Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate: What Is It, Skin Benefits, Cosmetic Uses & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: October 19, 2023
Table of Contents

Ever glanced at the back of your favorite skincare product and been completely baffled by the long list of ingredients with complex names? I’d be the first to admit that it could feel like you need an advanced degree in chemistry to understand what goes into your facial cleansers, moisturizers, or serums!

One such ingredient you may have stumbled upon is Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate – it might look like just another random chemical-name, but behind this scientific nomenclature hides a component widely used in the beauty industry.

This article will explain everything you need to know about Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, including its origins, primary functions in cosmetics, its benefits for the skin, and potential side effects.

What is Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate?

Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate is a mild, biodegradable surfactant derived from coconut oil and fermented sugar.

This ingredient plays a vital role in cosmetic formulations: its primary role is to help water mix with oils and dirt so they can be rinsed away, leaving the skin clean and soft.

Science jargon aside, think of Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate as the gentle mediator between water, oil, and dirt. Its foam-producing properties help wash off impurities from the skin surface without disrupting the skin’s natural barrier.

Because of its skin-friendly nature and multiple uses, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate is often found in products like facial cleansers, body washes, and shampoos, used for its surfactant properties.

Although very useful, this ingredient is hardly a skincare superstar in the same way Hyaluronic Acid or Niacinamide is – you’re highly unlikely to find it as a standalone product; instead, you’re likely to find it as part of a broader formulation of ingredients.

The concentration levels of Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate vary between products, but it’s generally used around the 0.1-5% mark.

Who Can Use Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate?

The beauty of Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate lies in its adaptability. Thanks to its mild and non-irritating nature, it’s well-suited for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Its gentle cleansing ability allows it to effectively clean without stripping the skin of its natural oils, making it a go-to ingredient for balanced skincare products.

As for those following a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, this ingredient is obtained from coconut oil and fermented sugar, making it a good fit.

For women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate is also considered safe to use, however, the research into this exact topic is somewhat limited. As always, it’s recommended to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating any new products into your routine.

Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate Skin Benefits

When it comes to skincare, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate is a multi-tasker. Based on its official function, its primary benefits for the skin include:

  • Gentle Cleansing: Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate is an effective cleanser. Its role is to help dissolve dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin. It works by helping water to mix with oil and dirt, breaking them down so they can be easily rinsed away. The result is a thorough yet gentle clean that won’t leave skin feeling tight or dry.
  • Preserving Skin’s Natural Barrier: Unlike harsher surfactants, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate is gentle on the skin’s natural barrier. It cleans without stripping the skin of its natural oils, which is crucial for maintaining skin’s overall health and preventing dryness or irritation.
  • Sensitive Skin-friendly: Due to its mild nature, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate is ideal for sensitive skin. It provides effective cleansing without causing the discomfort or redness that can come from more potent cleansing agents.

However, it’s important to note that these beneficial effects are not permanent. Consistent use of skincare products containing Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate is key to maintaining its benefits.

Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate’s Non-active Cosmetic Uses

In the context of cosmetics, “non-active” refers to ingredients that do not directly affect the structure or function of the skin but contribute to the product’s overall performance, stability, or aesthetic qualities.

As a surfactant (a non-active function), Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate serves several roles such as:

  • Foam Booster: Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate enhances the foaming capacity of cosmetic products. The higher the foam, the better the spreadability of the product on the skin, improving the user’s sensory experience.
  • Stabilizing Emulsions: Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate helps to stabilize emulsions, which are mixtures of water and oil, common in many cosmetic products. By reducing the surface tension between oil and water, it ensures the ingredients remain blended, and the product maintains a consistent, smooth texture.
  • Enhancing Ingredient Solubility: It improves the solubility of other ingredients in a formulation. This property ensures that all components in a product dissolve properly, preventing separation or uneven distribution of ingredients.

Remember, even though these functions might seem secondary, they play a crucial role in determining a product’s effectiveness, stability, and overall user experience.

Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate Potential Side Effects

Regarding skincare ingredients, it’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is unique. As a result, reactions to any particular ingredient, including Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, can vary significantly from person to person due to skin type, sensitivity levels, and individual allergies. Understanding your skin type can give you a better idea of how your skin might react to different ingredients or products.

While Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate is generally considered safe and mild, there are a few potential side effects to be aware of:

  • Skin Irritation: Although rare, some people may experience skin irritation or allergic reactions characterized by redness, itching, or swelling.
  • Dryness: In some cases, despite its gentle nature, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate might cause dryness, especially for those with already dry skin.

If you experience any of these side effects while using a product with Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, it’s recommended to stop using the product immediately and consult with a healthcare or skin care professional.

Remember, adverse reactions to Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate are generally rare. Most people can use products containing this ingredient without any issues, as it is considered safe and effective.

However, to avoid any unwelcome surprises, performing a patch test before introducing a new product into your skincare regimen is always advisable. A patch test involves applying a small amount of the product to a discreet area of the skin to check for any adverse reactions. To learn more about how to do a patch test properly, here’s our handy patch-testing guide.

Comedogenic Rating

Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate has a comedogenic rating of 0/5.

This rating measures how likely an ingredient is to clog pores, with 0 indicating that it is non-comedogenic and 5 indicating high comedogenicity. T

his gentle surfactant is derived from natural sources such as coconut oil and fermented sugar, which are unlikely to clog pores. This makes Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate a favorable ingredient for those prone to acne or breakouts as it gently cleanses the skin without causing pore blockage, reducing the chance of acne formation.


The quest for flawless skin often involves a bit of trial and error and, more importantly, consistency. Once you find ingredients that work well with your skin, maintaining a regular skincare routine is key to maximizing their effects.

Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, with its dual role, serves as the perfect example. On the one hand, it’s a non-active ingredient that boosts foaming, enhances ingredient solubility, and stabilizes emulsions. On the other hand, it actively benefits the skin by providing gentle, effective cleansing without disrupting its natural barrier.

Why might you opt for products containing Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate over others? Its gentle nature makes it ideal for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Its low comedogenic rating also makes it an excellent choice for those prone to acne. As a bonus, it’s derived from natural sources, making it a good choice for those seeking clean, plant-based skincare.

Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate may not be a headline-grabbing, avant-garde ingredient, but its popularity in the cosmetics industry stems from its efficacy and versatility. It’s similar in function to other mild surfactants, like Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate or Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate.

As with most skincare ingredients, patience is key. It might take several weeks of consistent use before you start seeing the benefits of Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate in your skincare routine.

If you have any concerns about this ingredient, remember while it is generally considered safe and mild, individual reactions can vary. It’s always a good idea to consult your dermatologist or skincare professional about introducing new ingredients or products into your regimen. Happy experimenting!

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