What Is It?

Triisopropanolamine and Diisopropanolamine are white solids, whereas Isopropanolamine and Mixed Isopropanolamines occur as clear, colorless liquids. In cosmetics and personal care products, these ingredients are used in the formulation of permanent waves and other hair products, and bath, skin, fragrance and indoor tanning products.

Why Is It Used?

Triisopropanolamine, Diisopropanolamine, Isopropanolamine and Mixed Isopropanolamines are used to control the pH of cosmetics and personal care products, and these ingredients help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified. Triisopropanolamine also prevents the corrosion (rust) of metallic materials used in packaging cosmetics and personal care products.

Scientific Facts

Diisopropanolamine and Isopropanolamine have a tendency to darken in color with prolonged exposure to air or iron. Triisopropanolamine reduces the tendency of a metal used in packaging to be attacked by the contents of the package.

Safety Information

The safety of Triisopropanolamine, Diisopropanolamine, Isopropanolamine, and Mixed Isopropanolamines has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Diisopropanolamine, Triisopropanolamine, Isopropanolamine and Mixed Isopropanolamines were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products when used at concentrations similar to those described in the report. The Isopropanolamines should not be used in products containing N-nitrosating agents. In 2004, as part of the scheduled re-evaluation of ingredients, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on these ingredients and reaffirmed the above conclusion.

CIR Safety Review: Diisopropanolamine and Isopropanolamine at concentrations of 2% did not induce allergic contact dermatitis or photoallergic dermatitis in humans. In clinical studies, cosmetics and personal care products containing no more than 1% Diisopropanolamine or 1.1% Triisopropanolamine were minimal skin irritants and contact sensitizers. The CIR Expert Panel also acknowledged that cosmetics and personal care products containing Isopropanolamines may give rise to nitrosoamines in the presence of nitrate or other nitrosating agents.

More information about nitrosamines

Diisopropanolamine is not allowed to be used in cosmetic and personal care products marketed in Europe (see Annex II of the Cosmetics Directive). When certain restrictions are followed, Isopropanolamine, Mixed Isopropanolamines, and Triisopropanolamines can be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe (see Annex III of the Cosmetics Directive).

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:

More Scientific Information

Diisopropanolamine, Triisopropanolamine, Isopropanolamine and Mixed Isopropanolamine are aliphatic amines of isopropyl alcohol. In cosmetics and personal care products, these four ingredients are used as surfactants (water-soluble emulsifying agents) and pH adjusters. Triisopropanolamine also functions as a corrosion inhibitor.


The European Commission’s opinion concerning Dialkyl- and Dialkanolamines and their salts in cosmetic products http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/sccp/docshtml/sccp_out144_…

Search the Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm

EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/