How polyols affect surfactant system?

zeteinzetein Member
It's said polyols kills foam in shampoo. But it's also said that polyols boosts stability and elasticity of foam in thin liquid that are pumped into foam.
It's said polyols helps disolving/wetting/dispersing amphiphiles that are harder to dissolve in liquid soap, self-thickened cream, and micellar water, avoiding separation. But it's also said polyols makes the softer phase in bar soap precipitate/crystallize, resulting in a harder bar.
How it managed to do these conflicting things?
What is the micro theory behind these phenomenon?


  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Polyol doesn't equal polyol and some speak of polyol also in the context of glycols/diols.
    And then there are different emulsifiers which will react differently.
    I've read different theories which basically have to do with head group interactions and subsequently changing emulsifier solubilities. However, I haven't seen any publication which actually calculated or predicted such a phenomenon accurately for example by using COSMO-RS (maybe I just have other interests, maybe I didn't search good enough, maybe cosmetics doesn't use COSMO-RS...).
  • zeteinzetein Member
    Yes indeed! I also want to count PEGs and sugars in, but failed to find the proper word :#
    Seemingly, maltitol and sorbitol are the most referred to boost foam. And transparent soaps, usually rich in sucrose and the like, foam better than usual soap according to experience, but I may be wrong.
    It also seems a pattern that hydrophilic -ols would disperse low soluble amphiphilies (fatty acids, nonionic esters etc.) but precipitate higher soluble surfactants (sodium laurate, sodium cocoyl glycinate etc.). The amphiphilic glycols and diols would tend to disperse despite the surfactant, but I may also be wrong.
    Oh how I wish I was a real chemist... :#

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