Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating Xanthan Gum with cationic/anionic surfactants

  • Xanthan Gum with cationic/anionic surfactants

    Posted by shahroozr23 on November 1, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    I am trying to make a sulfate free shampoo that is “natural” (I know there is no clear definition for that) but my main issue is getting viscosity. I cannot use PEGs or any carbopol. However I can use guar gums and xanthan gum. My issue is that I have been getting mixed messages about these ingredients and how they work with cationic and anionic surfactants. To my knowledge guar gums do not work well with anionic surfactants and can cause stability issues. If anyone has any experience in this area I would like to hear their take.


    shahroozr23 replied 7 years, 7 months ago 8 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • belassi

    November 1, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Best of luck with that. Gums are interesting but in shampoo the sensorials are very poor.

  • johnb

    November 2, 2016 at 8:49 am

    What detergent will you be using in your “natural” shampoo?

    In my view, gums (as a generality) for thickening shampoos range in acceptability from poor to dreadful.

  • chickenskin

    November 4, 2016 at 4:42 am

    look up natrosol.  its a pretty good thickner!

  • ZivBA

    November 7, 2016 at 6:13 am

    Use Lauryl Lactyl Lactate to increase viscosity.


    In a system with ABC, Sarcosinate, Taurate, Cetyl Glucoside and all the other mild surfectants- you can thicken the formulation with 1-3% of the L3.

    Belassi is right, the sensorial effect of the gums won’t get you anywhere.

  • crisbaysauli

    November 7, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Or if you want a clear system, you might be interested in HEC (cellulose)

  • thebrain

    November 7, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    While I was working on an “natural” APG shampoo formulation, I experimented with a whole bunch of gum and cellulose thickeners. I wasn’t very impressed with most of them, but sclerotium gum wasn’t bad. The downside is price-it’s not cheap. In the end, I abandoned “natural” in favor of super mild sulfate free synthetics that could be thickened with plain old salt.

  • MarkBroussard

    November 7, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    In addition to Sclerotium Gum, you might also try Carrageenan.

  • shahroozr23

    November 11, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you for your responses. I am using a wide variety of surfactants. 

    I have used for example the Norfox WFM Blend, and Stepan Mild LSB. these blends could not thicken with either xanthan gum or HEC.

    The best blend was the one I came up with:

    Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
    Cocamidopropyl Betaine
    Alpha Step PC-48

    The mixture gives good viscosity on its own but when I add my preservative it kills viscosity. (The preservative is Phenoxy and EHG).

    Another thing that kills it is high oil content (1%).

    @ZivBA, I am going to try Stepan Mild L3 in my formulation.

    Let me know if you guys need more info or if you have any other suggestions.

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