Various makeup items and brushes on a white background stamped with a red circle with a line through it


WHAT IS IT? It is a viscous liquid, made by reacting the mixture of fatty acids from coconut oils with diethanolamine. It is used as a foaming and emulsifying agent to help thicken shampoo, body wash and facial cleansers. It offers no benefits to the skin!

HEALTH RISK: These three are hormone-disrupting chemicals & may form cancer-causing agents. They have been linked to miscarriages and inhibiting fetal brain development. They are easily absorbed by the skin and research indicates a strong link to liver and kidney cancer. There is also evidence that carcinogens form when Cocamide DEA is applied to the skin and in reaction with other ingredients.

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From our friends


  1. how about TEA ,MEA ? can it cause cancer too?

    midori | 08.09.2012 | Reply
  2. I am a vegetarian and use natural and irganic products, i bought a shampoo a condition a whole food, i am a cosmetologist, so i used a lot of shampoo and condition and color, i wanted to try a natural shampoo but was surprised it contain cocamide mea? Why do they have to use it in natural shampoo if it is that bad? Should i mention it a whole food?

    Sylvette | 10.06.2013 | Reply
  3. it was only a thaught,but ever since i have used a shampoo and conditioner with cocamide i have developed bald spots
    at the back of my head but i believe the shampoo and conditioner caused it,never suffered anything like this previously

    michelle | 01.30.2014 | Reply
  4. I have been having breakouts on my scalp and couldn’t fiqure out why could it be that I am using a shampoo with cocamide mea in it?

    • Could be…try switching and see if you notice a difference after a few weeks! It might take a while for your scalp to adjust, but you very may well see a difference after!

      The Chalkboard | 03.18.2014 | Reply
  5. […] likely carcinogens are used as emulsifiers and foaming agents for shampoos, soaps, and body […]

    The High Price Of Beauty | HoneyColony | 12.01.2015 | Reply
  6. Having recently been diagnosed with a severe sensitivity to Cocamide DEA, Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB), Glyceryl Monothioglycolate, and Polysorbate 80, I feel my search for products that DO NOT contain these chemical compounds is futile. It seems the EVERYTHING (personal care products, cosmetics, etc.) contain coconut oil or one of its derivatives. Can anyone help me find either body wash and/or bar soap that do not include these toxins? Not only do I have itching and rashes when using products with coconut oil, but my lips have become dry and blistered (which is particularly worse after using a shampoo using such products); and old wound sites on my body from 10 and 17 years ago are becoming red, inflamed, and itchy.

    Blanche Baudouin | 05.16.2018 | Reply
  7. If you are allergic to cocoanut and it’s derivatives, Look for soaps that contain 100% olive oil or laurel oil, or perhaps a combination after checking if you tolerate both. Look up “100 % olive oil” and / or “100 % laurel oil”. Good luck!

    Barry | 10.22.2018 | Reply

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