Friday, December 30, 2011

Essential oils: Peppermint essential oil - formulating a shampoo for dry hair

It seems like people like to have a little tingle in their hair care products, so let's take a look at how we could formulate a shampoo for dry hair with a little peppermint in it.

First, let's take a look at our surfactants! When I'm formulating for dry hair, there are three surfactants I really like - SMC or SMO taurate, polyglucose/lactylate blend, and SCI.

Using SCI (prill form), SCI (with added stearic acid), or ACI (liquid) will give me a creamy, conditioned after feel that I don't get with other surfactants, it will help thicken my product, and it might pearlize my product. A pearlized product always feels a bit more moisturizing - mainly because it is - so it's a good idea to use something like this in a dry hair shampoo. I'm going to use this at about 10% of my shampoo.

I like SMO taurate because it also thickens our product and has a nice pH level, so I don't have to do a lot of adjusting with citric acid.

I like the polyglucose/lactylate blend because it offers a lot of moisturizing goodness - way too much for us oily haired girls - and it has a good pH for hair care products (5.0 to 7.5). It thickens with Crothix easily.

So which ones shall I use? (I also want to include some cocamidopropyl betaine to increase the mildness of the product.) I think I'll go with SCI noodles and SMO taurate. You can use the polyglucose/lactylate blend here, if you wish. I just have a lot of SCI and SMO taurate in the house! I think I'll use 10% SCI, 10% SMO taurate, and 10% cocamidopropyl betaine, which means I have 30% surfactants. This is a nice amount for dry hair.

I know I want some good things for hair in here - 2% hydrolyzed protein (I find silk protein works well with dry hair), 2% panthenol, 2 to 5% humectant (glycerin is a good choice, although you could go with something like Honeyquat that'll work double duty as a conditioner!), 0.5% to 2% cationic polymer (I'm having a love affair with polyquat 44, so I've added that, but I also like 2% polyquat 7) - and an emollient. I'm considering up to 5% PEG-7 olivate (water soluble oil), up to 3% Cromollient SCE, or 1.5% glycol distearate. I think I'll go with 5% PEG-7 olivate in this product, but any of these would be a good choice.

As a note, glycol distearate is a very inexpensive thickener and pearlizer - I encourage you to read more about it if this interests you. It would be a fantastic choice here, but it is something you have to heat up in the surfactant/water phase of the product, so you might need more thickener depending upon the type of essential oil you choose. Peppermint tends to thin products out, so you'll need more thickener like Crothix at the end. I don't like to go over 2% glycol distearate as it can form a white film at the bottom of the product over time, but this product will not thicken with 1.5% glycol distearate alone! 

For the rest of the water phase, you could use a hydrosol (lavender might be nice) or aloe vera at 10%. (Aloe vera has the added bonus of helping to thicken the product!) You can just use water.

For my cool down phase, I know I want to use 1% peppermint essential oil, 0.5% to 1.5% preservative (I'll use liquid Germall Plus at 0.5%), and the 2% panthenol.

10% aloe vera
10% SCI prills or noodles (or 10% ACI liquid)
10% SMO or SMC taurate
10% cocamidopropyl betaine
3% glycerin
2% hydrolyzed protein (I suggest silk for dry hair)
0.5% polyquat 44
5% PEG-7 olivate
43% water

2% panthenol
1% peppermint essential oil
0.5% liquid Germall Plus

Optional: Up to 3% Crothix after the product has cooled

Combine the SCI prills or noodles with the cocamidopropyl betaine and heat well until the SCI has melted. In a separate container, add the rest of the water phase and heat at the same time. When the SCI noodles or prills have melted, combine the two phases and heat for 20 minutes at 70˚C (heat and hold). (If you've already had all the ingredients heated and held before combining them, you don't need to re-do the heat and hold.) Let all of it cool down to 45˚C then add the cool down phase ingredients and mix well. Let this all come to room temperature before adding the Crothix. Add at 1% at a time and mix it very well to see if you like the viscosity. Add up to 3% Crothix to make this product thicker. Bottle and rejoice.

If you want to add peppermint to any hair care product, by all means go ahead! Add 1% in the cool down phase like you would any other essential or fragrance oil. You can add it to any of the shampoos you see in the hair care section of the blog, and it would be lovely in a shampoo bar - for dry hair or normal to oily hair. And you can add it to conditioners if you want - again, up to 1% in the cool down phase.

As an aside, consider adding 1% tea tree oil to a product like this to help with dandruff. You can go as high as 5%, but I find 2% smells very medicinal. It's a nice combination with 1% peppermint.

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at patchouli essential oil!

1 comment:

Tara said...

I love the smell in my workshop after I've worked with peppermint. Smells lovely, like candy canes!