Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Surfactants: A short guide to things lathery and foamy

What the heck is a surfactant? The word surfactant is short for "surface active agent" and has a hydrophilic (water-loving) head and a lipophilic (oil-loving) or hydrophobic (water-hating) tail. This means it can bring things together like oil and water. So an emulsifier, like emulsifying wax or Incroquat BTMS, is a surfactant.


But I'm more interested in talking about surfactants as detergents, those foaming, lathering, bubbly ingredients we use to create bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, and other cleansing items for the shower or tub.

There are four main categories of surfactants we would use when making bubbly items....

Anionic: Negatively charged, these would be the base of your surfactant mix. They offer a lot of lather and detergency to the mix, excellent foamers. Some can be irritating to skin, so you can add other ingredients for mildness.

Amphoteric: Negatively or positively charged depending upon the pH level. The one we'll be using the most is cocamidopropyl betaine (Amphosol CG). It adds mildness and viscosity to mix, but will offer less foam than the anionic surfactants, which is why we don't use it on its own.

Non-ionic: These are not great foamers, and are used primarily as emulsifiers in your bubbly products. Polysorbate 20 is great for adding small amounts of fragrance or essential oils to your creations. Polysorbate 80 is great for adding oils to shampoos. Both will reduce the foam you see in your creation just slightly.

Cationic: These are positively charged, and are generally found in conditioning ingredients (Incroquat BTMS, Incroquat CR, polyquat 7 or Condition-eze 7, honeyquat, cetrimonium chloride). These do reduce some of the foaming of your body wash (for instance), so using it at 1 to 2% should offer your conditioning features without reducing the foam too much.

We never use just one of these types of surfactants as each brings something to the party. For instance, an anionic surfactant will offer good bubbles, foam, and lather but might be a bit harsh (harsh being a relative word...). So we add some amphoteric surfactant to the mix and this will make it milder and thicker. I like to add a cationic surfactant to my shampoos and body wash to offer some conditioning at about 2 to 3% maximum, and I'd include a non-ionic if I had a large amount of oil I wanted to emulsify, say for a shampoo for dry hair.

There are dozens of surfactants to choose from when creating; the list below are surfactants I like to use and ones I can find locally.

Cocamidopropyl betaine (Amphosol CG, found at Voyageur): Amphoteric. A humectant. Good foaming properties. Good flash foam and foam stabilization properties. Adding this amphoteric to an anionic mix will reduce the harshness of the other surfactants and changes the viscosity. It is a good anti-static for hair. Poor to mild cleanser. Good where mildness is vital -- babies or sensitive skin -- but primarily used as a secondary surfactant.

Bioterge 804 (found at Voyageur): Anionic. A gentle surfactant. Good cleansing, fluffy lather. I find this one is great for oily hair shampoos.

Bioterge AS-40 (Sodium c-14-16 olefin sulfonate, found at Voyageur): Anionic. Good cleansing. Excellent flash foam.

Bioterge AS-90: (sodium c-14-16 olefin sulfonate, found at Voyageur): Anionic. Powder form of AS-40.

SLeS (Sodium Laureth Sulphate, found at Voyageur and Aquarius): Anionic. A very mild cleanser with low irritation properties. Rich foam, good cleansing. I generally use Steol C-230 from Voyageur.

BSB (PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, PEG-150 Distearate, Sodium Laureth-13 Carboxylate, Quaternium-15, found at Voyageur): Anionic. Very gentle with mild cleansing. Very thick, so adds viscosity.

SCI (sodium cocoyl isethionate, found at Aquarius as Jordapron prilled): Anionic. Noodles or flakes. Mild cleansing. Offers a rich creamy foam -- hair feels conditioned afterwards. Foam booster. Thickens mixtures.

SLSa (sodium lauryl sulfoacetate, Lanthanol at Voyageur or Suds & Scents, SLSa at Voyageur): Anionic. Powder form. Mild and non-drying (I disagree the "non drying" part.) High volume and long lasting foam. Provides LOTS of bubbles.

Decyl Glucose (Plantapon 2000, found at Voyageur): A mild surfactant made from glucose and coconut oil. Would be great for mild cleansing. It does have a high pH, so if you have a pH meter or pH strips, use them when formulating with this product! It is plant derived, so it is suitable for vegan products, and is 100% biodegradable. (As a note, I'm not sure why Plantapon is described as vegan because it's not like the other surfactants are made of pork!)

LSB Surfactant (Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, found at Voyageur): Anionic. Very mild and a good substitution for BSB. As it contains a sulfosuccinate, it is a great degreaser and would be wonderful for use in products designed for oily hair and body products. Would be nice in a facial cleanser.

DLS Mild (disodium laureth sulfosuccinate): Anionic. Mild cleanser, good for sensitive skin. A good co-surfactant for oily hair. Skin feels soft and conditioned.

SMC Taurate (sodium methyl cocoyl taurate): Anionic. High foaming. Mild cleanser. Primary or co-surfactant.

I am a huge fan of knowing your ingredients, but even more so with surfactants. With a few surfactants -- my base is generally Amphosol CG, Bioterge AS-40, and BSB -- you create many different products by changing the ratios.

If you are formulating from scratch, ask yourself how concentrated you want the mix to be. I usually use between 40 to 50% surfactants, with the rest being water and other goodies suitable to the product, like proteins or hair loving silicones! (As a note, some suggestions are made about being 20 to 40% mixture of surfactants to water, but I like my products to be very concentrated so I can use less.)

If you are creating a bubble bath, you'll want to use surfactants with good flash foam (coco betaine or AS-90), foam stabilization (coco betaine), foam boosting (coco betaine or SCI), long lasting bubbles (SLSa), and high volume bubbles (SLSa).

If you want to create a shampoo for oily hair, consider something like Bioterge 804 (good cleansing, fluffy lather) and DLS Mild or LSB (sulfosuccinates are great at degreasing) or SCI (rich creamy foam, conditioning). For dry hair, you might want to include coco betaine for the humectant-y qualities. For a baby shampoo, mild is the key -- BSB, LSB, or DLS Mild.

If you want a body wash, you'll want mild to good cleansing with fluffy lather, so consider coco betaine (it reduces irritation and thickens the mixture), Bioterge AS-90 (good flash foam, good cleanser) and BSB (thickens, gentle cleanser).

If you want a facial cleanser, you will want mildness without huge bubbles or lather, and something that reduces irritation would be a good thing as well, so I'd choose the BSB or DLS mild for the mild cleansing, or I might use the AS-40 for a stronger cleanser. Although the SMC taurate looks like a good idea, it is very foamy, which is hard to rinse off! I always add a dash of coco betaine to make it milder, so that would be a good inclusion -- it's a humectant, a mild cleanser, and reduces irritation, but I don't want much because I don't want a ton of foam.

And if you wanted a solid surfactant mixture, like a bubble bar or shampoo bar, you'd want to use mostly the powdered, noodled, or flaked surfactants like SCI or SLSa, with a splash of liquid surfactant (I like DLS Mild, Bioterge 804, or LSB for my oily hair) to enhance the mixture. Obviously, you aren't going to have the 50:50 mix of surfactants to water here. You're going to use a 100% non-water mixture, with about 60 to 80% solid surfactants, the rest liquid surfactants or goodies for your hair (like proteins, silicones, and conditioners).

Well, I fear I've gone on too long here, but you can tell how much I love surfactants!

Tomorrow: We learn how to put this together with a body wash!

48 comments:

blandine said...

Hi!

I have two surfactants:
alpha: : Mipa Laureth Sulfate, Cocoamidopropyl Betaine.
and beta: betaine

is it enough to make shower gels? or do I have to buy another one?

thanks

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

To answer your question briefly: You can make a shower gel or shampoo with two surfactants. Something anionic and, ideally, something amphoteric (coco betaine, usually). Why not try it and see what you like!

The long answer: I usually use three surfactants because I want to maximize the features of a product. For a shampoo, Bioterge 804 and coco betaine work just fine for my hair, but for a body wash I combine three because I want different qualities from each surfactant.

What does each surfactant bring to your mix? If you want a mild cleanser, then you could make something nice with BSB or LSB or Plantapon and coco betaine. You aren't going to get a ton of bubbles, so it would probably work well as a facial cleanser or low foaming body wash. When you add Bioterge AS-40 to this mix, you get a foaming, bubbly mixture. So it depends on what you are seeking in a product - if the two surfactants do the job, then you're happy. What qualities do the MIPA Laureth Sulphate and coco betaine bring to your potential product? If it offers what you want, then you have the right surfactants!

Here's a link to the Herbarie's guide to formulating with surfactants - they suggest some great two surfactant blends. They even suggest some anionic - non-ionic blends, which might help.

I've never used MIPA Laureth Sulphate, so I did a search on it...

Surfactants 2004 (a very interesting read) mentions MIPA Laureth Sulphate contains about 30% oils with affecting foaming and lathering. You can add up to 10% more non-polar oils without affecting the lather. This is very interesting! I've seen it included in two formulae called "Oil bath" products. So I think the beauty of this surfactant is that it contains a lot of moisturizing oils without losing the bubbles and foam.

Here are two recipes I found - you'll have to scroll down a bit to find them as this isn't a data sheet especially about MIPA Laureth Sulphate. And here's another one I found - Shower oil gel - scroll down a bit to find it.

So there's the long answer - why not try it and see. There are a couple of formulating ideas above, and let us know what happens. This sounds like a really interesting surfactant - moisturizing and lathery? Where did you get it?

Please let us know how it turns out!

Jennifer said...

I made a shampoo with 20% Plantapon and 20% SMC Taurate (3% glycerine and the rest water/proteins/extracts), and I'm finding that it hardly lathers/foams. Should I increase the SMC Taurate since it's anionic?

Another factor is that I added quite a bit of crothix since I like it to be more vicious. Could that have affected the foam?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Crothix is an ester that can affect the foaminess at higher levels. How much did you use?

As for the surfactants, Plantapon is a mild cleanser and a mild foamer as well, so it might not be foaming as much as you'd like.

The SMC Taurate and Plantapon are both anionic surfactants. Plantaren - decyl glucoside, one of the components of Plantapon - is non-ionic and doesn't foam as well as the Plantapon. The SMC taurate is a great foamer, so increasing it could increase your foam. The glycerin should help with the bubble stability, so that's a good addition at 3%.

You could increase the percentages of both surfactants if you want to get greater viscosity in the shampoo (and it sounds like you want that), and that might help with the foaming. You could add some coco betaine, which would increase the viscosity, keep the mildness, and offer some good flash foam.

I admit, it's hard to figure it out when I don't know the exact recipe...did you add any oils, fragrance or essential oils, or anything else?

My first choice - I'd try adding some coco betaine to the mix. It will make it a mild mixture and increase the viscosity. My second choice - increase the concentration of the surfactants, and reduce the crothix amount.

Let me know if it works out!

Jennifer said...

Hi Susan - thanks for your reply!

I did use fragrance oil at 1%, and after I let it cool down to room temperature, it was too water for my preferences, hence the crothix. I have to admit that I wasn't really watching the amount and just stirred until it was the consistency that I wanted. If I had to guess, I'd say that I may have added quite a bit!

I'll give the coco-betaine a shot, lay off the Crothix, and let you know the results!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Definitely keep the Crothix in the mix. It's a nice re-fatter - helps moisturize your skin - and is a great anti-sensitizer for more sensitive skin. I just don't like to go over 2% or you can get a white gunge at the bottom of the bottle over time! Have fun formulating!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is awesome! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it and all the help it gives us! :)

Now to my question.

To make a shampoo for normal hair I noticed your recipe says SLeS AND BSB
or LSB. Does that mean that the SLeS can't be used by itself? Or is it just better with the other additions?

Thank you! :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

It is best to use a few different surfactants to build a shampoo because no one surfactant gives you all that you want. For instance, I always add cocomipropyl betaine (Amphosol CG) as a secondary surfactant because it makes the mix milder and increases viscosity. Something like BSB contains thickeners and is very mild, so combining it with SLeS will impart mildness and more thickening. Something might be a great cleanser with good bubbles, while another might be medium cleanser with fantastic foam. By combining them together, we can build a surfactant mix we really like.

I am doing a series on surfactants in early April, so I'll be getting into more detail then.

pearlyn said...

hi babe.

im thinking of doing my own facial cleanser. i have combination, acne prone skin.

if i use DLS Mild & Cocamidopropyl Betaine as surfactants, is that sufficient?

i intend to put in water, crothix, allantoin, panthenol, honeyquat & licorice extract.

what do you think of PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

DLS mild and cocomipropyl betaine are a great combination - DLS is great for oily skin and CAPB is a great co-surfactant to increase mildness.

I don't have a strong opinion on PEG-7 cocoate yet as I'm still playing with it. I know it increases the mildness of your product without affecting the foam, and behaves as an emulsifier and emollient. So far I'm liking it...

I will be writing in depth about surfactants in early April. If you can't wait until then, do a search for facial cleansers or download the PDF to see the various posts I've created on the topic of facial cleansers.

pearlyn said...

is surfactants picky with preservative? i'm thinking of using optiphen but i remembered it's not very water soluble. can optiphen nd be used in this case?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Here are a few links about Optiphen and Optiphen ND...

Preservatives (scroll down a bit).
Optiphen at the Herbarie
Optiphen ND at the Herbarie
Data bulletin on various preservatives
Information on Optiphen from Voyageur.

kontakt said...

I have written a question on surfactants on my blog. http://hemkokeriet.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/men-om-jag-vill-att-det-ska-loddra/ scroll down for English version. If you feel like reading it and have any suggestions - practical, theoretical, informationfindical - I'd be grateful if you shared them.

kontakt said...

(lemme see if I managed to tick the email on follow up-box now)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi kontakt. My first thought is that your surfactant level is really low here, making up about 12% of your shower cream amount. Increasing your surfactants to 30% to 50% will increase your lather and foam. Your oils make up about 5%, which is enough to depress the foam, bubbles, and lather, but adding more surfactants can compensate for that. Your glycerin makes up about 5% as well, which is great for moisturizing and increasing lather as well, so you don't need to increase or decrease that amount.

The polyglucoside - like decyl glucoside - are good foamers, so increasing them could increase your lather. If you use this as the primary surfactant in your shower cream, you'll have to test the pH level as this is an alkaline surfactant.

The sodium cocoyl glutamate is a poor foamer, so adding that won't help your lather, but it is a nice, gentle cleanser.

Disodium cocoamphodiacetate is similar to SLSa and should be a good foamer, bubbler, and latherer.

Cocamidopropyl betaine offers great flash foam, so adding it will give you great initial bubble-age, but not long-lasting bubbles. Having said this, it helps stabilize foam, so it might help keep the lather around longer.

Sulfosuccinates like your disodium laurethsulfosuccinate are good foamers.

So you could add any of the surfactants you own - with the except of the sodium cocoyl glutamate - to increase the lather and bubbles of your body wash. Laureth-4 is a solubilizer, and will reduce the foam levels of your product.

You can find links to all these surfactants in this post on the topic.And here's a comparison chart on surfactants for easy reference with sections on lather, foam, and bubbles.

I hope I've provided enough information to start off your experimentation with this shower cream! Have fun formulating!

kontakt said...

Thanks! Commenting here or there... I'll put it over there. http://hemkokeriet.wordpress.com/2010/07/16/men-om-jag-vill-att-det-ska-loddra/#comment-104

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

I am trying for formulate a bubble bath. I get the surfactant combo to the right texture, color, and as soon as I add scent it loosens back to the texture of water. Do you have any suggestions?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. If you click here, you'll see a post I wrote on the topic of fragrance oils that thin and thicken our products. I hope this answers your question!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

Thank you for being so generous in sharing your wealth of knowledge.
I have a formula that I have spent a few fraustrating months trying to source the following surfactants in small quantities.
Lauric Glucoside, Myristic Glucoside and Caprylic Glucoside. Are they know by different names?

I apologise in advance if I have missed a link on your blog to suppliers.

Many thanks,

Caroline

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

Thank you for being so generous in sharing your wealth of knowledge.
I have a formula that I have spent a few fraustrating months trying to source the following surfactants in small quantities.
Lauric Glucoside, Myristic Glucoside and Caprylic Glucoside. Are they know by different names?

I apologise in advance if I have missed a link on your blog to suppliers.

Many thanks,

Caroline

Sudrun said...

Hi:) this is a little off topic but I own a 5k foam run company and its getting to expensive to keep buying from retailers. I know these foam companies use 2 or 3 different flash foamers and I was hoping someone could help me out on what is the best to mix together. www.foamyeti.com is what I am trying to mimic. If anyone could help it would be a life saver. Thanks Chris

Vicki said...

Hi, I am wanting to make a baby foam bath with sodium cocoyl isethionate, on the surfactant data sheet it says to melt sodium cocoyl isethionate in Cocamidopropyl betaine...now I have not used either of these ingredients before and dont want to use Cocamidopropyl betaine, how else could or should I melt the sodium cocoyl isethionate? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks Vicki

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Vicki. I encourage you to read this post on SCI and do some research on alternatives to the betaines in the surfactants section of the blog!

Hi Chris. I have a lot of information on the blog about surfactants in the surfactants section. Take a look at those posts as I'm sure the answer you seek is in there somewhere!

Anonymous said...

Hello,

I've just being doing some research on vegan surfactants and your blog post came up high on Google. Just so you know, your comment about non-vegan surfactants not coming from pork isn't strictly true, as they come from the lungs of mammals including cows and pigs.

Hope this helps.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. I'll be deleting your post by the end of August 24th if you don't add a name to your comment. It's a rule around here, and I don't make exceptions.

Can you please provide proof of this? I know that every mammal - including humans - has surfactant in the lungs, but can you please provide proof that this surfactant is used in cosmetics?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hey everyone...This post is over four years old! I suggest visiting the surfactants section of the blog to see all the detailed posts I've written about surfactants since! If you want a short summary, this is a good place to come, but if you want more information, visit that section for posts on every surfactant I own!

Rick Findley said...

I am looking for a dry surfactant system that will create giant bubbles larger than a beach ball after adding water that have 1. A respectable lifespan in the air and 2. Have a long lasting shelf like when not being used. Is it possibler for you to steer me in the right direction?

Rick Findley said...

I want to create a DRY surfactant system that, when water is added, will create giant bubbles larger than a beach ball which will also have a good lifespan when in the air as well as a long shelf . Is there a chance you can direct me to someone who can help?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rick. It's no fun handing you a fish when there are fishing poles lying around all over this blog! Check out the posts on surfactants - I have quite a few on some dry surfactants like SLSa or SCI - and see if you can figure it out for yourself! As someone who had a great teacher who made me work for every bit of information I learned, I know an answer like that can be frustrating, but the knowledge gained is so worth it! Have fun and let us know what you figure out!

chamane said...

as a frenchie home made cosmeteer, i did do my shampoo:
water
sodium cocoyl isethionate 10% weight
sodium cocoyl glutamate 3% vol
conservative cosgard 0.6%
it's an efficient shampoo and i'nt use conditionner or detangler

Melanie Klar said...

Perhaps some surfactants are beeswax based? That would make them not vegan.

Tonia Waters said...

Hi Susan I love your blog! I have found that I am allergic to sulfates and cannot use it on my body or my scalp that is part of the reason I started making soap a few years ago. I have decided to try making my own shampoo and conditioner. What are the best Foaming agents to use in shampoo for a person like me? I am a red head with very sensitive skin and scalp. Thank you so much!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tonia. There are so many great surfactants out there that aren't sulfates, and there are great ones that are. I really encourage you not to eliminate all sulfates as there are many great ones that are considered quite mild and gentle.

The word sulfate actually doesn't mean that much in our ingredients. For instance, Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, but I've never found anyone that found they were sensitive to sulfates had a problem with Epsom salts. And behentrimonium methosulfate is a great conditioning ingredient that doesn't seem to bother anyone. So I encourage you to try other sulfates rather than writing them all off. In general, you don't want to use SLS as it isn't gentle, but all the other ones - SLeS, ALeS, and so on - are considered as mild as anything that doesn't have the world "sulfate" in it.

Check out the surfactants section of the blog for more information on the various foaming and lathery ingredients for shampoo. You can also look at the hair care section for suggestions for these ingredients.

Also, check out the surfactant chart and you can see some quick comparisons.

Lisa Reidzans Schmock said...

Hello! Could I use Plantapon, SMC Taurate Paste (can't find the liquid) and Coco Betaine in a dry skin facial wash? I followed one of your facial wash recipes, dont remember which one off hand, and I added 2% Crothix, and it stayed very thin. If you have time could you provide suggestions on making a thicker face wash? I don't care for using a foamer ;)

Thanks,

Lisa

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lisa. You can't thicken some of those surfactants with Crothix. If you take a look at the specific surfactants in the surfactants section of the blog, you'll see there are surfactants that don't thicken with the addition of salt or Crothix. This is where something like Ritathix comes in. It can thicken things like decyl glucoside.

You could also try something like glycol distearate as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan.

I want to share my diy facial cleanser recipe. I only use shea butter ws from lotioncrafter as surfactant but I think that's enough to cleanse my face. My skin is dehydrated tend to oily.

HEATED OIL PHASE :
5% cromollient
8% ecomulse
15% oil

HEATED WATER PHASE :
65% hydrosol

COOL DOWN PHASE :
5% honeyquat
2% leucidal liquid

It's only 6 ingredients. I love simplicity :)

Thanks,
Ida

Anonymous said...

Hi Ida,

I'm currently working on a recipe for a cream/milk cleanser for dry skin and your recipe looks interesting!

You said you use only shea butter ws as surfactant - does this mean the 15% oil in your recipe are all shea butter ws? What is the final consistency of your cleanser?

Thank you for posting this!

Kormoran_fly

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Ida and Kormoran Fly. As a side note, shea butter ws isn't a surfactant. It's a water soluble oil or ester. Cromollient is also an ester!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

You know, I was wrong in that last comment. Water soluble shea butter is a surfactant - check out this post on esters where I make the comment that they are - but they aren't the foamy, lathery surfactants I write about in this post. That was my bad, and sorry about that!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

Thank you for your comment - I have been going through your posts from the last years on surfactants and they have been so helpful and interesting! Your linked post on ethoxylated esters really clarified the topic for me (I had always wondered if they are considered surfactants and was a bit confused about the differences between classes of esters).

I'm not really looking for foam/lather in the recipe for a cleansing milk/lotion I am working on. Basically I would like to create a cleanser that rinses more cleanly than a traditional "lotion as cleanser" such as the one you had analyzed here: http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com/2011/04/duplicating-products-korres-milk.html.

My current plan is that I would like to make an emulsion of plant oils with regular emulsifiers as my base (I'm thinking of using PEG7-olivate and glyceryl oleate with the HLB system) and then possibly add a very mild surfactant such as Cocamidopropyl betaine. I'm not sure if this is a reasonable idea (and if I would have to consider the coco betaine in my HLB calculations - I did not find an HLB value for it so my current thinking is no?)

An alternative that I'm considering is to simply increase the % of my surfactant emulsifiers (e.g. lecithin HLB 4 and PEG7-olivate) above the 4% that you recommend as starting value to increase the "rinsability" of my cleanser. Do you think this would be a reasonable idea?

Your blog has been such a great resource for me and any comments you have would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you,

Kormoran_fly

Elizabeth said...


I have a question and hope you can help. I had recently purchased a surfectant base. I have tried various recipes but I get no lather with this product and it is extremely drying. If I dilute it to the recommendations, I get virtually no cleaning power. I bought it wanting to create shampoos and body washes out of it. As is, with proper dilution, it would never lather for a body wash, even with a loofah. What ingredients could/should be added to make this lather like regular shampoo/body wash(while avoiding SLS)? I contacted the company and never received a reply.
INCI: PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate (and) Cocamidopropyl Betaine (and) Sodium Trideceth Sulfate (and) Glycerin (and) Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate (and) PEG-150 Distearate (and) Sodium Laureth-13 Carboxylate

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Elizabeth! Have you talked to the people who sold you the base? They should be able to offer you information on how to use it. How much are you diluting it? How does it work undiluted or diluted with maybe 10% water. And don't forget to use a preservative as this list doesn't have one in it.

I have loads of recipes on how to make shampoo and body wash on the blog. If I had to guess, I have at least 100. So you could do a search to see how you could include it in one of those products.

Patrice said...

I see lots of anonymous comments here but I don't see the threat to delete like you did the one contributor who shared their remark about the other types of surfectants containing animals parts. I'm not sure why you seemed to get defensive about it (and maybe you didn't at all) but it's true. Many common ingredients contains animal byproducts which is why some of us have to look for specific vegan ingredients and formulas. If you do a simple search you'll see that many do contain animal-derived ingredients. Anyway, thank you for your post...

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Patrice. If someone says "bye, (name)" or something similar on their comment, I don't consider them anonymous. As i say on every single page of the blog in the right hand column, "I really don't like anonymous comments! Please put your name on your post somewhere. It gives us a better sense of community and reduces the incidence of mean-ness! Comments without a name will be deleted regardless of topic. (It's easy to put "Bye, (name)" on your comment!) Plus, you can't win e-books if I don't know who you are!"

I wasn't being defensive; I was being assertive. I was stating my boundaries and asking for someone to respect them. (Oftentimes, people mistake being assertive for being aggressive or being defensive when it comes from a woman.) As as counsellor, I feel it's really important to state my boundaries clearly, and when they are crossed, I make it clear about the boundary violation and what can be done to fix that. I think I did that. What do you think I should have done differently? Should I allow people to do whatever they want when I have asked clearly that they not do that thing?

As for that anonymous commenter, I asked for proof of their statement. You can't just show up and make wild statements and not back it up. I waited and waited for proof, but it didn't come. I didn't delete their post hoping they would come back. But they didn't. It's sad because it would have been a fun debate and I might have learned something new. As an evidence based blog, I can't allow unfounded comments all over my blog or people won't trust me any more.

Here's the fun fact for the day: There are surfactants in all mammals lungs, including ours. That doesn't mean that those surfactants are used to make the foamy, bubbly, lathery creations we use. I can happily share details on how various surfactants are made, but I can assure you that those surfactants aren't made from mammal lung surfactants. It's so much easier to make them from coconut or palm oil!

I feel that you're really new to the blog, so you may not be familiar with all the analysis of ingredients I do. If something comes from animals, I will say that. If it doesn't, I might say that, too. Again, I run an evidence based blog, so I don't write things unless I can get a lot of good sources for it.

So I put it to you, Patrice. What should I have done here given what I've just shared with you?

Elizabeth Kendall said...

Elizabeth again, I did contact the supplier about the BNB Concentrate. All they said was that it should have tons of lather. It states 15oz of product to 34oz water. It is a slime with no lather.
I tried adding other surfectants such as SLES along with Cocamidopropyl Betaine and I still have barely any lather. It is listed as a stand alone, premium shampoo base with tons of lather. I could not sell this in any form because there is barely any bubbles with agitation.

I was offered a refund but have not received one. I just wish I could get it to work. It appears to be a thickener and maybe a viscosity builder but I don't see how it could be used as a shampoo as it does not lather in hair and is hard to work through medium to long hair. I have also tried diluting it more, increasing the strength and using different preservatives.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Elizabeth! I'm afraid I don't know what to suggest. This ingredient list doesn't strike me as a stand alone, premium shampoo base with tons of lather. If you'd like to tell me what company this was, I'd be happy to mention they have had unhappy customers on the appropriate country's supplier list.

When do you give up on this? It sounds like you've tried enough to work with it. It's not workable. Try making your own! I think you'd be more happy!

alia said...

are there any natural foaming agents?
can they be used on their own?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I wouldn't consider any of these things natural, but then again, is soap natural? What does natural mean? (I have written at length about this topic...)

Sure, you can use each of these surfactants on their own, but they work so much better together, as I mention and demonstrate in the post. As with a lot of our ingredients, how you use them depends on the product you're making and what skin feel you want in the end.