Thickening Non-Ionic and Amphoteric surfactants

ZaraZara Member
Hi everyone,
Thanks for accepting me in your group. Sorry if I am asking same question because I couldn't find any answer.
I made a shampoo with Caprilyl Capric Glucosie, Cocamidopropyl Betaine and Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate and the total active is 12. It is good, doesn't irritate, foams very well and the after feel is also good but I am not able to thicken it up. I tried adding Cellulose gum in all different way but it doesn't work. It doesn't give me a smooth finish.
what is your opinion on PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate or is there any other natural thickener that you can suggest please? Something that can easily be added to the formula.
*And also what ingredient in the below ingredients list makes the product thick?

Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Saw Palmetto, Glycerin, Sage Leaf Extract, Rice Protein, Goto Kola, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Aloe Vera leaf extract* Willow leaf extract, Urtica Dioica flower extract, Green Tea Extract, Red Seaweed Extract,  Ginseng, White Willow Bark, White birch extract, Yarrow leaf extract, Safflower Oil, Rosemary leaf extract, Thyme leaf oil*, triticum vulgare oil, Panthenol, Benzoic acid, citric acid, Natural Vitamin E*, Natural Fragrance of Essential Oils.
Thank you so much for your help.


  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    What is that - Glucamate LT? I recommend Glucamate VLT (trioleate version) it's fabulous. Great sensorials. Acts as preservative. But, expensive.
    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.
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    *And also what ingredient in the below ingredients list makes the product thick?
    - NONE of them. Looks like a fake label.
    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.
  • You could try some other cellulose derivatives - HEC might do the trick. Failing that, one of the carbopol grades should work - think there's at least one that's been designed for use in surfactant systems.

    I agree with Belassi that there's nothing in that ingredients list that would thicken a product, unless they have rather misleadingly referred to Carrageenan as "Red Seaweed Extract" , which would be the truth but certainly not the whole truth.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Red seaweed extract is actually an INCI for what I would define as less purified carrageenan.
    The rice proteins might do something if mixed with carrageenan??? But honestly, I concur with the others, the LOI 'looks rather liquid'.
  • ZaraZara Member
    Thank you everyone for your help.
    Belassi , The consistency of the product is a bit runny but definitely has some thickeness when demonstrating it .They also call the product organic just because of Aloe Vera and Vitamin E.

    LincsChemist , I tried HCS with and without Guar Conditioner, I made maybe more than 20 small batches and changed the order of adding the ingredients and also did hot and cold process ,The only thing that worked a bit was an emulsifier called Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate but it reduces the foam. I don't mind to use it in hand wash because feels very nice on your skin but for hair it is too heavy. 
    Looking forward to hear your opinions.
  • ZaraZara Member
    another question, What do you think about Potassium Oleate? It is an emulsifier, it might solve the problem but I am not sure if it is safe for skin. I couldn't find much info on the internet. Thanks
  • @Zara potassium oleate is perfectly safe for skin, it’s made with Potash and Olive Oil. Basically, it’s a fancy name for liquid castile soap. It is an anionic surfactant, and a true soap (fatty acid alkaline metal salt)

    But you could add other possibly cheaper ones like sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) or alpha olephin sulfonate (AOS 40 if you need an even milder one. The cocamidopropyl betaine in your formula will immediately thicken these anionic surfactants.

  • ZaraZara Member
    letsalcido Thank you for your input. My formula has got 12% cocamidopropyl betaine of the total atm, I even thought this amount would give me a reasonable thickness because I read somewhere about it but it didn't change the formula at all. 
  • @Zara CAPB only thickens anionic surfactants. If you don’t have one in your formula, it will not get thick! The anionic(s) would normally be your primary surfactant(s). It is also possible to add too much CAPB or salt and lose all viscosity. You can google it, it’s called the surfactant salt curve, and you can experiment to find the optimal amount of salt of CAPB to achieve the maximum thickness in your formula.

  • ZaraZara Member
    Zara said:
    letsalcido Thank you for your input. At first I had anionic surfactant in my formula and the consistency of it wasn't that bad. Now I am trying not to have anionic in the formula and it seems it is harder to thicken it up.
    One question please, do you think Sorbitol can help with the thickening? Thanks

  • @Zara I don’t think sorbitol would thicken it on it’s own. It’s a sugar alcohol used as a humectant.

    Some thickeners you can try:
    PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate (Like you mentioned)
    PEG-150 distearate
    PEG-150 pentaerythrityl tetrastearate
    Gums (modified cellulose, xanthan)
    Polymers (carbopol/acrylates)
  • ZaraZara Member
    letsalcido Thank you for your help. I have another question, are these thickener except gums easy to incorporate in to the surfactants system or I need a big stirrer machine for them? Thanks
  • PEG-150 distearate needs heating, the other two are liquids that you can incorporate at room temperature.

    I don’t have experience with making large batches, but simple stirring would suffice.
  • ZaraZara Member
    letsalcido Thank you for your quick and helpful response. I'll buy a few of them to see which one works better for me.

    And thanks everyone for your wonderful responses. I really appreciate it.
  • Genapol LT, as a thickener for SLES free shampoo
  • ZaraZara Member
    khoikhoa , Thank you for your respond. It seems like I can't find Genapol LT in Australia. 

  • Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose is not compatible with Glucoside but Hydroxyethylcellulose is in my experience
  • ZaraZara Member
    Abdullah , I just used  Hydroxyethyl cellulose. Maybe I need a big stirrer machine to be able to mix it well. I make small batch and mix it by hand. As everyone is saying I need a polymer that is already liquid.  Thanks for your input.
  • @Zara do you know how to use HEC? 
    It is water soluble and can mix very easily buy after mixing you have to increase the pH to 8-10 for it to get thickened. And then you can decrease the pH back. 
    Decyl glucoside is very hard to thicken and you would need more HEC. Lauryl and coco Glucoside is not so difficult. 
  • ZaraZara Member
    edited July 2020
    Abdullah , Thanks, You've got a few good points there. 
    I always mix HEC with glycerin first, then add it to water while mixing but never adjust the PH. I make Aloe gel like that and it thickens, the water PH is 7.
    I am going to do a few more batches with what you suggested and also change the arrangement of the surfactants, so my first surfactant would be Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate which I believe it is Anionic and try to see if I can get a bit of thickness there with Cocamidopropyl Betaine and maybe some salt. Thanks again.
Sign In or Register to comment.