Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Designing your product as a line: Shampoo - thickeners

A shampoo should have a certain viscosity to it. Not too thick so it won't come out of the bottle, and not too thin that it spills out like water all over the tub. We want to to be like the porridge that horrible Goldilocks stole from the adorable baby bear - just right. We can get this kind of viscosity from using thickeners like Crothix, Ritathix DOE, and glycol distearate.

I encourage you to read the links in this post about increasing mildness and viscosity for more details on this topic. 

You definitely want to include a thickener in your product as pretty much everything I make from surfactants on this site is about as thick as water before adding one. I prefer to use Crothix in my products, and it offers a thickening as well as a moisturizing feature.

To be honest, I'm not a fan of Ritathix DOE. It felt sticky on my skin. You can also use regular old salt to thicken, but's a picky process and some surfactants will not thicken this way. Check before using.

Glycol distearate is interesting because it's a thickener that also pearlizes your product, like this one in the picture. The up side is that it looks lovely and moisturizes well. The downside is that you have to use glycol distearate in the heated phase, so it's hard to get the thickening just right and it isn't great for people with oily hair like me as it's so moisturizing.

So do we need thickeners? A resounding yes! They thicken the product, offer moisturizing, and increase mildness.

If you'd like to see thickening in action, check out this video on my YouTube channel!

Other posts in this series:
Shampoo - How does it work?
Shampoo - What's in it? Surfactants
Shampoo - What's in it? Other ingredients
Shampoo - Increasing mildness & viscosity
Shampoo - Conditioning agents
Shampoo - Dimethicone
Shampoo - Proteins and amino acids


naorsi said...

I have found that cocamidopropyl betaine is an excellent "thickener". I know this is a surfactant but the trick is to add it only after the other surfactants are mixed well with water. It thickens my shampoo beautifully so no other thickener is needed I was able to leave xanthan gum out which is a nightmare to dissolve properly in a surfactant mixture.

Elisabeth said...

I want to hug everyone of your posts in this series and award them Oscars. Anecdote: as an experiment, I tried once to use a decoction of soap nuts as a shampoo. My hair is short and robust, rather healthy, so it can take a lot of abuse before it turns on me. But the soap nut solution, for all that natural saponins are hyped as more gentle than surfactants, left me with a matted, shineless straw mop, even worse than when I've used cold-processed soap. Yuck. (And to return to the matter of this particular post, a product thick enough to stay in your hand is definitely more user-friendly.)
Have a nice weekend!