Why 7 Surfactants in a Shampoo?!

So I just got a new shampoo and Im trying to formulate my own. But I was reading through the ingredients and if Im correct it has 7 detergents....Please correct me:

Most to least-
sodium lauroyl sarcosinate,coca betain,sodium cocoamhoacetate, lauryl glucoside, decyl glucoside, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate....

This is the longest detergent list Ive ever seen on a shampoo. I will say it foams like crazy so Im assuming some may be foam inhancers...
1. But are all these really needed?
2. why so many?
3. Of course I can look it up, but anyone know off hand if all of these are COSMOS approved?


  • BelassiBelassi Member
    Surfactants are often synergistic.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • so than would you say when it comes to surfactants in a shampoo the more might be the better? what could you imagine the % of usage is for these in this formula. After the surfactants its literally glycerin, tons of extracts, some vitamins and a preservative.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    In my view this is just lazy, unfocused formulating. There is no good reason to include 7 surfactants in a shampoo. You can make a good shampoo with 2 or 3 surfactants. 
  • @Perry I would love to know which 2-3 you would recommend (non sulfate) Id also like to stay away from Coco Betaine as its has a high irritation rating. I have nothing against sulfate shampoos but honestly there are so many great ones out there, mine would prob be no better. I also only use one every once in a while so Id like to formulate one that Id use more often and my customers. I swear picking out the surfactants have been the only reason I haven't formulated yet. I am also trying to abide by COSMOS standard, its just a good idea with the name and philosophy of the brand so things like sodium lauroyl sarcosinate are not permitted from what I've looked up.
  • BelassiBelassi Member
    sodium cocoamphoacetate produces excellent small-bubble foam. But it must be combined with other surfactant(s) to work well.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Thanks so much. I will deff look into that one. Also found out that the COSMOS raw material site might be faulty. I looked up Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate and it didnt show up, but i found on another site it was ECOCERT approved. Would this work well with it?
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Your question "would this work well" is a difficult one to answer because the answer depends on what you define as "working well."  The experience of a shampoo, the lather, the way it leaves hair, the rinsability, etc. is a subjective measure. Whether you, or more importantly your consumers think it works well is the most important factor and that is not an answer anyone on this board can give you.

    I can tell you that when I was involved in a blinded, home use test of the top selling shampoos the one that performed the best contained Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine. Alternative surfactant systems were not as well liked by consumers.

    However, that test compared the formulas with a general group of consumers. It didn't test it with your consumers. Consumers were also blinded to the ingredients they were using. 

    All this is to say that maybe Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate will work for your consumers, or maybe it won't. You have to try it and see.
  • @Perry No I agree, sulfates def cleanse better. My customer base is very used to using sulfates on a need to bases but like a more mild clean for my frequent washes. So I def understand that the best clean may not be produced with non sulfate. I think what I am having difficulty with is which ones to pair together. I understand the ionic, anionic etc. but understanding perfectly what each one would do aside from what I can is under my know how. For example could I use DLS with SC that was mentioned above and Decyl Glucoside Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate mix? Would this make a well performing non sulfate? And well performing in a general sense. Of course I understand everyone's opinion is subjective on what that means... :D
  • One possible reason is that they bought and used a proprietary mix from their supplier.

    Copy and pasting some of your surfactants into google showed me "coco glucose" by MakingCosmetics has a very similar INCI list to all the surfactants tacked on, for example. http://www.makingcosmetics.com/fact-sheets/fact-sheet-coco-glucose.pdf
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