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CAS No. 102-71-6

Triethanolamine is 99% pure triethanolamine. Often abbreviated as TEA, it is an amine, an organic compound derived from ammonia which is used in low concentrations as as an alkalizing agent to increase the pH of cosmetic formulations.

When combined with stearic acid, it forms a mild soap that functions as a primary or secondary emulsifier in cosmetic formulations. In this use, it is generally used in a 2:1 ratio -- 2 parts stearic acid is neutralized by 1 part triethanolamine be weight. In practice, slightly less triethanolamine should be used to ensure TEA is the limiting reactant so that no free triethanolamine is left in the finished product.

Triethanolamine can also be used to neutralize Carbomer to enable it to thicken to a gel. In determining the amount to use, the general rule of thumb is to use equal amounts of TEA to Carbomer. In practice, as in the above example, slightly less TEA should be used.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review has found Triethanolamine safe for use in rinse-off products, but recommends it not exceed 5% in leave-on cosmetic products. Additionally, it should not be used in products which also contain N-nitrosating agents to avoid the potential to form nitrosamines. N-nitrosating agents include the preservatives Bronopol, Bronidox L, and sodium nitrate.

Our Triethanolamine complies with EU Annex III.  It contains less than 0.5% diethanolamine and less than 50 microgram/kg nitrosamines.

According to the FDA, Nitrosamines are avoidable by proper formulation: by not using amines or amino derivatives in combination with a nitrosating agent and by testing the product under use conditions to make sure that nitrosamines do not form under customary conditions of use.

Recommended Usage Rate: Less than 5%
Appearance: Clear, pale yellow viscous liquid
Odor: Characteristic weak ammonia odor
Solubility: Soluble in water and alcohol

INCI: Triethanolamine

Here you will find Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) and Technical Data Sheets. The files are in PDF format. To access a file, click on the relevant button or the file name. For your convenience, it will open up in a new browser window.

Please note: You must have Acrobat Reader to view the files listed here. If necessary, the Acrobat Reader link will directed you to a page where it can be downloaded.

Technical Data

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)

Triethanolamine  MSDS


Lotioncrafter formulas in which this ingredient appears are listed below. Formulas are used as a means to provide basic formulating information and guidance in the use of ingredients Lotioncrafter supplies. Formulations are provided in percentages, grams and ounces. Most create a batch size of 1000g (33 ounces). Because percentages are provided, they can be sized up or down with ease.

The files are in PDF format. To access a file, click on the relevant button or the file name. For your convenience, it will open up in a new browser window.

Please note: You must have Acrobat Reader to view the files listed here. If necessary, the Acrobat Reader link will directed you to a page where it can be downloaded.


DIY C&E with Ferulic Acid

By accessing this formulation you acknowledge that it is your responsibility to ensure formulation integrity and freedom to practice and that the information herein is provided with no warranties express or implied. Ensuring suitability and stability is your responsibility in every respect and should include doing appropriate formula stability and preservative efficacy testing as well as appropriate patent search and analysis.

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