Cetyl Betaine


Cleansing Agent

No known benefits

Cetyl Betaine at a glance

  • Type of salt formed with a compound with acidic + basic properties
  • Helps trap dirt to make it more easily rinsed from skin and hair
  • Serves as an anti-static and conditioning agent
  • Often used as a secondary surfactant
  • Ruled safe as used in cosmetics

Cetyl Betaine description

Cetyl betaine is an inner salt, a type of salt formed within a compound having both acidic and basic (alkaline) properties. Specifically, it is a surface-active agent, or surfactant, that has many uses in skin care and hair care products. As a mild cleansing agent, it helps trap dirt to make it easier to rinse away. It also serves as an anti-static agent, skin and hair conditioning ingredient, and helps boost and maintain foam production in cleansers. Cetyl betaine is used in concentrations between 0.36-7.4% in cosmetics, mostly in rinse-off formulas. It has been ruled safe in its current usage by the independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel. Note that this ingredient is often combined with other surfactants to create a more thorough yet still gentle cleansing experience.

Cetyl Betaine references

  • Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering, July 2018, pages 880-890
  • International Journal of Toxicology, May/June 2018, pages 28S-46S

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.