Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Bubbles in shampoo formulation

  • Bubbles in shampoo formulation

    Posted by RickS on August 16, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    Hi all,

    I am new to formulating, so not an expert by any means! But would appreciate some insight from the community.

    I am looking to make a shampoo and having issues with bubbles. I am using xatham gum and during the gelling process its creating a lot of bubbles that do no dissipate (even with 24 hours rest). 

    Methods used:
    (1) 1% xatham gum + over 50% water. 
    Result: the xatham gum did not gel well into the water, so i had to use a milk frother to mix this sample. The result was a very “gel-like” substance with a lot of bubbles. Let this sit for 20 mins to incorporate and the bubbles are still trapped as expected.

    (2) 0.5% xatham gum + 5% glycerin + 50% water. 
    Result: i did this in two steps.
    (a) I gelled the xatham gum + glycerin, mixed with only spatula, waited 20 mins. The immediate result was a homogeneous liquid.
    (b) after 20 mins, i added this to water and the glycerin didnt mix well with the water so i had to stir it with more force, leading to some bubbles. These bubbles also do not dissipate by sitting.

    Is there a way to better reduce bubbles here when making at home? As i see shampoos on the market are a nice homogeneous liquid.

    Thank you all for your help in advance!

    letsalcido replied 3 years, 11 months ago 3 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • LincsChemist

    August 17, 2020 at 11:50 am

    Hi @RickS

    Your problem lies in the fact that you’re using Xanthan gum to thicken - this gives pseudoplastic (shear-thinning) rheology and as such is good at suspending things, including bubbles. Most shampoos on the market are thickened by the addition of electrolytes (usually common salt) to anionic surfactants, which generally gives a Newtonian rheology and as such will allow the bubbles to rise and dissipate, providing the viscosity isn’t so great as to completely overcome the buoyancy of the bubbles.

    There’s two ways to overcome this problem - firstly you could manufacture your shampoo under a partial vacuum,  which is very costly in terms of setup, or you could change the formulation to something similar to the above.

    Actually there’s a third way - put it in an opaque bottle so no-one can see the bubbles! 

  • RickS

    August 18, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Thank you for the suggestions Lincs! Very helpful. I will try the salt.

  • letsalcido

    August 18, 2020 at 5:27 pm

    @RickS you didn’t mention which surfactants you are using. Only some of them respond well to electrolyte (salt) thickening. 

    If you share your formula, you can get more specific advise.

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