Cloudy Shampoo

Hi everyone,

I was hoping someone could offer some insight into what I can do to fix my natural shampoo formula. It has been turning cloudy with the addition of certain essential oils, such as lavender, ylang ylang, and orange EOs. Others, like eucalyptus don't seem to cause the issue. I realize certain essential oils can be more difficult to solubilize, depending on their polarity. My goal is to formulate a base that I can add any essential oil to, without the shampoo going cloudy.

From previous discussions on this topic, this is likely an issue of not using a strong enough solubilizer/emulsifier combo- I have tried playing around with several, and still have cloudy shampoo.

Surfactants used:

16% cocamidopropyl betaine
5% disodium cocoamphodiacetate
1% caprylyl capryl glucoside
5% poly suga mulse d9 (recommended in a post from 2015)

I have also tried polysorbate 20 (which I would prefer not to use), increased caprylyl capryl glucoside as well as sepiclear g7. (I do solubilize the EO in the solubilizers first, then add the rest of the surfactants, and then dilute)

The rest of the shampoo is just water, glycerine, herbal extracts, sodium coco-sulfate, vitamin B5, keratin and preservatives.

Thank you in advance for any offered insight!


  • The only way out here as per my experience is to add the EOs immediately after the surfactants if it is not a hot process. More mixing time might help along with high surfactant matter in the formulation.
  • You are quite low on AM, work on a 9-15% range and you will see an improvement in every aspect.
  • Thank you for your comment. I do heat the water phase up to about 140 F to help dissolve the sodium coco-sulfate, but do not continue heating once it is completely dissolved. It is possible that I need to mix longer- admittedly I have not spent very long mixing my ingredients together, as this has been done fairly small scale (1 kg max batch so far). I will give that a try.
  • Hi DAS - by AM do you mean the amphodiacetate? 
  • Active matter. You could use another cosurfactant in that formula.
  • Ahh, I see! Thank you. I will definitely look into that.
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