Help me, please! What am I doing wrong?

Unknown Member
edited April 2014 in Formulating
A desperate newbie question. I am trying to make a shampoo/body wash out of glucosides. I have Lauryl, Coco, Decyl Glucoside at home lab. I am sure, this is frequently asked question, but how can I thicken my mixture? 
I have guar gum (nonionic) and xanthan gum.

I know, I can't use salt to thicken glucosides, right? (But then why some of shampoo brands use salt to thicken mixtures that contain also glucosides?)

I know, guar gum and xanthan gum are picky with some ingredients. I have heard, that xanthan gum is intolerant to cocamidopropyl betaine, but guar tolarates it, right?

I know, the pH of my lotion should be under 6 for guar and xanthan to thicken them, right?

I hava read, that I should add gums as the last ingredient in cooling phase, right? Although, some sources say, they have had success adding gums during the heated water or oil phase - they have mixed the guar with glyceryn/oil and then added to the rest of the mixture.

I am so confused, I have tried so many technics without success. The mixture still remains a) separated and b) liquid not gel.

The ingredients would be as follows:
Water 53,70%
Coco Glucoside 6,00%
Cocamide betaine 5,00%
Decyl Glucoside 10,00%
Aloe Vera Juice 10,00%
Glycerin 3,00%
silk 2,00%
Lauryl Glucoside 4,00%
Essential oil 1,00%
Preservative 0,50%
Citric Acid 0,60%
Cetrimonium Chloride 2,00%
Panthenol 2,00%
Guar Gum 0,20%

The amount for citric acid and guar is actually approximate, I change the amounts during the mixture making as needed. I know, that I can't go too up with adding gums as it gives the opposite result, right?

So, once again, please, can anyone suggest how to thicken my mixture?
Should I take down the pH before cooling phase (in the heating phase)?
When adding gums, should I mix them with water/oil/glyceryn before adding to the rest of my mixture (some suggest mix with oil, but that is weird, as gums are soluble in water, right?)? If yes, should the premixture with gums be heated before adding to the rest of my solution?
When adding gums to the liquids, should I use mixer (I only have regular kitchen equipment though)?

Thank you!



  • CORBOPOL is the solution for this problem, corbopal is the acidic substance just by neutralizing we will get gel form so many grades are available according to the viscosity, 
  • Thanks, but I googled it and found pretty much nothing on Google, European Commission database etc. Where to get it?

  • MakingSkincareMakingSkincare Member, Professional formulator
    Merit - there is a discussion on this subject which you might find interesting here -
    Jane Barber (free online course)
    Formulation discussion forum (18,000 members):
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    edited April 2014
    @Merit Better google a sulfate free formula and you would have some leads or Dow Chemicals' Aculyn 22 can be tried, you would have to neutralize it though. But again it cannot take your 2% cetrimonium chloride, either eliminate it or go through literature to find the maximum allowable quantity though I am not very hopeful. Or you could try Carbopol Aqua CC especially designed for cationics and low pH, go through it's literature to get clear idea. Last but not the least your1% essential oil is not a good cause for high viscosity, try reducing that as well.
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    edited April 2014
    the fact it's got cetrimonium chloride in it means that xanthan gum and carbomers wouldn't work either, as they're anionics

    Methocel (hydroxymethylpropyl cellulose) is a good thickener for shampoos, as it gives long-flow rheology and helps boost the foam; it's non-ionic too, so you shouldn't have compatibility issues with it
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • Thanks everyone!

    I have read the discussion in the FB MakingSkinCare group, so I removed CABD and aloe vera from my solution, but still no success. I didn't realize that cetrimonium chloride is cationic, I try to eliminate it in my next test.
    I also try to get some alternative thickners, but as I am located in North-Europe, I have limited access to supplies.
    I have found Carbopol 980, but not Carbopol Aqua CC.
    Will also order some Methocel.

    Someone from the FB Skincare group said she had success using Glyceryl stearate (which is actually emulsifier?).

    Still a question from previous post - when making surfactant based solutions, should I use blender or stick blender at high speed or just to stir by hand? There should be no bubbles in my solution, so I thought I wouldn't use mixers?

  • MakingSkincareMakingSkincare Member, Professional formulator
    I would advise not to use a stick blender. sell Methocel in small quantities and they also sell carbopol ultrez 10.
    Jane Barber (free online course)
    Formulation discussion forum (18,000 members):
  • Thanks! But still, should I use any machinery at all then or just my own hands?
    Yes, I was planning to make my first order from Phoenix :) I found Carbopol 980 there, there is no ultrez at least in my prizelist (got it in March)...

  • AvickAvick Member
    Stirplates work great for small batch surfactant blending.

  • tonyhtonyh Member
    edited April 2014
    I know a formulator that used "Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride" -- cationic Guar Gum (and LAMESOFT PO 65) to thicken their Coco Glucoside based conditioning shampoo.

    I like Bill_Toge comment.


    "Also when using Guar, you really need to hydrate the Guar for some time, usually an hour or more is best but some people do it under that time frame. This is so the Guar expands like a net in the solvent, causing the viscosity in the water stage, and adds stability for further formulating. Otherwise the Guar will simply fall out of solution and you will not have the viscosity desired. "

    " to make shampoo with cationic guar so that it wont separate.
    Step by step:

    1.Mix catinic guar in water while stirring.
    2.Bring ph down to 3,5-4, this will make it clear and allow cationig guar to wet properly.
    3.Mix 30 min.
    4.Add surfactants, (if using amphoteric surfactants put them firstly)
    5.Fragrance and preservatives.

    If you have failed, and your product separated at the bottom- it means cationic guar was not wetted properly."

    Info from, more:

  • Unknown Member
    Thank you so much, this place is absolutely fantastic!
    I finally succeeded with guar gum - got great ideas from you that do work!

  • merit87...
    as had the shampoo separation problem ..... my remains that the solution
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