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Putting the FACT in Surfactants: Surfactant Overview

By March 27th, 2023No Comments
Putting the fact in surfactants

Surfactant Overview

Nearly all CPG and industrial products contain surfactants, but the traditional legacy versions of these ingredients come with an array of challenges. Petrochemical-based surfactants can have problematic supply chains that include:

  • Palm oil
  • Toxic by-products such as 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde
  • Proposition 65 trace chemicals
  • Side effects including skin irritation

These issues are driving a growing demand for sulfate-free surfactant alternatives or natural surfactants. While a few options exist, such as Alkyl Polyglucosides (APGs), most are made through carbon-intensive or synthetic chemical processes with higher costs—creating their own list of problems.

Natural Surfactant Alternative: Biosurfactants

Biosurfactants have been recognized as the best bio-based surfactant alternative to legacy surfactants due to their superior performance, versatility and lower usage rates. The problem? There wasn’t a production method that could make these natural surfactants commercially viable at the costs and scale needed for use in product formulations…until now. 

Locus Performance Ingredients developed production technology enabling the creation of high-purity, customizable biosurfactant solutions for CPG and industrial formulations. The company has multiple lines of sophorolipid ingredients—biosurfactants in the glycolipid class. They are designed to give formulators performance-driven and sustainable ingredient solutions that replace palm oil-based and petrochemical surfactants, minimize toxicity, reduce carbon footprint and maximize results.

Replacing Surfactants with Biosurfactants

Locus PI’s offers two line of sophorolipids that have remarkably low usage rates:

  • Ferma® S (INCI: glycolipids) for personal and home care uses—now offered by Dow
  • Amphi® for industrial applications

The biosurfactants are designed to replace or reduce the usage of traditional surfactants, bio-based surfactants like APGs, ethoxylates and sulfates in a multitude of formulations—without any of the irritation or toxic byproducts. They are USDA certified as 100% biobased and readily biodegradable for clean-label formulations with superior performance.

Locus PI’s biosurfactant ingredients can be used in household and personal care formulations, such as make-up removers, skin cleansers, shampoos, moisturizers, surface and carpet cleaners, and more. They can also replace surfactants in industrial uses, including as degreasers, defoamers, cleaners, solubilizers and more.

The sophorolipid biosurfactants come in two specifications that meet applications at either end of the HLB (hydrophilic-lipophilic balance) scale. These two specifications are also perfectly compatible for blending and are designed for creative formulators who have unique formulations that require custom surfactant solutions.

Full Report
Want to learn more about surfactants and Locus PI’s biosurfactants as natural surfactant alternatives in product formulations? Download our white paper with all the must-know facts: