Order of adding surfactants

ZaraZara Member
edited August 12 in Formulating
Hi everyone,

Is there any order in adding Anionic, Nonionic and Amphoteric surfactants to a  formula? Because I've heard the amphoteric surfactants need to be added at the end of process.

These are my surfactants list,
Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate
Cocomidopropyl Betaine
Caprylyl /Capryl Glucoside
Sunfloweroyl Methylglucamide
Do you think different orders of adding would give different outcomes?
I really appreciate your help. 


  • I don’t think the outcome will be much different, it’s the ease of processing in most cases.

    You add amphoterics at the end because they will thicken the formulation and make it more difficult to process, potentially causing too much air to get trapped.

    If you’re solubilizing a fragrance or essential oil, it matters that it should be mixed first with your solubilizer. 
  • ZaraZara Member
    edited August 15
    letsalcido , Thank you for response, so does the amphoterics surfactants goes in the blend after all other ingredients including water? 
    I mixed 0.4g essential oil with 7g of Caprylyl /Capryl Glucoside first it was still cloudy and then added the surfactants and then water.
    1 more question please,
    Is it better to have solubliser or emulsifier to mix the essential oil with?
  • Solubilizers will give you a clear solution. But you’ll have to experiment with different ones (Polysorbate 20, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil...) and ratios of solubilizer to essential oil, and make sure to first mix the two thoroughly before adding to the rest of the formulation. I would add them at the end too.
  • ZaraZara Member
    ;letsalcido , thank you.
    I mixed just 0.4g essential oil with 7g of Caprylyl /Capryl Glucoside which is a solubilizer and still was cloudy. I'll try your way by adding the essential oil at the end. I'll update you on that. Thanks
  • letsalcidoletsalcido Member
    edited August 17
    @Zara to make a clear product you need a solubilizer that yields super small micelles. Polysorbate 20 and PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil are the benchmark and will yield a clear solution at the right proportion with the EOs.

    If you can’t achieve a clear product, you’ll need a different solubilizer or a combination of different things, like this one: https://www.formulatorsampleshop.com/FSS-SuperSolv-p/fssd30045.htm or this one https://www.formulatorsampleshop.com/Poly-Suga-Mulse-D9-p/fssb20016.htm
  • ZaraZara Member
    ;letsalcido , thank you for your help. I tried different order of adding the surfactants in the formula. 
    I mixed 0.4g essential oil + 0.4 Vitamin E with 7g of Caprylyl /Capryl Glucoside then added at the end to my formula as you suggested and the shampoo looks more clear. Thank you for that. 

    I added 3.5g PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate (as a thickener) to hot water, then added Sodium Cocoyl Glycinate first and Cocomidopropyl Betaine second and it produced very thick blend but the moment I added the Essential Oil blend the formula thinned out. What the reason can be? Any thought on that please? Thank you for your help , I really appreciate it.
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