Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General Strong surfactants in products that are not shampoos

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  • Strong surfactants in products that are not shampoos

    Posted by alasilva on July 6, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    Hi, there! Thanks for accepting me! 
    Could someone help me with a question about formulation?
    It is common to see strong surfactants such as Tea-dodecylbenzenesulfonate in products like hair masks (or other products that are not shampoos).

    What is the role of these surfactants in the formula?

    Example: Water and Coconut Water, Platonia Insignis Butter, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Ananais Sativus (Pineaple) Fruit Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Cetyl Esters, Cetrimonium Chloride, Bis-Cetearyl Amodimeticone (and) Ceteareth-7 (and) Ceteareth-25, Aqua (and) Bis-Aminopropil Dimethicone (and) Trideceth-12 (and) TEA-Dodecilbenzenesulfonate (and) Cetrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Betaine (and) Sodium PCA (and) Sorbitol (and) Serine (and) Glycine (and) Glutamic Acid (and) Alanine (and) Lysine (and) Arginine (and) Threonine (and) Proline, Fragrance (Parfum), Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil, Benzyl Alcohol (and) Benzoic Acid (and) Dehydroacetic Acid, Dissodium Edta, Citric Acid, Linalool, Limoneno.

    Dr Catherine Pratt replied 3 years, 9 months ago 5 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • OldPerry

    July 6, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    They are in there to make it easier for the product to be rinsed out.
    Or it may be in there as a solubilizer for one of the ingredients.
    Or it may be in there as a raw material blend which makes it easier for the supplier to produce the raw material.

  • LincsChemist

    July 6, 2020 at 2:58 pm

    It’ll be a constituent part of one of the raw materials they’re using, the (and)s and the repeated ingredients are a dead giveaway that they haven’t put the INCI together properly. A quick search shows that:

     “Aqua (and) Bis-Aminopropil Dimethicone (and) Trideceth-12 (and) TEA-Dodecilbenzenesulfonate (and) Cetrimonium Chloride”

    is the declared INCI of a material called “Silsoft HC 400” by Momentive Performance Materials, which is sold as a conditioning agent.

    As for what the TEA-Dodec…. actually does, it might be a solubiliser of sorts for the other ingredients in that material, or it might be included to aid rinsing.

  • alasilva

    July 6, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you very much for the explanation, @Perry and @LincsChemist.

  • Dr Catherine Pratt

    July 8, 2020 at 4:40 pm

     I agree with Perry that it helps to rinse out a thick mask like this as it has quite a bit of waxy oils etc. It will feel soft and silky but a conditioning agent such as this still needs to be soluble and rinsed out with water.

  • Pharma

    July 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm
    Some emulsifying waxes (mostly the older ones) contain SLS or SLES as anionic co-emulsifier. The definition ‘surfactant’ is rather arbitrary (as is the HLD system) and these are ‘just’ a class of emulsifiers.
    Back in the day of my studies, it was a common trick to add, the instant nobody was looking, some drops of dishwashing detergent to a cream which didn’t want to emulsify properly… a really old trick already in use during the pharmacy study (exams) of my grandparents generation.
  • Dr Catherine Pratt

    July 8, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    Love the old tricks!!

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