Saturday, June 17, 2017

Weekend Wonderings: Adding sodium chloride to a shampoo? Ingredients for oily hair?

In this post, Conditioning shampoo bars for oily hair, Tracey asked: I'm curious if anyone knows how to go about adding sodium chloride to a shampoo bar? I happened to see Lush does this with one of their bars and my daughter has very oily hair. I've made a few different oily hair shampoos that I learned from right here, and they work for a while then I have to change it for her as it seems to stop working. Sometimes she'll add magnesium to her hair while shampooing and that helps also. As I know we can thicken with the salt curve our normal shampoos and other surfactant products I'm just curious how we may go about adding a lot of salt to liquid shampoo or to a shampoo bar & if anyone's tried this? 

The Barclay Nicholses are a very oily family, so we're always eager to try new things to get another few hours of out of a washing, but I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the idea of using sodium chloride or normal table salt for oily hair. I have, however, heard of using magnesium!

The salt curve is a way to thicken surfactant mixes - like shampoos - with salt. It does this in two ways. The first - the electrolyte increases the size of the micelles in the surfactants, so the viscosity increases. The second - the electrolytes compete with the surfactants for water, so as we add more salt, we fool the product into thinking we've increased the concentration of the surfactants, which will increase viscosity.

When we add salt to the mixture, there is a distinct curve (pictured to the left). As we gradually increase the salt, it will thicken nicely and stay that way. But if we add too much salt, we eventually start to thin it out back to the watery state. This is one of the reasons we add it slowly - as you can see, the difference between 3% and 3.5% is huge! This is due to the imbalance of charges between the various ingredients in your creation.

And this is the problem: If you want to make a liquid shampoo with salt and you want it to be thicker than water, you will max out at 3.5%. Maybe that's all you need? If you want to add it to your shampoo bars, start at 3% in a small batch and see what you think.

Another ingredient to consider is MSM (aka DSMO2, methylsulfone, methylsulfonylmethane, and dimethyl sulfone) at 5% in a shampoo for very oily hair. I've used it - you'll see that recipe coming soon - and I love it! It'll mess with the viscosity of your liquid shampoo, but try it anyway and see what you think.

I don't often give beauty tips around here as I'm lucky if I can remember to brush my teeth in the morning some days, but allow me to share with you what we do around here for our oily hair issues...

  • Choose surfactants that work well for oily hair, like C14-16 olefin sulfonate or disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (DLS). (I also like the LSB blend from Voyageur Soap & Candle, which is SLSa and DLS. Very very bubbly!) 
  • When using a conditioner, don't condition the scalp. 
  • Stay away from oils and other oily things in conditioners, leave in conditioners, and after washing treatments. 
  • When conditioning, take out anything that might be considered oil soluble as well, like cetyl alcohol or stearic acid, and stay away from things like butters. 
  • You can use silicones, like cyclomethicone or dimethicone, in small amounts, like 2%. 
  • Consider adding something to your shampoo to help remove more oil, like a titch of a citrus essential oil or d-Limonene at something like 0.5%. 
  • Try using a clarifying shampoo every now and then - maybe once a week or every two weeks - that doesn't contain conditioners or silicones. 
Having said this, consider that the reason the shampoo might stop working is that it isn't completely removing the oils from her scalp and hair and it takes time for that titch of oil left behind each time to build up. I used to get so excited to find a new shampoo in the shop - something that was usually "oily roots, dry ends" - that worked for a week or two before I felt greasy before my hair had dried. When I switched to making my own shampoo, I used a clarifying shampoo - one without conditioner, oils, or other ingredients of that nature - and it was awesome! I have found that I can use one of my conditioning shampoo bars for weeks on end, but then I might need a clarifying shampoo to do a bit more oil stripping. (I don't use any styling products or appliances on my hair, so the clarifying is just about getting rid of sebum and dirt.) Perhaps alternating between a conditioning shampoo and a clarifying one might be an idea? 

*Please note: I provide these links to suppliers to help you, my lovely readers. I receive nothing if you click through and they aren't affiliate links. I do like Voyageur Soap & Candle and think they're a lovely supplier of our products, but I receive nothing from them for anything other than teaching classes. 

Let us know if any of this works for you! Do you have any oily hair tips or tricks or modifications to recipes you'd like to share? Comment below!


artmarit said...

As always perfectly explained

Doris Bitler said...

I submitted a request to Susan's July duplicating post on Patreon for Christophe Robin Cleansing Purifying Scrub with Sea Salt, which is actually a shampoo. I received a sample, and it's awesome for my oily scalp and doesn't seem too harsh on my long, frizz-prone hair. I would suggest trying it, but a small jar is really expensive - too expensive for me! Sodium chloride is the first ingredient, but I can't figure out how it can work in a water-based product. Hopefully, Susan will have some answers :-)