Monday, May 24, 2010

Shampoo: Modifying the basic shampoo recipe to be more conditioning!

What makes a conditioning shampoo conditioning? The conditioners, of course! A shampoo without conditioners is called a clarifying shampoo and it's intended to remove styling products (although I used it when my hair was extremely oily as they don't tend to contain moisturizers, either). The shampoo we made yesterday would be considered a clarifying shampoo as it only contained surfactants, water, thickeners, hair goodies, and preservatives.

Why put conditioner in a shampoo? If you remember the posts on damaged hair, friction is our enemy, and we want to do everything in our power to reduce the combing forces and friction our hair experiences. By including conditioning agents, we decrease the friction caused by washing, conditioning, and wet combing.

As a quick note, do not try including something like BTMS or cetrimonium bromide in a shampoo. These are cationic compounds and they do not play well with surfactants as they aren't water soluble and will just precipitate out into a gooey mess. For conditioning in a surfactant based creation, you'll want to use the cationic polymers like polyquat 7, honeyquat, or Celquat H-100.

So let's make a conditioning shampoo suitable for normal hair to demonstrate how to use the various ingredients from yesterday's post. The goals of creating a shampoo for normal hair is to cleanse the hair (surfactants), offer some conditioning (conditioning polymers), and some film forming (aloe vera and cromoist), and panthenol. We'll also want a thickener - I'll use Crothix here - and a nice fragrance or essential oil. I'm including glycerin as both a humectant and a bubble improver!

I'll be using some surfactants good for normal hair - SLeS or ALeS, SMC or SMO taurate, and cocamidopropyl betaine. I also like using BSB or LSB in place of the SMC taurate (as it's hard for me to get in Canada). Choose any combination of surfactants you like.

15% SLeS
15% SMC or SMO taurate (or BSB or LSB)
36% water
10% aloe vera
10% Amphosol CG
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed oat protein
2% panthenol
2% dimethicone or condition-eze 7
2% essential oils
(optional) 0.5% extract
up to 2% Crothix
0.5% Germall Plus or 1.0% Germaben II
Colour, if desired

This will make a nice conditioning shampoo that should be followed up with a conditioner!

Let's say you're not a fan of silicones - include some water soluble oils at up to 4% (like PEG-7 olivate) and leave out the dimethicone. Or say you don't like aloe vera because it can act as a humectant, leave it out, or include another hydrosol you like. This is an easily modified recipe - you saw how we built on the basic recipe from the other day - so include or exclude various ingredients that you feel will benefit your hair.

If you're a normal haired girl with frizzy hair, make sure you are using high molecular weight proteins like oat (I use Cromoist) because you don't need the internal moisturizing. If you have curly hair, you might want to consider the higher molecular weight proteins for more internal moisturizing.

If you're an oily or dry haired girl, a few small modifications to this recipe will work well for you (for instance, if you use LSB, you're getting your sulfosuccinates good for mildly oily hair, so this recipe will work well untweaked!)

Tune in tomorrow for more fun with conditioning shampoos for oily hair, then Wednesday for dry hair!


Lalla said...

Can I use cetrimonium chloride in a shampoo?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lalla! I've just written a post on this topic - find it here!

still learning said...


Wonderful site! I've been looking to understand phases in a hair conditioner and just in general. I know oils goes in the oil phase and water in the water phase. Yet, I have seen other ingredients in each phase. How do you know what goes where? Thanks.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Still Learning (and aren't we all?) I've written what I hope is an answer in this post! Excellent question!

Anjali said...

Very informative site Susan!!
I refer to your blog whenever formulating something new. I tried PEG-7 Olivate in making my rinse-off conditioner along with olivem really works!!!
I received positive comments from my seniors which feels great..

Thanks a million.
Keep blogging!!

Brandi Yates said...

How cost effective is buying ingredients and making your own shampoo? How do these ingredients differ from the ones in the store? What are the "scary" ingredients people dont want to buy?

I would like to buy all of your books. Can you give me a discount?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Brandi! If you have a recipe that works well, it's incredibly cost effective to make our own shampoo. I buy something like $30 in surfactants a year, and make everything for me, my husband, my mom, my friends, and kids in my craft group. Considering how long my hair is and how often I wash it, it's a steal! The ingredients don't differ - they're mostly the same, only we use them in higher quantities so we can get more benefits!

I don't believe in the idea of scary ingredients because it seems that every week there's some ingredient people hate.

fred mwangi said...

hi Susan can i add avocado oil as a conditioning agent? thank you

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Fred. You can add avocado oil to this product, but don't add too much. (Not to be picky, but oils aren't conditioning agents, they're emollients.)

Unknown said...

Hello Susan. Know I'm tagging onto this post kind of late, but I had some questions concerning emollients in shampoos.
I have African hair, and I wanted to know if adding emollients (coconut oil, castor oil) would be good in a shampoo.
If so, what would be the usage rate in a homemade shampoo for these ingredients.
Another question: if I add emollients in my shampoos, do I need to add an emulsifyer as well? How would I go about that process of adding the all the ingredients together? (Surfactants, water, emollients,)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Unknown! Great question! I've answered it as today's Weekend Wonderings. I hope this helps!

Febe said...

Hi Susan - If i don't have the SMC or SMO taurate (or BSB or LSB) is there another substitute?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Febe! Sure! There are loads of choices you can find in the surfactants section of the blog!