skin. And any products off the shelf I've tried formulated with it give me the same feeling. I wonder if it's cause they don't balance the pH properly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan:
Do you have some shampoo's recipe with Plantapon LGC SORB?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. I don't have any recipes with the LGC Sorb because I don't have any with which I can experiment. As I noted in the post, it works well with disodium cocoamphidiacetate, so you could take a shampoo recipe and substitute the LGC sorb for one surfactant and the disodium cocoamphidiacetate for the coco betaine and see how you like it!

Kat said...

This may be a silly question, but I'm wondering if PEG-7 Cocoate is the same thing as PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate? You mention both in your post and I'm guessing they're the same thing, but I can't tell for sure. If they're not the same thing, can you share where you buy your PEG-7 Cocoate (because I only seem to find the PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate online? Thanks!

Mya Symons said...

I am trying to make a shampoo with about 1% essential oils and a carrier--possibly 2 to 3% olive oil or some other type of synthetic carrier for the essential oils. I would like to use Caprylyl capryl Glucose to emulsify the oils and water along with very mild surfactant as a foaming cleanser (possibly Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (and) Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate). Further, I am interested in trying Guar Conditioner, Alkyl Esters, Crothix and CocoBetaine(as an enhancer/secondary surfactant).

Here is my problem: I have no idea how to combine these ingredients properly mainly because I cannot find ANY recipe at all online using caprylyl capryl glucose. What do you do with this stuff? Do you heat it up and if so to what temperature? Do you add it to the water phase or the oil phase or neither? Help! Can you please give me a basic idea on how I would put these together? Please and thank you?

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan--I am very happy to find your blog...I have learned a lot from your blog. I do have a question, what is Decyl Glucoside's HLB? Also, if I use this as secondary surfactant, can I add Lactic acid to lower the pH? or its better to add citric acid? Thanks. I saw the post there is commend said the hair gets really dry after using using the shampoo with Decyl Glucoside, is that because of high pH?

San said...

Hi I have two jars of Plantaren 1200 and 1300, what can I use these for?
The ingrediants for Plantaren 1300 is:
Alkyle Polyglycoside

sumit said...

DO you know some HPLC analysis articles about testing alkyl poly glucosides? All I find is the following: J Chromatogr A. 2002 Jan 18;943(2):241-50. Thanks.

Anonymous said...


Is caprylyl capryl glucoside really the same as decyl glucoside? I already have decyl glucoside, and I'm interested in caprylyl because it seems like a great co-surfactant that will also as a great solubilizer so that I don't need polysorbate 80 (decreases foam) when I'm adding oils to a shampoo recipe. I know I can probably get away with up to 3% total oils, but I like to combine them with 1:1 polysorbate just to be safe.


Anonymous said...

I think I answered my own question. From ingredientstodiefor product description for decyl glucoside:

"Decyl Glucoside is comparable to the other Alkyl Polyglucoside Surfactants (Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside (c8-10), Coco Glucoside (c8-16), and Lauryl Glucoside (c12-16)) all being the combination of the glucoside and select fatty alcohols."

So decyl glucoside and caprylyl/capryl glucoside are from the same family of APGs and they are made similarly using a combination of sugars and fatty alcohols. The primary difference is the length of the alcohol's carbon chain (decyl is 10, caprylyl is 8 and capryl is 10). Caprylyl/capryl glucoside is also known as octyl/decyl glucoside (octyl=8 decyl=10) or C8-10 alkyl polyglucoside.


Ricardo Salazar said...

Hi Susan,

I read one of your blogs where you stated that you could thicken decyl glucoside formulations with Xanthan gum. Could you thicken other Alkylpolyglucosides such as Glucopon 215 or Glucopon 600 CS UP with Xanthan gum as well? Trying to use about 20% of the 215 and 7% of the 600 CS UP in a eco friendly laundry formula. If so, how much Xanthan gum should I go with? I was thinking 0.3%.

Thank you,


Sven Abrahamse said...

Hi all, am looking at how the herbarie has used the Plantapon LGC Sorb and CAPB. Can one use the same % to get about the same active matter and add Sodium cocoamphoacetate. of course now salt cannot be used to thicken and glutamate is SOOOOO expensive can one use peg -150 distearate or am i doomed to use something like arlypon TT also really expensive.Best Sven