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Our current processing time for in stock items is approximately one week.

Triethanolamine NF

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Triethanolamine NF, often abbreviated at TEA, is an organic compound derived from ammonia that is used as an alkalizing agent to adjust the ph of cosmetic products in low concentrations.

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.

In years past, TEA was sold at 85% and often contained a percentage of diethanolamine (DEA), the chief ethanolamine of concern in the formation of Nitrosamines, particularly NDELA (nitrosodiethanolamine), a potential carcinogen. Our Triethanolamine NF is 99.87% pure TEA and 0.13% water. It is lab assayed to contain 0.00% DEA.

  •     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