Chlorine removal Cleanser/Shampoo - Ingredients

Hi guys! Hope you're doing well! 

I want to formulate a product to remove chlorine and copper from the hair fiber, so I'm doing some research to find out what kind of ingredients I should use in a shampoo like this.

So, I've been working in a cosmetics company for a few years and I already know what the structure of a cleanser should look like to formulate it, but the problem is that I couldn't find raw materials that actually remove these elements. I did some benchmarks, read some ingredients lists and... nothing. What I found were just shampoo formulations after all, so I started to wonder if these claims about chlorine and copper are actually ingredient-based. Could it be that just the surfactants and/or chelators are doing all the hard work?

The product is intended for people who want to take care of their hair after swimming due to exposure to these elements, but I haven't made a formulation yet - I'm just trying to understand the chemistry behind these products, so any help is useful. 

Thank you all for your patience and kindness!  :)

Comments

  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    edited March 19
    For chlorine water can remove it.
    For copper EDTA will remove it. 

    But if these are in your rinsing water the you may not be able to remove it. 
  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    in my experience, sodium thiosulphate is used as a chlorine-neutralising agent, and as @Abdullah says, EDTA will remove copper
    UK based cosmetic chemist with 13 years' experience at the bench. I've worked with pretty much everything apart from pressed powders, soap, solid lipstick and aerosols.
  • LabLab Member
    Thank you for your help @Abdullah / @Bill_Toge !

    I've seen a lot of people complaining about their hair turning green after swimming in pools, do you know if only with these ingredients that you indicated my product would be able to help remove this unwanted color too? Water alone should neutralize de pH I guess, but I'm not 100% sure about that.
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Green hair - usually attributed to copper.  EDTA should help to some extent.   https://europepmc.org/article/med/7555100

  • @Lab As @PhilGeis mentioned, hair turning green in the swimming pool is due to the oxidation of copper present in hair (usually as part of dying), and it's prevented by using a chelant such as EDTA (you need to add more then usual to have a good performance). 

    In the case of chlorine, I'm not sure it binds to hair since it's very water soluble so you better just focus on chelating copper.
  • LabLab Member
    Oh, I understand better now! Thanks @PhilGeis / @ketchito !

    I really thought these effects were because of some specific active ingredient, but they are all well-known raw materials (and this explains why I didn't find anything different on the labels I looked at).

    I appreciate your help!

  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Chlorine (hypochlorite) - it's very reactive with protein.   If uncomplexed, you can rinse it away - otherwise it's prob complexed with hair protein.
  • PhilGeis said:
    Chlorine (hypochlorite) - it's very reactive with protein.   If uncomplexed, you can rinse it away - otherwise it's prob complexed with hair protein.
    And what it does when complexed with hair protein?
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    sure others have more info - certainly fade hair coloring but prob needs repeated exposure to really damage
  • LabLab Member

    PhilGeis said:
    sure others have more info - certainly fade hair coloring but prob needs repeated exposure to really damage
    This is very interesting and certainly worth further research. I'll try to see if I can find something out about it too!

    Oh! And do you guys know how much EDTA I should use to ensure a true effect like @ketchito said? I looked in technical materials from suppliers but concentrations are always the standard for chelators (typically 0.05% - 1%). I don't know how far I could go without it becoming a waste.
  • PhilGeis said:
    Chlorine (hypochlorite) - it's very reactive with protein.   If uncomplexed, you can rinse it away - otherwise it's prob complexed with hair protein.
    @PhilGeis You're right, I was just thinking about uncomplexed hypochlorite, but there's certainly some affinity giving some contact time. I once tried to dissolve human hair using different solvents (ionic liquids did the trick!), and hypochlorite was one of them. Although it didn't do the job, it ceirtainly reduced hair strenght and there were some signs of discoloration, although to be fair, the concentration of hypochlorite was extremely high compared to the ppm used in swimming pools. 
  • LabLab Member
    Hi guys! A little update here.

    As recommended, I switched my focus to copper instead of chlorine in my research. But still no clue about the concentration... I already use 0.1% Disodium EDTA as a chelator in many products I formulate, but in all the technical materials I've found they don't say anything about % in this type of product I'm trying to make.

    Does anyone have knowledge about this to share? I looked for articles and didn't find anything either (still doing my research). I don't know if it's a very specific topic and if there really are any in-depth studies on it, but I think I'm more skeptical about these products now.

    Oh! And should I use Disodium or Tetrasodium EDTA? Is there any difference in this case? I never worked with the second type.

    Thank you in advance!
  • I have used 0.3% EDTA in leave on Products without any side effect. You can try this amount. 0.1% looks small.

    Important is the viscosity of product. The lower the better.
  • LabLab Member
    @Abdullah do you think this concentration (0.3%) should be applied to all leave on products or just for the ones to remove copper?

    I'll keep what you said about viscosity in mind, thanks!
  • @Lab Not sure if it'll work in a leave on product. The strategy works mainly in rinse off products since you need some solvent (water) to allow mobility and later removal. 0.3% is a fair level to start with (I think I saw a product with 0.5% EDTA, but again, it was a shampoo).
  • AbdullahAbdullah Member
    edited March 24
    Lab said:
    @Abdullah do you think this concentration (0.3%) should be applied to all leave on products or just for the ones to remove copper?

    I'll keep what you said about viscosity in mind, thanks!
    not necessary for all products. 
    You said 0.1% didn't work so i said you can use higher amount.

  • @ketchito doesn't chelating a metal eliminate whatever effect that metal has?

    For example you chelate iron in a product, it doesn't do what iron does in a product anymore. although that iron is always there. 
  • LabLab Member
    ketchito said:
    @Lab Not sure if it'll work in a leave on product. The strategy works mainly in rinse off products since you need some solvent (water) to allow mobility and later removal. 0.3% is a fair level to start with (I think I saw a product with 0.5% EDTA, but again, it was a shampoo).

    I'm sorry, I understood that he was saying to all kind of leave-on products in general, not specifically to copper removal only.

    I'll try that concentration of 0.3%, but now I'm wondering... how would I know if it works afterall? Maybe with a test with hair in lab until green fades away?

    Abdullah said:
    Lab said:
    @Abdullah do you think this concentration (0.3%) should be applied to all leave on products or just for the ones to remove copper?

    I'll keep what you said about viscosity in mind, thanks!
    not necessary for all products. 
    You said 0.1% didn't work so i said you can use higher amount.


    Sorry Abdullah, I expressed myself badly. I meant that I'm used to add 0.1% EDTA to any products I made (that need chelators) like creams, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, etc. Sometimes I prefer other chelators, but this is just an example of the concentration I'm familiar with. Thanks for your help with that!
  • Abdullah said:
    @ketchito doesn't chelating a metal eliminate whatever effect that metal has?

    For example you chelate iron in a product, it doesn't do what iron does in a product anymore. although that iron is always there. 
    @Abdullah Yes. My comment was more about leave on products, which are mostly creams, so difussion of the chelant would be difficult enough to reach the metal ion. In the case of cleansers, you have water as your medium so it's easier for the complexing process to happen, that's why I believe it'd be more effective to add the chelant in high doses in a shampoo, for instance. 
  • Bill_Toge said:
    in my experience, sodium thiosulphate is used as a chlorine-neutralising agent, and as @Abdullah says, EDTA will remove copper
    This is very interesting. I thought Sodium Thiosulphate was just a preservative in cosmetics. I know it's very common to use it in pools to remove chlorine, but I never related its use in cosmetics...

    I'm not sure about the complete mechanism of action, but in pools its only removes chlorine that's already in the water (turning it in an inactive salt, as I remember). So, in cosmetics the action will be only in the formulation or in the hair too? Do you know the concentration that must be used to be effective? 
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    Not aware of any Na thiosulphate use as cosmetic preservative.   It's a reducing agent.

    Agree - it's only effective vs. remnant hypochlorite in solution.  Does not reverse existing reaction with hair protein.
  • PhilGeis said:
    Not aware of any Na thiosulphate use as cosmetic preservative.   It's a reducing agent.

    Agree - it's only effective vs. remnant hypochlorite in solution.  Does not reverse existing reaction with hair protein.
    Sorry, you're right about that! Thanks for correcting me!

    Lab said:
    Hi guys! A little update here.

    As recommended, I switched my focus to copper instead of chlorine in my research. But still no clue about the concentration... I already use 0.1% Disodium EDTA as a chelator in many products I formulate, but in all the technical materials I've found they don't say anything about % in this type of product I'm trying to make.

    Does anyone have knowledge about this to share? I looked for articles and didn't find anything either (still doing my research). I don't know if it's a very specific topic and if there really are any in-depth studies on it, but I think I'm more skeptical about these products now.

    Oh! And should I use Disodium or Tetrasodium EDTA? Is there any difference in this case? I never worked with the second type.

    Thank you in advance!

    I did a little research on the topic of copper and found something interesting... It seems that some dermatologists prescribe something called "Penicillamine " for people who have green hair, so they dissolve a 250mg capsule with 5ml of shampoo (traditional) + 5ml water (tap?) to help removal of copper from the hair fiber. In the studies I've read the timelapse for the change is +/- 2 months.

    Also, "Disodium EDTA" is for acidic pH (- 7.0) and "Tetrasodium EDTA" is for alkaline pH (+ 7.0).
  • Rafacasti said:

    Also, "Disodium EDTA" is for acidic pH (- 7.0) and "Tetrasodium EDTA" is for alkaline pH (+ 7.0).


    @Rafacasti
    What would happen if you used tetrasodium EDTA in products with an acidic pH?

    I'm asking because we ran out of disodium EDTA for a while and we ended up using tetrasodium for a good amount of batches until we got some more delivered. All the products we formulated at that time were acidic. I was told they were more or less interchangeable. 
    Lab Assistant to a Cosmetic Formulator at a contract manufacturing company. New to the field and willing to learn.
  • @PhilGeis Ah okay, thank you for the information and source.

    Lab Assistant to a Cosmetic Formulator at a contract manufacturing company. New to the field and willing to learn.
  • Rafacasti said:

    Also, "Disodium EDTA" is for acidic pH (- 7.0) and "Tetrasodium EDTA" is for alkaline pH (+ 7.0).


    @Rafacasti
    What would happen if you used tetrasodium EDTA in products with an acidic pH?

    I'm asking because we ran out of disodium EDTA for a while and we ended up using tetrasodium for a good amount of batches until we got some more delivered. All the products we formulated at that time were acidic. I was told they were more or less interchangeable. 

    Hello, Adamn! I'm sorry for delay in replying!

    Not too sure about the details, but as @PhilGeis said, it evolves solubility (and other little things)


    - Disodium EDTA
    • Sodium cations: 2 (per molecule)
    • Atoms of hydrogen: 4 (two of them are binded with the sodium cations)
    • Molecular mass: 336.2 g/mol
    • pH: 4-6 (sometimes 7, but never higher)
    • Soluble in: water
    • Structure: C(10)H(14)N(2)Na(2)O(8)

    - Tetrasodium EDTA
    • Sodium cations: 4 (per molecule)
    • Atoms of hydrogen: 4 (all of them are binded with the sodium cations)
    • Molecular mass: 380.1 g/mol
    • pH: 10-11 (sometimes higher or lower, but never lower than 7)
    • Soluble in: water, ethanol (slightly)
    • Structure: C(10)H(14)N(2)Na(4)O(8)
    • Also, presents a higher potential to "sequestrate" metal ions

    Both of them are subproducts of EDTA synthesis, used as chelating agents (and sometimes as preservatives, if I'm not wrong)... I heard once that Tetrasodium EDTA is more irritating and presents ecotoxicity in some way, but I'm not sure about that.

    Anyway, I have no examples of incompatibilities between ingredients and these two forms of EDTA, but I think it would make little to no difference in your formulations (as I supposed you're using low concentrations)... At least in my country (Brazil) I saw Tetrasodium EDTA far fewer times when compared to Disodium EDTA (most of the cases with Tetrasodium had both)


    Sorry if this wasn't the answer you wanted, but it's all I could find and remembered. Hope it helps in some way! (:
  • Hi,

    I was just reading a magazine, and I found this very interesting comment from Dr. Lochhead.



    Reference: https://www.rodpub.com/email/hap/Whitepapers/eBook/2/evonik_eBook.pdf
  • PhilGeisPhilGeis Member, Professional formulator
    edited April 17
    Lochhead is a well-recognized hair expert
  • LabLab Member
    ketchito said:
    Hi,

    I was just reading a magazine, and I found this very interesting comment from Dr. Lochhead.



    Reference: https://www.rodpub.com/email/hap/Whitepapers/eBook/2/evonik_eBook.pdf
    Thank you @ketchito!

    I looked through the references and found the following patent linked to this comment: https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/73/e4/b9/a05e8b915c7d79/US9642787.pdf

    I admit that I'm particularly skeptical about patents because I don't really understand if there's really a backing for all of them (even though this one in particular is from The Procter & Gamble Company)... but as @PhilGeis ;said Dr. Lochhead is an expert on the subject, I tend to believe more


    Thank you guys (:
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