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Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Formula Advice: Gentle Shampoo + Body Wash

  • Formula Advice: Gentle Shampoo + Body Wash

    Posted by Camel on February 7, 2022 at 7:38 am

    Hello,

    I am new to this forum and seeking advice on a formula I have recently made. It is supposed to be a gentle shampoo and body wash which I am hoping to make usable by children two years and older. I do not intend on selling this product, but instead giving them away as gifts to friends and family. I want to clarify that I am absolutely a beginner at formulating and trying to learn more every day.

    Formula:

    • Distilled Water: 67%
    • Decyl Glucoside: 10%
    • Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate:5%
    • Shea Butteramidopropyl Betaine: 5%
    • PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil: 5%
    • Hydrolyzed Rice Protein: 5%
    • Tocopherol (Vitamin E Oil): 2%
    • Preservative (Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Glycerin, and Sorbic Acid): 1%

    This resulted in a cleanser that produced a nice amount of foam and left my skin feeling clean but not stripped. I have a few concerns, though:

    1. Is the Vitamin E oil worth adding to a rinse-off product? I found some research that believes it might have some effectiveness in this application, but I was hoping to hear your opinions. I know oil is generally useless in a cleanser.
    2. In this version of the formula, the Vitamin E oil separated onto the top layer of the product. I thought the combination of SCI and HCO would take care of that, but it seems I was wrong, or maybe didn’t use enough. I made another version where I subbed 3% of the water weight for BTMS-25 and it has not separated yet, but I am not sure if that is the right choice because I am not using cationic surfactants. 
    3. Is the salicylic acid content of the preservative unsafe for children’s skin? If so, can an alternative preservative be suggested?
    4. Is Decyl Glucoside a bad choice for a surfactant? I ordered it before learning that it has been linked to contact dermatitis and I have seen some distaste for it in this forum, but it is still used by brands like Johnson & Johnson and Pipette Baby, which is why I originally thought it was a safe choice. 

    If anyone has additional suggestions or comments they would like to make, I would really appreciate it. This formula might be a total mess, but I am still learning and trying to start with something simple.

    Camel replied 9 months, 2 weeks ago 5 Members · 32 Replies
  • 32 Replies
  • Camel

    Member
    April 27, 2022 at 1:16 am

    Abdullah said:

    For preservative use DMDM hydantoin. Inexpensive and effective

    I will look into that ingredient; thank you! 

  • Abdullah

    Member
    April 26, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    For preservative use DMDM hydantoin. Inexpensive and effective

  • Camel

    Member
    April 26, 2022 at 11:44 am

    ketchito said:
    Both Coco sulfate and SLS are non ethoxylated anionic surfactants, and they are very good degreasers, but a bit harsher for kids. Usually, more ethoxylated surfactants are prefered in these kind of products.

    Thank you for that information! I should have clarified that I no longer intend on using this product on my kid because of the lack of testing. It is only for my personal use now. I actually tried it as a face cleanser and it worked really well without making my skin feel stripped. 

    Interestingly enough, I have seen baby products that use SCS as the second ingredient, but I understand why it wouldn’t be the best choice when there are more gentle surfactants available.

  • ketchito

    Member
    April 26, 2022 at 11:33 am

    Camel said:

    ketchito said:
    I’d replace coco sulfate (it’s very similar to lauryl sulfate). Try a more ethoxylated surfactant, like sodium laureth-3 sulfate (or higher).

    @ketchito - Thank you for the suggestion. I purchased SCS because it was cheaper than SLS and SLES and I thought it would function similarly.

    Can you explain more about why you don’t recommend it?

    Both Coco sulfate and SLS are non ethoxylated anionic surfactants, and they are very good degreasers, but a bit harsher for kids. Usually, more ethoxylated surfactants are prefered in these kind of products.

  • Camel

    Member
    April 26, 2022 at 11:24 am

    @Abdullah - Thank you for clarifying; I have never used a sulfate before, so they are all new to me. 

    @PhilGeis - Thank you for providing that article. Actually, I am only making this product for myself now. It was originally intended for my godson, but I decided I didn’t feel comfortable allowing a three year old child to use a homemade product, so I only use it myself and I don’t sell anything! 🙂

  • PhilGeis

    Member
    April 26, 2022 at 11:08 am

    fyi
    You are dealing with a sensitive population.  Please pay special attention to preservation, testing and manufacturing quality.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S019567011100020X

  • Abdullah

    Member
    April 26, 2022 at 10:15 am

    Camel said:

    ketchito said:
    I’d replace coco sulfate (it’s very similar to lauryl sulfate). Try a more ethoxylated surfactant, like sodium laureth-3 sulfate (or higher).

    @ketchito - Thank you for the suggestion. I purchased SCS because it was cheaper than SLS and SLES and I thought it would function similarly.

    Can you explain more about why you don’t recommend it?

    Because usually it is more expensive and harsher. If it is less expensive then use it. No problem. 

    It was just suggestions

  • Camel

    Member
    April 26, 2022 at 9:29 am

    ketchito said:
    I’d replace coco sulfate (it’s very similar to lauryl sulfate). Try a more ethoxylated surfactant, like sodium laureth-3 sulfate (or higher).

    @ketchito - Thank you for the suggestion. I purchased SCS because it was cheaper than SLS and SLES and I thought it would function similarly.

    Can you explain more about why you don’t recommend it?

  • ketchito

    Member
    April 25, 2022 at 1:38 pm

    Camel said:

    Abdullah said:

    I would reduce pq10, HPMC and and sodium phytate to 0.1% each.
    use EDTA instead of sodium phytate and CAPB instead of shea betaine.

    What is the active percentage of each surfactant? 

    Unfortunately, the picture didn’t show up properly, but the active percentages are: 

    • Shea Surfactant: 35% active
    • Sodium Coco-Sulfate: 95% active
    • Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate: 85% active

    Total Active Matter is about 10% in my formula. 

    I can definitely try reducing PQ-10 and sodium phytate, but I’m afraid the viscosity will drop significantly without the HPMC at 0.5%. It’s already a low-viscosity, runny gel. I will try that and see what happens. 

    I still have 1kg left of Shea Betaine, which is a lot for me since I make small batches for personal use. I will consider trying out CAPB after I finish it. 😅

    Is sodium phytate less effective than EDTA?

    Thank you for your suggestions!

    I’d replace coco sulfate (it’s very similar to lauryl sulfate). Try a more ethoxylated surfactant, like sodium laureth-3 sulfate (or higher).

  • Camel

    Member
    April 25, 2022 at 4:53 am

    I use 5% SCI. Total formula has 31% surfactants including the SCI. Don’t ask me what the solids % is that I do not know.

    I would also like to know what @Perry or any one else thinks about this. I did not know about its potential to lose activity over time. 

    You can check with your seller; it is important information to know. I think most SCI’s have an active matter around 80-85%. 

  • GeorgeBenson

    Member
    April 24, 2022 at 1:36 am

    I use 5% SCI. Total formula has 31% surfactants including the SCI. Don’t ask me what the solids % is that I do not know.

    I would also like to know what @Perry or any one else thinks about this. I did not know about its potential to lose activity over time. 

  • Camel

    Member
    April 24, 2022 at 12:54 am

    @Perry, I would love to hear your thoughts about this. 

  • Abdullah

    Member
    April 24, 2022 at 12:30 am

    What percentage of sci and total Surfactants do you use?

    It is said that it loses its activity over time at pH below 6

  • GeorgeBenson

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    I use SCI in a shampoo with a ph of 5 and it’s completely fine.

  • Abdullah

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 10:59 am

    Yes because of sci. 

    I am not sure about its stability, internet and suppliers say different things. 

    Maybe @Perry or another expert comment what is correct.

  • Camel

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 10:12 am

    Abdullah said:
    pH 6

    Can I ask why you suggest pH 6? Is it because of the SCI?

    I spoke with Valerie (she is the seller of my SCI and also a cosmetic chemist) and she advised there is no problem with using SCI at pH 4-5. 🙂

    Abdullah said:

    Use sodium chloride.

    When finished these ingredients 

    Use SLES instead of coco sulfate

    Use cationic guar instead of pq10 

    It is about equal but much more expensive without any benefit in shampoo. 

    I will try the sodium chloride to thicken it. I purchased SCS because it was actually cheaper than SLES and I thought it would perform similarly. 😆

  • Abdullah

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 10:08 am

    Use sodium chloride.

    When finished these ingredients 

    Use SLES instead of coco sulfate

    Use cationic guar instead of pq10 

    It is about equal but much more expensive without any benefit in shampoo. 

  • Camel

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 9:49 am

    Abdullah said:

    I would reduce pq10, HPMC and and sodium phytate to 0.1% each.
    use EDTA instead of sodium phytate and CAPB instead of shea betaine.

    What is the active percentage of each surfactant? 

    Unfortunately, the picture didn’t show up properly, but the active percentages are: 

    • Shea Surfactant: 35% active
    • Sodium Coco-Sulfate: 95% active
    • Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate: 85% active

    Total Active Matter is about 10% in my formula. 

    I can definitely try reducing PQ-10 and sodium phytate, but I’m afraid the viscosity will drop significantly without the HPMC at 0.5%. It’s already a low-viscosity, runny gel. I will try that and see what happens. 

    I still have 1kg left of Shea Betaine, which is a lot for me since I make small batches for personal use. I will consider trying out CAPB after I finish it. 😅

    Is sodium phytate less effective than EDTA?

    Thank you for your suggestions!

  • Abdullah

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 9:41 am

    I would reduce pq10, HPMC and and sodium phytate to 0.1% each.
    use EDTA instead of sodium phytate and CAPB instead of shea betaine.

    pH 6

    What is the active percentage of each surfactant? 
  • Camel

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 9:34 am

    @Camel I’m no expert but it looks pretty good to me. Do you need that much sodium phytate? Genuinely asking as I usually only use 0.1%.

    Are you getting your shea surfactant from Simply Ingredients? I just received my first order of it from them and I find that it doesn’t foam very much but it leaves my skin feeling pretty soft…not as soft SCI does though. It’s pretty expensive too, no? They seem to be the only ones selling it…that I could find any way…maybe that’s why.

    That was one of the questions I wanted to ask but forgot to. I honestly wasn’t sure how much sodium phytate is needed to be an effective chelating agent. My seller says 0.5% max so I just went with that. 😅

    Yes, that is where I purchase my Shea Surfactant and SCI. I love her shop and she (Valerie) has been been really kind to me in offering formulation advice so I don’t mind paying a little extra to support her. I don’t sell these products so cost isn’t much of a concern for me! 

    Shea Surfactant does not provide much foam but I find the combination with SCS + SCI offers plenty of foam. I may consider increasing SCS to 6% and reducing SCI to 2% while keeping the active matter around 10%, just to see how that compares foam-wise.

    Thank you for your comment!

  • GeorgeBenson

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 9:20 am

    @Camel I’m no expert but it looks pretty good to me. Do you need that much sodium phytate? Genuinely asking as I usually only use 0.1%.

    Are you getting your shea surfactant from Simply Ingredients? I just received my first order of it from them and I find that it doesn’t foam very much but it leaves my skin feeling pretty soft…not as soft SCI does though. It’s pretty expensive too, no? They seem to be the only ones selling it…that I could find any way…maybe that’s why.

  • Camel

    Member
    April 23, 2022 at 7:19 am

    Looking back at this discussion, I am quite embarrassed by how ridiculous this formula was. I have learned a lot since joining this forum and have now made a new shampoo formula:


    Active Matter: 10%
    pH: adjusted to 4.5

    • Water: up to 100%
    • Shea Butteramidopropyl Betaine: 8%
    • Sodium Coco-Sulfate: 4%
    • Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate: 4%
    • Polyquaternium-10: 0.5%
    • Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose: 0.5%
    • Sodium Phytate: 0.5%
    • Phenonip: 0.5%
    • Citric Acid: q.s.

    @Abdullah, @ketchito, @PhilGeis - Any thoughts on this new one?

  • PhilGeis

    Member
    February 8, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Gluconate is not a good substitute for EDTA.

  • Camel

    Member
    February 7, 2022 at 11:19 pm

    PhilGeis said:

    Can’t use sal acid on kids under 3 per EU cosm. directive.
    If you use an organic acid, make is benzoic (as Na salt).
    I’d put phenoxyethanol behind isothiazolinones and DMM hydantoin.
    Add a chelant - esp. EDTA.

    Thank you; I definitely won’t use the preservative with sal acid for this product. For the chelant, I have Sodium Gluconate on hand, would that be a suitable alternative at 1%? I see it being used by Pipette Baby products as well, which gives me some hope. 

  • PhilGeis

    Member
    February 7, 2022 at 1:43 pm

    Can’t use sal acid on kids under 3 per EU cosm. directive.
    If you use an organic acid, make is benzoic (as Na salt).
    I’d put phenoxyethanol behind isothiazolinones and DMM hydantoin.
    Add a chelant - esp. EDTA.

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