Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating What is floating in my shampoo?

  • What is floating in my shampoo?

    Posted by camel on September 14, 2023 at 4:28 pm

    Hello,

    I made a shampoo and during the first two weeks it remained completely clear but now there is something floating in it. Can anyone help me identify what it is?

    Here is the formula:

    • Water: 82.1%
    • Sodium Coco Sulfate: 10%
    • Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine: 2.5%
    • Cocamide DEA: 1.3%
    • Sodium Lactate: 1%
    • Lactic Acid: 1%
    • Olivem 300 (Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters): 0.5%
    • Fragrance: 0.5%
    • Liquid Germall Plus: 0.5%
    • Polyquaternium-10: 0.3%
    • Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: 0.2%
    • Disodium EDTA: 0.1%

    I checked the pH today and it was 4.4, which is the same as it was on day one.

    This was my procedure:

    Begin by splitting the water into two equal portions, each in its own beaker. In the first beaker, hydrate the Polyquaternium-10 and Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride for about 30 minutes. Once hydrated, add the Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine and then the Cocamide DEA. In the second beaker, heat the water and dissolve the Sodium Coco Sulfate, Sodium Lactate, and Disodium EDTA. Then, slowly combine the contents of the second beaker with the first. Once cooled to around 29.4°C (85°F), add the blend of Olivem 300 and fragrance, followed by the Lactic Acid, and finally the Liquid Germall Plus. Mixing was done using an overhead stirrer at 1000 rpm throughout the procedure.

    Thank you for your help!

    camel replied 5 months ago 4 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • KMRCSMiami

    Member
    September 14, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    I *think* you have precipitates due to incompatibility of ingredients, specifically the Sodium Coco sulfate. Cationic surfactants cannot be used with anionic surfactants.

    Poly-10 - cationic

    Sodium coco sulfate - anionic

    Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine - amphoteric

    Cocamide DEA - non-ionic

    Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride - cationic

    cationic cannot be combined with anionic, and is likely causing the instability + precipitate.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  KMRCSMiami.
    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  KMRCSMiami.
    • camel

      Member
      September 14, 2023 at 5:50 pm

      Hello,

      I was thinking that may be the case, but many commercial shampoos use polyquaternium-10 and cationic guar with sulfates and other anionic surfactants.

      Maybe the concentration of cationic ingredients in my formula is too high?

      Thank you for the response!

      • KMRCSMiami

        Member
        September 15, 2023 at 2:49 pm

        hi, I pointed out an issue with the sodium coco sulfate, maybe the concentration of this is too high. I would remove entirely.

        • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  KMRCSMiami.
  • Perry44

    Administrator
    September 15, 2023 at 2:59 pm

    You certainly can have PQ10 and Guar polymers in a formula together with an ionic surfactants. That is unlikely to be the problem.

    More likely is your esters fell out of solution (those don’t belong in a shampoo) or you have a microbial issue. My first step would be to try again but remove those esters.

    • camel

      Member
      September 16, 2023 at 4:29 am

      It’s always great to receive an answer from you, Perry!

      Olivem 300 (Olive Oil PEG-7 Esters) is marketed as a water-soluble lipid that can be used as a fragrance solubilizer and refatting agent in toiletries.

      I do agree with you that it is likely unnecessary in my shampoo, but because it is water-soluble, I am thinking it may actually be a microbial issue like you mentioned.

      I am going to test this by making two more batches: one without any modifications, and one with the esters removed. I will see if there are any noticeable differences between them after 2-4 weeks.

      Thank you!

  • ketchito

    Member
    September 16, 2023 at 8:55 am

    Another option is that the Kraft point of your solution is too high. Solutions of non ethoxylated anionics (like sodium coco sulfate) have a higher Kraft point than ethoxylated ones. You could reduce your Kraft point by either increasing your Cocamide DEA, your Hydroxysultaine, adding CAPB or switching to an ethoxylated anionic surfactant (like Sodium laureth sulfate).

    • camel

      Member
      September 17, 2023 at 11:16 am

      Thank you for your response, ketchito!

      Actually, I was thinking about increasing cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine and cocamide dea, because the shampoo is not making as much foam as I would like.

      I found an old post from you where you said the best ratio of sles:capb:dea for foam is 3:1:0.5. Is this based on active matter? Do you think the same ratio would apply with SCS and hydroxysultaine?

      I could try this, which would slightly reduce scs while increasing hydroxysultaine and dea:

      • Sodium Coco Sulfate (94%): 9.6%
      • Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine (50%): 6%
      • Cocamide DEA: 1.5%

      I’m also going to purchase some sles and see how differently that performs.

      Thanks again!

  • ketchito

    Member
    September 18, 2023 at 8:05 am

    Yes, that ratio is based on active matter. And even though each system is different, you could use that ratio as a reference. Good luck with your tests!

  • camel

    Member
    September 21, 2023 at 2:04 pm

    @ketchito @Perry44

    I revised the formula by slightly reducing SCS and PQ-10, increasing hydroxysultaine and DEA, and removing the olive oil esters:

    • Water: 79.4%
    • Sodium Coco Sulfate: 9.6%
    • Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine: 6%
    • Cocamide DEA: 1.5%
    • Sodium Lactate: 1%
    • Lactic Acid: 1%
    • Fragrance: 0.5%
    • Liquid Germall Plus: 0.5%
    • Polyquaternium-10: 0.2%
    • Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride: 0.2%
    • Disodium EDTA: 0.1%

    These photos were taken after 24 hours. Do you think the fragrance isn’t completely solubilized? I’m not familiar with Kraft points if that is the issue. I’m still waiting on some SLES to arrive and hoping that will provide better results than SCS.

    Thanks again!

  • Perry44

    Administrator
    September 21, 2023 at 2:09 pm

    Yes, fragrance can certainly be a problem. You might need to solubilize it before putting it in your formula. Use something like Polysorbate 20 or Polysorbate 80

    • camel

      Member
      September 21, 2023 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks, Perry! I have both of those ingredients, so I’ll definitely give it a try.

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