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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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Pert Plus Anti-Dandruff 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner: This two-in-one shampoo is designed to control the symptoms of dandruff using pyrithione zinc. The classic, simple surfactant system is comprised of ammonium lauryl sulfate and cocamide DEA with a buffer of amino methyl propanol to provide good cleansing.

John Frieda Root Awakening Health Infusing Shampoo for Normal Hair: This shampoo improves hair health with natural eucalyptus, which is said to refresh and moisturize hair for a soft, silky feel. The marketed claims are likely supported by the scalp tingling generated from the combination of peppermint, eucalyptus and menthol. In addition, this low-pH formula utilizes malic acid to help lift the cuticle and support hair repair.


Even though surfactants are the key ingredient in shampoo formulations, it is important that product development teams are aware of the other requirements needed in order for a formula to gain consumer acceptance. For instance, a product must be formulated at the proper dispensing viscosity, which can be accomplished through viscosity modifiers such as salts, cellulosic derivatives such as hydroxylethylcellulose, and/or modified acrylics such as carbomer.

There also continues to be pressure to use sodium/ammonium lauryl/laureth sulfates and other non-renewable ingredients derived from natural sources. The trend to move away from synthetic surfactants by niche and more prestige brands will continue to reinforce consumer awareness that such replacements exist, thus putting pressure on commodity market brands to look for alternative surfactants with “better,” renewable origins.

Eric Abrutyn is an active member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, an advisory board member for Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine, and chairman of the Personal Care Products Council’s International Nomenclature (INCI) Committee. Recently retired from Kao Brands, Abrutyn founded TPC2 Advisors Ltd., Inc., a personal care consulting business. Abrutyn has more than 35 years of experience in the raw material supplier and skin and hair care manufacturer aspects of personal care.