Decyl glucoside is a plant-based surfactant that usually appears as a clear liquid with a mild sweet fatty aroma, and is found in many cleaning products, soaps and cleansers. We use this ingredient in some of our personal care and cleaning products for its gentle but effective cleansing properties, and general compatibility with sensitive skin.
Decyl glucoside is derived from glucose (from corn or potato) and decyl alcohol (from coconut or palm). It's what's known as a ‘non-ionic surfactant’, which means the molecules have no charge and help deliver non-streak cleaning. It also contributes to lather, wetting and suspension of soils in products like shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, wool wash and facial cleansers.
Regarding its safety profile, a group of Alkyl Glucosides, including decyl glucoside, were assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel in 2013. They reviewed their safety for dermal exposure in cosmetics and concluded they are “safe in the present practices of use and concentration when formulated to be nonirritating.” EWG notes studies showing allergic contact dermatitis to decyl and lauryl glucoside exists in a small percentage of the population, and appropriate care should be taken for those with sensitivities. This ingredient is also listed by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) as being readily biodegradable, with low potential for bioaccumulation or aquatic toxicity.
Other names: C16H32O6; D-Glucoside, Decyl
Chemical class: Carbohydrates, Ethers
Fiume, M. M., Heldreth, B., Bergfeld, W. F., Belsito, D. V., Hill, R. A., Klaassen, C. D., Liebler, D., Marks, J. G., Shank, R. C., Slaga, T. J., Snyder, P. W., & Andersen, F. A. (2013). Safety Assessment of Decyl Glucoside and Other Alkyl Glucosides as Used in Cosmetics. International Journal of Toxicology, 32(5_suppl), 22S-48S. https://doi.org/10.1177/1091581813497764
European Chemicals Agency (2022). D-Glucopyranose, oligomers, decyl octyl glycosides. EC number: 500-220-1 | CAS number: 68515-73-1. https://echa.europa.eu/registration-dossier/-/registered-dossier/14947/6/1
National Center for Biotechnology Information (2022). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 3033856, Decyl glucoside. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Decyl-glucoside