Sulfosuccinates are generally sodium salts of alkyl esters of sulfosuccinic acid that are a result of condensation of maleic anhydride with a fatty alcohol, followed by sulfonation with sodium bisulfite (NaHSO3). In other words, they are sulfonated like the other sulfates and sulfonates.
The monoesters of sodium salts - like our friend DLS up there - are the most common sulfosuccinates you'll find. They are considered very mild, with good foaming and detergent properties. Sulfosuccinates are recommended for oily hair as they can remove oil and sebum gently without stripping hair too much, but all hair and skin types can use them without fear of harshness.
The pH of the sulfosuccinate is around 6.0, so it is perfect for hair and body care products. They are stable in hard water, but they are poor solubilizers, so you might need to use something like polysorbate 20 or polysorbate 80 if you want to add more than 3% oils or fragrance or essential oils. They don't thicken with salt, so if you're using a sulfosuccinate as your primary surfactant, you'll have to thicken them with Crothix or gels or other non-salt based thickeners.
I use sulfosuccinates in two ways - as DLS Mild, which is just the sulfosuccinate, or in LSB, which also contains sodium lauryl sulfoacetate (SLSa, but in liquid form).
DLS mild is about 32% active sulfosuccinate with a pH of 6.0. It is biodegradable. LSB is 25% active - which, unfortunately, isn't the best information as it is two surfactants combined - with a pH of 6.0.
I love using sulfosuccinates in my creations! I'd use DLS mild more often, but up until recently, I've had to order from the Herbarie (love the Herbarie, but the shipping costs and taxes charged at the border make it very expensive!) Because the pH is 6.0, we don't have to worry about messing with adding citric acid or other things to get the pH to a skin or hair friendly level.
Here are a few recipe ideas for using DLS mild in your creations...
Shampoo (using DLS or LSB)
Here are a few recipe ideas for using LSB in your creations...
Gardener's hand scrub (replace the BSB with LSB or DLS mild)
Join me tomorrow for fun with isethionates.