Cosmetic Label Dissecting - Burts Bees Baby Shampoo

Here’s another in our continuing series on dissecting the cosmetic label. By reviewing these labels it is our hope that you will develop the skills yourself. This is a key activity that all good cosmetic formulators should be able to do.

Today’s label is a product from Burt’s Bees called Baby Bee Tear Free Shampoo. Previously, someone had asked us to do a ‘natural’ product.

Ingredient list

First thing is the ingredient list as listed on

Water, Decyl, Lauryl Glucosides (Natural Coconut Oil, Corn, Starch, Sugar Soap Blend), Coco Betaine (Coconut Oil Moisturizer), Soy Protein, Coco Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate (Natural Sunflower, Coconut Oil Soap Blend), Surcrose Laurate (Sugar Ester), Vegetable Glycerin, Betaine (Sugar Beet), Glucose Sugar, Fragrance, Orange Oil, Anise Oil, Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonium) Oil, Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia) Extract, Clove Oil, Xanthan Gum (Natural Thickener), Glucose Oxidase, Lactoperoxidase

It’s notable that while this source mostly gets things right they certainly make mistakes. In this label the second ingredient is wrong. There is no such compound as Decyl. More likely the compound is supposed to be ‘Decyl Glucosides’ as this is the only thing that makes sense.

It’s also notable that this list doesn’t follow proper INCI labeling because they include marketing words in the ingredient list. (Coconut oil moisturizer) and (natural coconut oil, corn…) are not proper INCI names.

The corrected label should look more like this…

Water, Decyl Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Soy Protein, Coco Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Surcrose Laurate, Glycerin, Betaine, Glucose, Fragrance, Orange Oil, Anise Oil, Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonium) Oil, Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia) Extract, Clove Oil, Xanthan Gum, Glucose Oxidase, Lactoperoxidase

The most likely 1% line is after the Cocamidopropyl Betaine and before the Soy Protein.

Since Burts Bees is owned by Clorox, it is a bit surprising to me that they have this many errors in their ingredient lists. Perhaps the errors are ones.

Ingredient breakdown

Detergent system
These are the ingredients that are responsible for making the product clean hair.

Decyl Glucoside - Primary detergent
Lauryl Glucoside - Primary detergent
Cocamidopropyl Betaine - Foam boosting, thickening
Betaine - Foam boosting

Xanthan Gum

These ingredients are put in to offset the dryness of the detergent system.

Soy Protein
Coco Glucoside - Emollient
Glyceryl Oleate - Emollient
Sucrose Laurate - Emollient
Glycerin - Humectant
Glucose - Humectant

Preservative system
There isn’t an obvious preservative system but they use a number of extracts and oils that could provide enough microbial protection in a detergent system. These ingredients are likely adding to the preservative effect (in addition to providing odor and good label copy).

Orange Oil
Anise Oil
Lemon (Citrus Medica Limonium) Oil
Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia) Extract
Clove Oil
Glucose Oxidase - Product stabilizer
Lactoperoxidase - Product stabilizer

No doubt this is a fine enough product and it avoids parabens, sulfates, and other ingredients that buyers of ‘natural’ personal care products would want to avoid.

With all the oils in there it will be a low foaming product and I would worry that exposure to too many different oils could increase the number of allergic reactions to the product. However, I’m certain Burts Bees has thoroughly tested the product so this shouldn’t be a huge problem.

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How Shampoos Are Made

Shampoos are cleaning formulations made up primarily of chemicals called surfactants that have the ability to surround oily materials on surfaces and allow them to be rinsed away by water. While there are numerous types of shampoos the majority are low viscosity, solution formulas delivered from a plastic bottle. Often they are marketed towards different hair types or conditions.

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