Need your knowledge on anhydrous formulas, u wise people!

Hi! Im a 26-yo cosmetology (yes, not chemist) student. In our school we have this programme where we can try out being entrepneurs for a year. People who attend usually work by making treatments to customers, but I wanted to make some cosmetic products (solid shampoo, solid conditioner, soap, solid lotion for body and maybe one for face too).


My products will be (if this works out) anhydrous, and somehow I had this idea that it would be fairly easy. Turns out its really science, and I might be a bit more ambitious than I should...


I have been reading swift crafty monkeys blog for years, made some products, but never really thought about the chemistry. Now when Im forced to think about the chemistry, im more lost than the Grinch at christmas!


I made a solid shampoo bar formula based on this guideline made by swift crafty monkey:
50 to 65% powdered surfactants
10 to 26% liquid surfactants
2 to 7% bar hardener like stearic acid, cetyl alcohol, or sodium lactate (liquid)
1 to 3% emulsifiers (usually e-wax, but BTMS would double duty here)
2 to 7% conditioning agent like Incroquat CR or BTMS
2 to 3% butters - shea, mango, cocoa
1 to 2% hydrolyzed proteins
1 to 4% silicones - dimethicone at 1 to 2%, cyclomethicone at 1 to 2%
.5 to 2% panthenol
1 to 2% fragrance or essential oils
0.5% to 1% preservative


and my formula is:

6% stearic acid

10,5% Coco glucoside

57% Sodium cocoyl isethionate

13% Cocamidopropyl betaine,

3% Olive wax

2% hydrolyzed baobab protein

2% panthenol

4% sheabutter

0,5% preservative

2% essential oils

Turns out the olive wax does’nt work ’cause its not cationic. Turns out the sodium cocoyl isethionate is not considered natural (tho its made from coconuts and is readily biodegradable according to the msds). Turns out that much stearic acid might make some funny things to the foam. Turns out I dont undestand anything.


Few things that are important regarding the shampoo bar:
-It needs to be natural. Well, not totally natural, but NO sulfates, phosphates, needs to be biodegradable, cant be toxic to aquatic creatures nor nature. If it could be made by ecocert products would be a big plus!

-It would be nice if the ingredients would be cost effective

-Nothing too difficult

-Does'nt need to be too conditioning, but should offer nice cleanse

-Also sensitive people could use it


Have I bitten more than I can chew? Im reading and trying to learn all the time, but it seems its not enough!

I try to make the formulas and discover the ingredients as much as I can, but Im not a professional and I hope I could get a little advice and knowledge from here regarding my own formulas =)


  • Cant anyone help? :/
  • I don't really have an answer to your question, but I do have an explanation for why you aren't getting any answers.

    Your question is much more complicated than you know. Developing formulas like (solid shampoo, conditioner, lotion) this would require a cosmetic chemist many hours to come up with them. It's unlikely you'll find anything freely available.

    Also your requirements like "natural, cost effective, easy to make..." are just unrealistic.  The reason these products don't already exist extensively on the market is because they are difficult to create and the vast majority of consumers don't want them.

    My advice on your formula, use fewer ingredients. The only thing you need is a detergent and a solidifying agent. Everything else detracts from the cleansing function of the product.
  • Please be specific in the types (if in need of non-anionic or not, etc.) cause this formula is just a guide. And did you just omit the silicone? They have a reason why they put it the formulation. 
  • I didnt mean that someone made the formulas for me, but that I make them and people who know better would point out if there would be something that I just cannot do, any problems or ingredients that dont go well together. 

    I guess with the shampoo bar it doesent need to have that much conditioning agents as its meant to clean, not to condition. I try and make the formula for the condition bar later for that specific purpose :) 

    I left the silicones out of the formula because I personally dont use products with silicones, and there are so many people who dont want them either. Not because of the fear of build up, but because they arent really good for the environment.

  • I agree with @Perry. There's a natural betaine (TEGO Natural Betaine). You can use it as your surfactant. 
  • I'll study the shampoo a bit more and do a bit of testing.

    The conditioner is from my point of view even more difficult because I dont want to use btms. Ive been hunting and hunting a cationic conditioning agent that is ecofriendly and I found out about distearoylethyl dimonium chloride ( ) but when asking about this ingredient from gracefruit they told me it can NOT be used instead of btms. I asked again, that not even with some emulsifier?, but the answer was still no, with no explanation. 

    I dont really understand. Its a cationic conditioning agent, but can not be used alone without btms to condition hair. Hmph. 
  • edited September 2017
    "Distearoylethyl dimonium chloride is not only more eco-friendly and economical, it is nearly as efficient in conditioning as behentrimonium chloride." 
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • DSDC, in addition is mild to eyes in particular:developed many products still on the market with tear free claims well substantiated as per in-vivo Eye testing.
  • Yeah I read the happi article. So I do not know why gracefruit told me I cant use it instead of BTMS..
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