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Building Shampoo

By: Eric Abrutyn
Posted: March 2, 2012, from the March 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Sulfosuccinates: Based on carboxylate and sulfonate groups, sulfosuccinates provide good foaming properties and reduce the eye and skin irritation of alkyl ether sulfate systems. Fatty alkanolamides: Fatty alkanolamides are classified as good foam and viscosity enhancers, specifically with alkyl ether sulfates. This class of materials has the potential to generate nitrosamines—a class of chemical compounds that can be carcinogenetic.

Amine oxides: Amine oxides are best known for their good foaming characteristics and more stable lather at acidic pH levels. Betaines: Betaines are classified as amphoterics having low irritation and good compatibility with most surfactants and quaternary conditioners. However, their use at low pH levels should be avoided because amphoterics can become positively charged and increase irritation. Alkyl-substituted betaines function better in acidic mediums, requiring higher pH levels for optimum foam characteristics.

Commercial Shampoos

Shampoos provide a basic hair cleansing benefit, but in order to differentiate products from the competition and provide multiple benefits in one product, several niche markets have evolved. Below are some examples of shampoos providing different benefits and based on different surfactant combinations. The formulas presented were taken from sources of public domain and are estimates of the ingredient percentages and procedures used.

Desert Essence Tea Tree Replenishing Shampoo: This formula is a pH-balanced shampoo containing essential oils and plant extracts with natural fragrances. The natural medicinal properties of eucalyptus are formulated with powerful yet gentle Australian tea tree oil to help heal flaking scalps. Peppermint oil is said to offer reviving, cooling comfort while yucca conditions the hair for a shiny finish. Other benefits including the restoration of balanced moisture, added shine and deep cleansing without stripping hair’s natural emollients.

Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy Shampoo: This shampoo was developed to provide gentle cleansing to maintain the nutrients in healthy hair. It is formulated with keratin protein for lasting protection, and is recommended for dry, chemically over-processed or damaged hair.