Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating PLZ HELP ME - FIX THIS SHAMPOO


    Posted by SANDRA BURNETT on May 9, 2023 at 4:17 pm

    Hey Guy, I’m African American, making Sulfate-free and paraben-free shampoo, and have some questions. I have included the ingredients below.

    1. What can I use as a substitute for Quaterhium 31 (dicetyldimonium chloride, isopropyl alcohol)?

    2. What can I substitute for Squalane?

    3. What can I include in my shampoo to get a thick silky look and feel?

    4. For detangling can I add 1 gram of Sodium Lactate.

    5. Also, is there anything I should include or remove to make this formula better?


    Distill Water. 49.30 grams

    Sodium PCA. 2 grams

    Sulfosuccinate (discodium laureth sulfosuccinate). 20 grams

    Coco Betaine (cocamildopropyl betaine. 10 grams

    Alpha Olefin Sulfonate (sodium C14-16 alpha olefin sulfonate). 10 grams

    Glyceryl Oleate (glyceryl oleate). 1 gram

    Squalane 2 gram

    PEG-150 Distearate. 1.50 grams

    Quaternium 31 (dicetyldimonium chloride, isopropyl alcohol). 2 grams

    Provitamin B5. .50 grams

    Phenoxyethanol SA. 1.20 grams

    Citric Acid. 0.01 grams

    Camel replied 1 year, 1 month ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • Perry44

    May 10, 2023 at 9:38 am

    You’ve asked a lot of questions. Some easy ones.

    1. You don’t need a substitute. Just don’t use it. Cationic surfactants generally shouldn’t be in shampoos.

    2. Don’t use squalane in a shampoo. Oils do not belong in shampoos

    3. For thickenings options, search the forum for sulfate free thickening discussions

    As to the other questions you’ll need to be more specific.

    What specifically do you want to improve about the formula.

    In truth, if you want to make a superior shampoo the first step is to use sulfates. By choosing to make a sulfate free formula, you are choosing to make something that is inferior in performance & more expensive.

  • Camel

    May 12, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    What can I use as a substitute for Quaternium-31? What can I substitute for Squalane?

    As Perry noted, you don’t need a substitute; they can simply be omitted from the formula. However, if you would like to add a conditioning agent to your shampoo, Polyquaternium-10 is commonly used in big-brand products.

    What can I include in my shampoo to get a thick, silky look and feel?

    For thickening, you could consider adding Xanthan Gum or Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose. Note that Polyquaternium-10 (if included) can also thicken your product, so depending on how thick you want the shampoo to be, you may or may not need an additional thickener. Polyquaternium-10 can also provide slip that may be perceived as a silky feeling.

    For detangling, can I add 1 gram of Sodium Lactate?

    You could include a small amount of Sodium Lactate, however, I don’t think it will help with detangling. Detangling is usually achieved through conditioning agents.

    Is there anything I should include or remove to make this formula better?

    I would remove the Squalane, Quaternium-31 and Panthenol (Provitamin B5), and instead include Polyquaternium-10. I would also recommend adding a chelating agent (Disodium EDTA or Sodium Phytate are a couple of options).

    Suggested Starting Formula:

    • Water: q.s. to 100%
    • Sodium C14-16 Alpha Olefin Sulfonate: 15%
    • Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate: 10%
    • Cocamidopropyl Betaine: 5%
    • PEG-150 Distearate: 1%
    • Phenoxyethanol SA: 1%
    • Polyquaternium-10: 0.5%
    • Glyceryl Oleate: 0.5%
    • Sodium PCA: 0.5%
    • Sodium Lactate: 0.5%
    • Disodium EDTA or Sodium Phytate: 0.3%
    • Lactic Acid or Citric Acid: q.s. to pH 4.5-5.5

    I am not a professional, nor have I tested this formula myself, but I think it would be a reasonable starting point and you could easily make modifications to it. If you find it isn’t thick enough, you could add Xanthan Gum or Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose at around 0.2-0.5%, removing that same amount from the water.

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