Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating ALS or SLES?

  • ALS or SLES?

    Posted by belassi on November 1, 2014 at 11:50 pm
    I’m developing a new shampoo with the intention of competing with a certain well-known anti dandruff shampoo. Since Zn pyrithione is unobtainable here, I have been trialling Tea Tree essential oil as an alternative, due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-mite properties. 
    The testers had all used the popular product and doubted the efficacy of any alternative, but the TTO seems to be at least as effective, in that none of the testers had a recurrence of dandruff. Some however reported irritated patches of skin at TTO = 0.2% and so the level has been reduced to 0.1% which is the 24 hour MIC for many organisms.

    The formulation is now as below (apart from pseudo-quats etc)
    water  63.8%
    ALS 12.5%
    CAPB     15.0%
    Lamesoft 1.5%
    Tea Tree Oil 0.1%

    It’s got great foam and everything, but a couple of testers said that it leaves their hair “too dry”.
    From that, I deduce that maybe the ALS is too effective a degreaser?
    Perhaps I should change the main surfactant, but is SLES milder than ALS? 


    davidw replied 3 weeks, 4 days ago 7 Members · 26 Replies
  • 26 Replies
  • chemist77

    Member
    November 2, 2014 at 12:48 am

    @Belassi I think it might give you a little advantage if you use ethoxylated form, and which would of course be less irritating compared to non-ethoxylated although. Secondly ALS has a lower CMC compared to SLS and hence it is a more effective cleanser. Enter the ethoxylated ones and you have a little less cleaning and I am guessing a little less dry.

  • nasrins

    Member
    November 2, 2014 at 6:04 am

    @belassi be sure that laureth is milder than luaryl( if it has ammonium or sodium). but my question is that is there any difference between Na and Ammonium in irritatancy or they are same?

  • nasrins

    Member
    November 2, 2014 at 7:14 am

    @belassi another point is that for antidandruff effect the percentage TTO  is 5% like this paper:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12451368 so how 0.1 could be effective?

  • belassi

    Member
    November 2, 2014 at 9:32 am

    @Nasrins if you study the MIC levels then 0.1% matches that. And testing on the panel shows that even 0.2% is a little too high. 5% would be for a pharmaceutical type to kill lice (and would be very expensive since TTO is $180/kilo)

  • Polymergirl

    Member
    November 2, 2014 at 10:09 am

    I would use the SLES and perhaps consider adding a co-surfactant such as cocamidopropyl betaine.

  • davidw

    Member
    November 2, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Someone once told me if you use equal amounts of ALS & ALES irritantcy drops to near nothing.

    • abdullah

      Member
      March 15, 2024 at 12:44 am

      @DavidW where can i find this information?

      • davidw

        Member
        March 18, 2024 at 12:21 pm

        It is just something a chemist told me once.

  • belassi

    Member
    November 2, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    The CAPB is the cocoamidopropyl betaine. 

    I wish I could get ALES here but unfortunately it isn’t available. 
    I think I’ll try the SLES instead, but I will have to reformulate because the thickening will be different. Shouldn’t take long though. 
    I like ALS because it is relatively mild and gives big bubbles rather than the creamy type foam you get with betaine and to some extent the ethoxylated surfactant. I hadn’t bargained on it actually being too efficient. I guess my two alternative approaches might be:
    a) change out the ALS for SLES and recalibrate for thickness.
    b) reduce the %ALS by adding a third surfactant, say sodium cocoamphoacetate, an amphoteric that plays well with ALS or SLES and CAPB. Problem here will be getting sufficient thickness without having to add an expensive thickener.
  • belassi

    Member
    November 2, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    @Milliachemist thanks a lot, I didn’t know that ALS is a more effective cleanser than even SLS. That explains the reports of dryness, I think.

  • chemist77

    Member
    November 2, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    @Belassi It’s a 2 way thing, your practical experience vindicated what I had read in theory. And thank you for sharing everything here, we are blessed to have people like you and other senior mentors whose experiences mean a lot for less learned like us.

    Cheers

  • belassi

    Member
    November 3, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Results:

    water  63.8%
    SLES      12.5%
    CAPB     12.5%
    Lamesoft 1.5%
    Tea Tree Oil 0.1%
    Salt for thickening 2.5%

    I set the betaine equal to the main surfactant and added salt until I had a really thick consistency. Adding the Lamesoft improved both consistency, thickness, and foam.

    As I expected, this combination produces small-bubble foam, it lacks the large bubbles I also like to see. I’ve got the surfactants at 25% now (not including the Lamesoft, also acts partially as a surfactant) so I think I will try adding some sodium cocoamphoacetate to see if I can get the large bubbles back. Not very impressed with the foam from this one, it is nowhere near as foamy as the ALS version.


  • belassi

    Member
    November 3, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Added 5% of sodium cocoamphoacetate. As expected this improved the foam. Thickness pretty much unaffected. Have some testers now of this so I’ll try it out.

  • oldperry

    Member
    November 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Interesting.  The formulas I used to work with had a 3:1 primary detergent:CAPB ratio.  50:50 seems pretty high.

  • chemist77

    Member
    November 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

    @Belassi Good luck and plz let us know the results. 

  • belassi

    Member
    November 3, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    @Perry: You’d need a lot more salt because the betaine has quite a bit… or maybe you shifted the curve using MEA or DEA?

  • belassi

    Member
    November 4, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Tried it myself this morning. Not bad. In fact I would say it’s a commercial product. Being a perfectionist though, I want bigger bubbles! (I am always trying to get big-bubble foam of the style I get from cold process soap, which is a pretty tough target, CP soap having such great foam)

    I think I will do another supplier investigation to see what alternative surfactants are available. Obviously, using SLS would give the kind of foam I’m looking for, but I won’t use that because it is too irritating. If anyone is interested I will post the whole of the current formula.
  • chemist77

    Member
    November 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    @Belassi Plz do so, its always a gain to look at a formula. 

  • belassi

    Member
    November 4, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    OK, here you are:

    water 66%
    SLES  12.5%
    CAPB  12.5%
    SCAA  5% (sodium cocoamphoacetate)
    calendula extract (hydrosol) 0.5% (label appeal)
    Lamesoft PO 65 1.5% (humectant and conditioner, also provides foam)
    potassium sorbate 0.5% preservative
    Polyquart H-81 2% (pseudo cationic, anti-frizz, anti-static)
    EDTA 0.1%
    Salt for thickening 2.5%
    Tea Tree Oil 0.1% (anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-mite)
    Fragrance 0.8% (I used vanilla and lavender)
  • chemist77

    Member
    November 4, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks a lot, seems like a 3-in1 here. Cleaning/anti-dandruff/conditioning

  • belassi

    Member
    November 5, 2014 at 1:44 am

    That’s right. That is exactly the intention. I only began trying the Polyquart a few weeks ago but now I love it; unlike actual cationics, it is a pseudo-cationic film former that gives the hair a bit of a luster; and you can use it in an anionic (traditional) recipe as well as in a sulphate-free type.

    I forgot to add to the list: citric acid, q/s for pH=5
    The formula is perhaps a little too thick, adjust the salt accordingly.
    This particular combination yields a clear shampoo.
    Oh, PS I apologise for it not adding up to exactly 100% - I did say it was a development project (grin)
    water should be 62% I think.
  • chemist77

    Member
    November 5, 2014 at 2:16 am

    Thanks a ton @Belassi, really appreciate your openness about sharing information. Now fingers crossed to see people having dandruff :)) and employing this formula

  • belassi

    Member
    November 9, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I should be getting opinions from the product testers this coming week, so I will try to post a resume. I have been using it myself so I do have a personal opinion. It leaves the hair very silky and shiny but after about 12 hours it feels a little too conditioned. Maybe reduce the H-81 to 1.5% - yeah, thinking about it, the Lamesoft is also a conditioning agent. And increase the calendula to 1%.

  • chemist77

    Member
    November 10, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Thanks a ton for all the great info.

  • belassi

    Member
    November 10, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    You’re welcome.

    I just found a probable reason why ALES is not available in my area. Our shade temperatures sometimes exceed 45C in summer and for much of the year 33 - 38C is not uncommon. I’ve just discovered that ALES breaks down (decomposes) due to hydrolysis over 40C. So I am currently looking to see which of these Lubrizol products might be available:
    Sulfochem ES-1260 (sodium laureth-12 sulphate)
    Sulfochem TD-3 / TD-365DXS / TD-365US (sodium trideceth sulphate)
  • belassi

    Member
    November 12, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Neither of those is available.

    Well, I am rejecting that formulation because it is irritating. Probably the SLES. After using sulphate-free shampoos for years I find SLES too irritant.
    So I am going to see if I can get a blend called Plantarem APB, a mixture of ALS, ALES, DEAL and Lauryl Glucoside. Failing that I will see if I can develop a low-sulphate version.

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