Triethanolamine (TEA)


Triethanolamine (TEA) is a pH modifying non-active ingredient used to balance the pH of formulations and stabilise them it does not have any  active effect on the skin. This ingredient improves the feel of the product and the way that it interacts with the skin. Triethanolamine is found in a range of cosmetic and skin care products such as moisturizers, lotions, mascaras, eyeliners, etc. Additionally, Triethanolamine is non-comedogenic and does not cause acne.

What is TRIETHANOLAMINE used for?

Triethanolamine is used in a range of products in the cosmetic industry but it has no direct effect on the skin and hair. It is supposed to be an inactive ingredient that keeps the formulations usable and preserves the texture.  For skin care products, it is added to reduce the acidity or alkalinity of the formulations. Products that have neutral pH levels do not irritate the skin.
In cosmetics formulations, it keeps the ingredients from separating. It is a great emulsifier that holds everything together to result in an ideal product, basically the Triethanolamine (TEA) will react with a fatty acid such as Stearic Acid, when heat is present to form a soap-based emulsifier as the emulsion is forming and cooling.  This process was once very common and can be used to form cost-effective and relatively stable and light emulsions.
In hair care products, Triethanolamine balances the pH levels and also acts as a thickening agent. It maintains an ideal consistency for a better spreadability of the product.

Triethanolamine is a powerful base which means it is strongly alkaline and can be used to adjust your pH upwards if needed.  As a pH adjuster it can be used to neutralise carbomer based thickeners as an alternative to Sodium Hydroxide.

Additional information

Weight N/A
Dimensions N/A

0.10 kg (100g), 0.5 kg, 1 kg

Technical Data



CAS Number 102-71-6
Chem/IUPAC Name: 2,2′,2”-Nitrilotriethanol
EINECS/ELINCS No: 203-049-8
COSING REF No: 38702
Chemical  Name: Triethanolamine TEA85
Molecular  weight: 149.2
Molecular Formula: C6H15NO3
INCI Name: Triethanolamine


Triethanolamine is safe for skin and hair when used in lower concentrations between 0.1-3%. Concentrations higher than this may cause irritation and redness. A patch test is recommended prior to full application. Triethanolamine ingredient is not a carcinogen unless and until it is used along with N-nitrosating agents in a product.  Triethanolamine is produced synthetically from the reaction of ethylene oxide with aqueous ammonia. Byproducts are ethanolamine and diethanolamine.

It is also vegan and halal.