Gleams & Notions

Organically-based Secondary Surfactant Is New from Arch

By Harvey M. Fishman, Consultant | March 31, 2009

Amaranth is a name applied to more than 50 species of annual plants. It is derived from the Greek amarantos which means unwithering. Because some of these plants do not fade rapidly, the name connotes immortality.

Two of its common, but quirky names include: “Love lies-bleeding” and “Prince’s-feather.” More than 30 species of amaranth are grown in Illinois, Nebraska and the southwestern U.S., several of which were imported from the tropics. In ancient Greece, it was considered sacred and reportedly had healing powers.

Much more recently, Arch Personal Care Products, South Plainfield, NJ, created a foaming peptide based on organic amaranth called Amaranth S (INCI proposed name: Sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed amaranth protein). It is based on amaranth grain from Peru, which is high in colloidal peptides and carbohydrates. The National Academy of Sciences said amaranth is one of the best sources of vegetable protein, and contains more of the nine essential amino acids than milk or soy.

The product is prepared by dispersing amaranth powder in water and enzymatically hydrolyzing it to make a colloidal solution, which is then filtered to produce a clear product. The solution is then reacted with acylated fatty acids from coconuts. The fatty acid group is covalently bonded to the protein chain. The carboxylic acid group is neutralized to produce the soluble foaming Amaranth S.

Amaranth S is said to be not a skin irritant, and a minimal ocular irritant. Foam height tests were run which showed that it foamed better than equal parts of sodium lauryl ether sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine but about one centimeter less than sodium lauryl sulfate. Foam height tests were rerun using 0.5 and 1% salt additions.It was observed that the salt lowered the foam heights of all the surfactants tested. However, Amaranth S had the best initial foam height and also good height after five minutes. Finally, a foam height test was run to show foaming in the presence of oil (1% triglyceride).

The oil reduced the initial foam heights of all the surfactants except sodium lauryl sulfate. Amaranth S produced the second best foaming in the oil foam test.

Following are the claimed attributes of the organically based secondary surfactant Amaranth S:
• Soft, gentle feel with no irritation;
• Biodegradable;
• Good compatibility with cationic, nonionic and anionic surfactants;
• Good co-solubilizing agent for cationic polymers;
• Compatibility in wide pH range; and
• Protein base enhances substantivity to skin and hair, leaving a conditioned feeling after rinsing.

Arch suggests the body wash below to illustrate its use:

Super Natural Shower Therapy

Xanthan gum0.5
Decyl gluoside25.00
Lauryl glucoside2.00
Cocoglucoside and glyceryl oleate 2.50
Betaine and hydroxypropyltrimonium honey3.00
Coco betaine10.00
Stearyl dihydroxypropyldimonium oligosaccharide2.00
Amaranth S10.00
Sucrose ester2.00
Lactoperoxidase and glucose oxide0.05
Polysorbate 201.00
Citric acidq.s.


With constant stirring, premix xanthan gum and glycerin until dissolved, then add to water in batch tank. In separate container, combine next three ingredients and heat to 50-55°C until uniform. Add to batch. Add next three ingredients to batch in indicated order. Add Amaranth S and sucrose ester. Lower temperature to below 40°C and add next two items. Premix Polysorbate 20 and fragrance and add to batch. Adjust pH to 5-6.5 with citric acid.

About the Author
Harvey Fishman has a consulting firm at 34 Chicasaw Drive, Oakland, NJ 07436,, specializing in cosmetic formulations and new product ideas, offering tested finished products. He has more than 30 years of experience and has been director of research at Bonat, Nestlé LeMur and Turner Hall. He welcomes descriptive literature from suppliers and bench chemists and others in the field.