Surfactant problems! Any help would be so appreciated!

Attempting to achieve a rich, creamy foaming surfactant that can be rich enough to shave with, however I keep having issues with my formula, and would love some tips or insight! 

I have a lovely, gentle base blend of surfactants that perform beautifully, but when dispensed in a foaming pump, it just makes a nice foaming soap, however once I added the superfatting agent (Sucrose Cocoate),as well as the Abyssinian Oil (for its longer chain fatty acids..which is supposed to help with adding stability and richness) I got closer to a rich, creamy lather with a tight bubble structure...something like a hybrid high foaming soap/cleansing shaving cream (the kind that squirts out of a can) was still not quite rich or stable enough to be used for shaving, so I then tried adding a tiny amount of a rheology modifier for some skin slip and body to the otherwise very watery blend, and so tried many, such as Siligel at 0.1% and 0.2%, Vegel Plus at 0.1% and 0.2%, Ecogel at 0.1% and 0.2%, and Lecigel at 0.1% and issue now is inconsistency...sometimes one of these prototypes will turn out perfectly, but others are huge fails (even at the various %'s, there is still no consistency!) 

When it works, it's perfect...I get the tight bubble structure, lofty foam, and creamy richness that lingers long enough to get a close shave, but others are miserable fails that fall apart immediately upon trying to pump the soap. The failed ones quickly turn into a watery mess, without any foam whatsoever, and just dribbles out of the foaming pump when used. A very sad sight, indeed!

I am so frustrated, as I have been experimenting for many months now, and am wasting a whole lot of lovely surfactants and other materials, but I want the holy grail of foaming shower soaps...mildness, richness, a high, tight foam structure, great cleansing, and very, very rich texture and nice slip once applied...what am I doing wrong?! As close to a whipped cream like texture would be so lovely...alas, it eludes me!

I have tried hydrating my rheology modifiers well in my water phase before proceeding with the remaining ingredients, and at times this helps, but at others it does not, so I am thinking the fail is happening due to these various gelling agents...could it be they are used at too high a %? Or perhaps the particulate matter size that they are made up of is just too large for a foaming soap mechanism and it then clogs the pump? 

I added a small % of Abyssinnian Oil as the long chain fatty acids this oil is made up of are supposed to take a surfactant from just plain soap, to a very rich shave foam with the addition of just a small % of a longer chain fatty acid. I prefer a cold process, so am avoiding having to use a meltable long chain fatty acid, such as Stearic Acid.

Thanks SO much everyone! I hope someone can help me crack the code to this most maddening of projects! :-)


  • Without knowing what surfactant combo you are using it's impossible to comment, sorry.
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  • OljaOlja Member

    You said, that sometimes you get the perfect outcome. Then just try and focus on that?
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