Friday, May 21, 2010

Shampoo: Instructions for making shampoo!

I'm about to share something with you that might very well rock your world. Something that seems against the rules I've been writing about for over a year now. Something that may be so shocking you might need to sit down!

It is possible to make surfactant based products without heating and holding your ingredients!


Yep, most of the ingredients we'll be using in our shampoos already contain preservatives - the surfactants, the surfactant mixes, aloe vera, hydrolyzed proteins, and so on - so we can make our shampoos cold. (If you are using unpreserved ingredients like teas or distillates you've made yourself, unpreserved hydrosols, or anything you suspect isn't preserved, you cannot make your shampoo cold!) And yes, you can do this with cleansers, body washes, and bubble baths - anything surfactant based.

If you wish to do this, you'll need to take a few precautions!

1. Always use distilled water. Always. Not tap water. Not bottled water. Distilled water. This way you are ensured there is no contamination. (Distilled water is available from your local pharmacy or big box store with a pharmacy for about $2 for 4 litres. Good value for the price!) If you aren't prepared to use distilled water, then you need to heat and hold your heated phase for 20 minutes at 70˚C.

2. Boil your distilled water before adding it to the surfactant mixes. (This is for the temperature, not contamination.) I like to mix my surfactants together and mix them well, then I add the hot water. If you don't do this, you will end up with what my craft group kids kindly refer to as "snot" and it's harder to mix!

3. Do not let the mixes get bubbly. Bubbles have to die down before you judge the thickness of the mixture as well as the volume. And with some ingredients - cocamide DEA, for example - the bubbles may never go down! You won't be able to tell the true colour of the mix if it's all lathery and foamy. Stir very slowly with a fork to incorporate it all.

4. Use the maximum preservative amount allowed. I use liquid Germall Plus - the suggested usage is 0.1% to 0.5%. I always use it at 0.5% in any creation I make, especially those with botanical ingredients like extracts or aloe vera.

You cannot make shampoos with ingredients like glycol distearate or SCI cold as they need melting, and you really should be using warmish water with all surfactant mixes because it will be hard to mix otherwise, but most of our concoctions can be done without a heated and cool down phase! (I'll be offering instructions on how to melt things when necessary in this series on hair care.) If you aren't using preservatives...well, you know how I feel about preservatives...I wouldn't suggest making hair care products at all.

You're probably pretty shocked right now...I'll give you a moment!

25 comments:

http://www.puntacocosoaps.com said...

I want to make shampoo. I already make liquid soaps out of virgin coconut oil. can i make shampoo with this liquid soap instead of using a surfactant?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

No. CP is not pH balanced for our hair.

Carol Holmes said...

First timer desperate for help to understand how measuring is done in %. Lotion Making Tutorial - Introduction to Lotion Making - Basic First Lotion Recipe page 5 states: 1% = 1 gram. So the first ingredient water at 70% = 70 grams. = 2.469 ounces. = 73 ml. Am I understanding that correctly?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Is this page linked somewhere? I ask because this is the second comment in a few days! Can someone let me know?

Hi Carol! Pleaselook at the calculation section of the FAQ for information on using weighted measurements in our recipes.

In short, really the only ingredient that works 1:1 would be water with 1 gram equalling 1 ml. So 70 ml of water would be 70 grams. (I don't encourage you to do conversions like that - you can see how it throws it out of whack. Metric might not be your normal way of measuring but it is easier than Imperial and your scale will be able to do both.) You can't convert the other ingredients properly into liquid measurements and trying to do this will result in failed lotion.

Let us know how the lotion turns out!

Baby Kat said...

This is amazing! I will purchase my ingredients soon and I cannot wait to start trying your formulas!

Wendy said...

Hello, I am trying to make a shampoo but Im a bit lost. I am going to saponify glycerin but I want to add other ingredients besides oils. Im confused on i guess, mix the saponified oils with other additives. Have you already posted an article about this? I am new to formulating and I am trying to understand it thoroughly. Please let me know and thanks.

Wendy said...

Hello, I just read the comments. I dont want to make a shampoo bar, I want to make a bottle of shampoo. Are you saying that using saponified oils apart of the recipe wouldnt be a great idea? Please let me know

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Wendy. I'm afraid I don't understand your comment. You can't saponify glycerin as it isn't an oil. And saponified oils are soap. Do you mean you're using liquid soap to make a shampoo? If so, please read this post - soap is not a good shampoo - for suggestions on why not to do that. The instructions in this post are for making a liquid shampoo, not a shampoo bar.

Wendy said...

Hello,

Maybe I didnt word it right but Ill be using vegetable glycerin apart of the saponification process. Yes, I did mean using the liquid soap as shampoo. I will read it now. I guess Im looking to make an oil based shampoo. Would you happen to have an article about that? Thanks for replying.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Wendy! I don't recommend making a liquid soap based shampoo as the pH is wrong for your hair and can lead to damage. Please take a look at the linked post in my previous comment.

Wendy said...

Hello,

I have one more question and I am done for the week? Am i able to balance the pH in the liquid and then use? Or is that not even doable? Please let me know

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

No, you can't get the pH of a soap below 7 as it stops being soap when you get it to a neutral or acidic pH. I have posts about this on the blog. Just do a search for pH and soap.

Kristy said...

Hi Swift,

I made a daily conditioning shampoo for dry hair with Cocoamidopropyl Betaine 5%, SCI Noodle 4%, SMO Taurate 4%, and Glycol Distearate 2% among other stuff. I was a bit overzealous in mixing and now it's very lathery. It will need a small amount of Crothix to thicken it but I'm afraid to add it just yet. In your opinion, will this lathery mix settle down over time or this batch a failed one? The batch was made yesterday and is cool but I did the over mixing a few hours ago when I felt it needed a bit more mixing. Stupid me.I need to learn to walk away. Thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kristy! Most overzealously mixed surfactant products will settle down. However, those with SCI in them may not. I'm not sure what to tell you as I haven't tried your recipe and don't know what will happen. Give it some time, then see if you need to thicken it!

Kristy said...

Thanks Susan. Perry over at chemistscorner.com recommended:
"You can heat the batch up to ~40C and use slow mixing to get rid of the bubbles. Of course you may have to add back some preservative depending on what you are using."

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

That sounds like good advice. Having said that, I'm a lazy lazy woman and I find that leaving the product for a few days at room temperature in my kitchen generally gets rid of them easily with no effort from me! :-)

wijaya said...

The problem I met is , after adding penalizing agent shampoo had 2 layers separated
what is the reason behind this ?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Wijaya! Can you please send me your exact recipe in percentages along with your exact process as I need these to help further.

Southern Girl said...

Can you suggest a surfactant that is not derived from coconuts? I am having sensitivity issues to everything I use, and I'm wondering if that is the culprit. Also...what would happen if we used just a single surfactant as a shampoo? That is, the worlds most simple recipe. Is there some reason that would not work? I want to try ingredients for sensitivity in isolation. Thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Southern Girl. I'm afraid you'll have to ask the supplier from whom you are buying the surfactant what they know as there are many versions of each surfactant. Not to minimize your experiences, but there is nothing left even remotely coconut-y in a surfactant when it's done being made. It's like it doesn't matter where you get Vitamin C from, it's all Vitamin C in the end, and your body - and chemistry - doesn't know if it's from a lemon, lime, or a dog's intestine (where they generate it). There's no way to know what the starting material was because there's nothing left. I would suggest that you take a look at the pH of the products you're using, because if you're using decyl glucoside that hasn't had the pH adjusted or liquid soap, you are likely in the alkaline range, and that can be quite annoying for sensitive skin.

I have a whole section of hair care products where I talk about the different surfactants and why we use them the way we do. I would suggest against using one surfactant for many reasons, but the main one would be that the product will be much harsher than something that is combined with other surfactants and lovely ingredients to increase mildness. If you just made a shampoo with x surfactant, you're likely using it beyond the safe as used point, and you are almost guaranteed to have a bad experience with it, leaving your skin or hair feeling really awful and dry. Read the posts on increasing mildness in the surfactant section to learn more.

Have fun formulating!

Southern Girl said...

Oh bugger. Stop raining on my parade. I am at a loss, I have tried just about every shampoo, baby shampoo, etc in the universe, and they all bother me. I must be allergic to water. Ugh. I am allergic to bananas, and tree nuts...so I had thought maybe....poo.

Anyway, I have read many of your sections over the years, been a follower. Thanks for all the info, its great!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Have you tried any of my recipes? I have loads of mild ones.

Southern Girl said...

No, I have not tried one of your shampoos, although I have new ingredients on the way. The shampoos I have used in the past have what appear to be simple and balanced ingredient lists. I have made my own conditioner, and soap. ( I don't use home made soap)

I will both go see a doctor....and try one of your recipes and let you know how it goes.

FYI, I've tried just about every baby brand out there, no sls for me, and most stuff from whole foods. I cannot use sls for sure.

Thanks!

Liz Tóth said...

Hi, Southern Girl... not to butt in there where I don't belong, but your situation sounds like the sort of thing I've experienced over the past 30-40 years. Susan's blog has been a lifesaver - I've had to start making all my own stuff too, as nothing commercial was working. Or rather, to be fair, I have found about 3 products that don't make me bleed, and it's just 'way easier and cheaper - and loads more fun - to make my own.

I don't know if you want to hear this but I would strongly recommend patch testing; it's 'way more precise than the prick testing; when I had it done they found 128 allergies (not kidding; I counted!) with that one, weeks after pinprick testing showed absolutely nothing.

Patch testing is a 3-day pain in the butt (plus healing time... they test stuff they think will be triggers, so you can end up with a few sore spots!), but may help identify what you need to avoid. "Mild" and "baby"just don't cut it... didn't for me, at least. Some of my specific allergens are aloe, phenoxyethanol, petrolatum, and coco betaine... try finding anything - baby, sensitive or otherwise - without any of those in there! Susan's comment that the plural of 'anecdote' is not 'data' is well taken, and I'm giving these as examples, just to illustrate how difficult it can be to avoid your triggers. Yours may be very different but just as common.

A caution:(I've just had this conversation with Susan on another post): the ingredients you buy may contain things that are not shown on the INCI list. So when you order your ingredients, you need to make sure you know about ALL the ingredients in there ... definitely check with the distributor - they tend to assume the INCIs are complete so this can take a bit of back-and-forth. Susan's other suggestion was to go with suppliers who make this very obvious... she suggested I check out the Lotioncrafter and the Formulator Sample Shop as good examples. I've also found that Voyageur (in B.C) is helpful if you contact them, though that takes a lot longer.

Good luck with your journey... allergies are not fun but there's lots of opportunity for learning! Susan rained on my parade, too and it's not ALL bad... you just have to open your umbrella and do a bit of tap-dancing!

Jo said...

Hi I love your blog and thank the day I stumbled upon it. I live in Uganda East Africa and products are not easy to get so if I can save my self and make my own products the better. I made a batch of liquid Castile soap that I want to use as a shampoo. I was wondering i you could help me figure out what to add to it to make it moisturizing for my chemically relaxed hair. I also want to thicken it up and have guar gum but my previous attempt to use it to thicken left me with cloudy whitish and not thick result.