Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Hair Hello! Advice on how to make my shampoo bar milder

  • Hello! Advice on how to make my shampoo bar milder

    Posted by beabatres on September 24, 2021 at 4:23 pm

    I am formulating a shampoo bar and I would like some help understanding if there is any way I can make it milder. 
    As background, I live in Panama and there are very limited options of chemical supplies since there is little manufacturing in the country. 
    The only surfactants available are SCI (Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate), SCS (Sodium Coco Sulfate), and Cocamidopropyl betaine. 

    This is my current formula: 

    SCI 22.0%
    SCS 22.0%
    Cocamidopropyl Betaine 15.0%
    Cetyl Alcohol 15.0%
    Stearic Acid 12.0%
    Glycerine 4.0%
    Coconut Oil 3.0%
    BTMS-25 3.0%
    Castor Oil 2.0%
    Oat 1.5%
    Preservative 0.5%

    pH is reading 5.5 @ 10% dilution. 

    Overall, the performance of the bar is ok, the issue is I feel it is a bit drying on hair and scalp. 

    Thanks in advance for any advice or feedback! 


    Cafe33 replied 2 years, 2 months ago 3 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Syl

    September 24, 2021 at 4:32 pm

    Increase your SCI and decrease your SCS, SCI is milder than SCS.  

  • beabatres

    September 24, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Thanks @Syl will try to reduce from 1:1 to 2:1 SCI vs. SCS

  • Syl

    September 24, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    I would also reduce cetyl and stearic by 2.5% and increase SCI by 5% since your bar is milder, you may need more detergent.

  • Cafe33

    September 24, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    Your wax content is very high. Stearic acid at 12% is very high. In fact I can imagine it would be quite draggy on hair and potentially drying. I use around 2.65% to give you an example. More than 3% is really not necessary and detrimental. Cetyl alcohol keep it at 5% or so. Increase the level of BTMS if needed, but I know that it is an expensive proposition.

    Your surfactant level is low. Aim for around 70% or so. Double the SCI Input. 

    You are not limited at all, you have everything needed for a good shampoo bar. 

    Btw, glycerine does nothing but weaken the structure of the bar. I would remove any trace of it. 

    A better input for coconut oil and castor is around 0.1% each. 

    What perservative are you using. Avoid any and I mean ANY propylene glycol in your bars or they will not last all that long.

    Is it powdered oat you are using? I can tell you that the avena sativa oil weakens the structure of the bar for reasons I don’t understand. From 1.5% to 0.1% was tried all with the same results, snapping after 1-2 uses. Not sure what kind of oat you are using. 

  • Syl

    September 24, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    @Cafe33, I use colloidal oatmeal in some of my shampoo bars at .6%, and my bars do not snap, but their fat and stearic acid contents are higher than what you are suggesting. I also noticed that bars with a high amount of SCS tend to be sticky. I suspect Beabatre’s formula contains more fatty alcohol to reduce the stickiness.

  • beabatres

    September 27, 2021 at 12:52 am

    Thanks @Syl and @Cafe33 for these great comments.  

    1) I will try then increasing detergency with greater SCI proportion and reducing the cetyl / stearic content. I initially increased these to “dilute the bar” in an attempt of achieving a milder product. 

    2) I will run numbers on how much more BTMS-25 I can add, since it is almost the most expensive material in the formulation (after the preservative) 

    3) Thanks for the comment on glycerine, at present the bar is working pretty well in terms of structure, I have a bit over 12 uses and the structure has been holding up, will consider this as a troubleshooting input in case this deteriorates. 

    4) Will reduce oil content as recommended. 

    5) Preservative, I am using Cosgard which I understand is sold mostly as Geogard 221 (Benzyl alcohol, Dehydroacetic acid), although I find that the aesthetics of the bar improve dramatically if I pour hot in molds, so I am thinking of replacing it with Optiphen which allows me +15°C in the mix temperature. 

    6) I am using colloidal oatmeal and I haven’t had any structural issues yet, will take in consideration as I test formulations with the modified proportions of rheology modifiers & oils.  

    I truly appreciate the comments, I will design & test some new formulations with these tips  :) :) 

  • Cafe33

    September 27, 2021 at 3:25 pm

    I should mention that when developing these bars, I lived in front of the beach and the humidity was high. It could be why I have seen have how certain ingredients can react negatively. The failures were noticed immediately. In any case, these ingredients can not be used in my geographic location.  

    I have tried colloidal oatmeal and avena sativa oil. It was part of a syndet facial bar which had over 20% stearic acid. At inputs of 1.5% to 0.1%, it clearly made the bar snap even in some cases after one use. It was part of a rice & oat facial exfoliant bar and I tried in vain to incorporate an active oat ingredient. I had to settle for a trace amount of oat ground material. 

Log in to reply.