Minimalist Shampoo Formulation

After successfully tackling the formulation of o/w emulsions...

I'm looking to try my hand at shampoos. The only surfactant I have on hand is sodium lauroyl glutamate in powder form. I would like to start with this then and keep the formulation as eco-friendly and minimalist as possible. 

What surfactant blends would perform well with sodium lauroyl glutamate? Would Plantapon LGC Sorb alone be sufficient? 

All the shampoo formulations on UL Prospector seem to have a laundry list of surfactants in them. Presumably their purpose is to sell more product. How many surfactants are really necessary for a decently performing shampoo?


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    If you used sulfates, you could make a great shampoo with 2 surfactants.

    With the surfactants you're using, it would probably work, but I don't think it would make a good shampoo. You probably don't need more than 2 surfactants to make a good shampoo. 
  • Thanks @Perry so my understanding is minimalism is possible but only if the surfactants are the best available for foaming and cleansing.

    If other factors are more important then more ingredients are needed to compensate for the lacking performance. Even then, it may be impossible to achieve the performance of the minimalist shampoo. 
  • ngarayeva001ngarayeva001 Member
    edited September 2019
    Minimalistic shampoo: SLES, CAPB, NaCL, Preservative, Water. Citric Acid.
    Nicer version of a minimalistic shampoo: all the above plus .5% of Poliquaternium 10, Refatting agent (glyceryl oleate or PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate), fragrance.

    Sodium lauroyl glutamate is too mild and difficult to thicken. You will be better off investing in more traditional surfactants, if you want a decent result.
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    I suggest first, see if you can get hold of some Stepan APB (all purpose blend) which makes a pretty good shampoo merely diluting with water, and will thicken with salt. It's ALS/ALES based and in my opinion has much better performance than SLS/SLES shampoos. Try that and use it as a reference mark for other creations you might want to try. 
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  • @Belassi @ngarayeva001 - Awesome pointers on where to start. Thanks!
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