Cocamide DEA And MEA


Cleansing Agent

No known benefits

Cocamide DEA And MEA description

Both cocamide DEA (diethanolamine) and MEA (monoethanolamine) are widely used to thicken the water phase of cosmetics, keep ingredients blended, and boost foaming properties. Derived from plants (typically coconut oil) or made synthetically, these ingredients have been thoroughly evaluated for safety and are permitted for use in leave-on products in concentrations up to 10%. Cocamide DEA can react with other ingredients to form harmful substances known as nitrosamines. According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Board, “To prevent the formation of possibly [harmful] nitrosamines, these ingredients should not be used in cosmetics and personal care products containing nitrosating agents.” The CIR Expert Panel concluded that “Cocamide DEA was safe as used in rinse-off products and safe at concentrations of less than or equal to 10% in leave-on products.”

Cocamide DEA And MEA references

  • International Journal of Toxicology, May-June 2013, 3S, pages 26S-58S

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.