Home > Knowledge center > Cosmetics



Herbert Hofman


March 2024


CosmeticsInnovationSurfactantsbiobasedsustainable100% organicpersonal care


The Sirius Effect:

Green raw materials are becoming increasingly inportant for the cosmetic industry. Not only because consumers are increasingly demanding this, but also because the supply of biobased raw materials for cosmetic products is increasing. This also applies to Sirius International's portfolio, which increasingly contains surfactants that are very suitable for use in rinse-off cosmetics. Each of these products offers great opportunities to make cosmetics and personal care products even more green and sustainable!

A clear Sirius effect!

"Biobased surfactants for rinse-off cosmetics"


Cosmetic products can be divided into two groups: leave-on and rinse-off. Leave-on products are intended to be applied to the body and left there for a longer period. Examples include make-up, creams, body lotion, sunscreen and insect sprays. Rinse-off products, on the other hand, are removed immediately after application to the skin or hair. Consider, for example, shampoos, facial cleansers, make-up removers, body wash and hand soap. Surfactants are an important ingredient, especially in these rinse-off products. There are also many of these types of rinse-off products on the market for animals, such as dog shampoos, that contain similar surfactants. Now, many rinse-off cosmetics still contain surfactants of petrochemical origin, while it is actually relatively easy to replace these with biobased variants.

1-to-1 replacement

The first option is to replace a petrochemical surfactant with a biobased variant that chemically looks exactly the same. This is easy to implement because it does not require any adjustments in formulation and production. For example, petrochemical SLES, which is currently still widely used, can be very easily replaced by the 100% biological Ethoxybrite SLES from Sirius International. There are currently several rinse-off cosmetic products on the market in which this Ethoxybrite SLES is used.

Unchanged ingredient list

Such a 1-on-1 replacement has many advantages, but is unfortunately not always visible to the consumer. The ingredient list that is mandatory on every cosmetic product, the so-called INCI, does not distinguish between products of petrochemical and biological origin. Consumers who check this ingredient list using an app or website will often draw the incorrect conclusion that the product still contains petrochemical substances. It is hoped that this will change in the future, to do justice to the origin of ingredients, but this is not yet the case. It is good to be aware of this and to ensure good communication about this to the consumer.

Mild biobased surfactants

However, an alternative approach is possible. Petrochemical surfactants can also be replaced by various mild surfactants that Sirius has developed, all of which are biobased and biodegradable. These surfactants have several advantages. They are all sulfate-free and ethoxylate-free and they are extra mild, which means they cause even less irritation. In addition, they are RSPO certified and eligible for the ECOCERT COSMOS quality mark for sustainable cosmetics.

Examples of these mild surfactants in Sirius International's portfolio are the long-standing Britens APG, the relatively new Britens Glutamate, Britens Glycinate, Britens Alalinate and the most recent addition Britens Glucamide. The latter surfactant is extra sustainable, as it is made from recycled biobased organic fatty acids.

These mild surfactants are not completely chemically identical to the petrochemical variants, which makes it necessary to reformulate the product slightly. Because Sirius International has been part of the Azelis group since last year, we can offer you support with this. Azelis has many formulation and application support laboratories, where we help our customers to investigate the formulation of their product. In these laboratories you can test exactly what the effect is of replacing the petrochemical surfactants with one of our mild biobased surfactants.

Combinations possible

Of course, a combination of both options is also possible, where you choose to replace petrochemical SLES with Ethoxybrite SLES, and add one of our mild surfactants as a cosurfactant.

Would you like to know more about one of these options and discover what the possibilities are for your company? Please feel free to contact us!


© Copyright Sirius International Detergents BV | Sirius International Water Treatment BV


Latest blogs in your mailbox?

We’re happy to share our knowledge with you. Interested? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Did you know that the topics correspond to the unique Sirius desk calendar? Of course we’ll be happy to send it to you as well.

Other blogs

All blogs

We are proud to comply with:


Design: Inzpire Design & Communicatie | Development: Haagen Web & App