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TUTORIAL: Part Three. More about the Science of Shampoo

The development of a shampoo results from a complex mixture of 10 to 20 components,

falling into three categories:

The CLEANSING BASE Which is the heart of the formulation


COSMETIC INGREDIENTS which provide texture, stability, fragrance, feel, and conditioning

The CLEANSING BASE is made up principally of surfactants or surfactant substitutes. These represent about 10 - 20% of the formula.

This cleansing base provides wetting, emulsifying and dispersing properties, good quality foam which develops quickly and in abundance is stable and rinses easily. They must work

well with the product thickeners, and be compatible with active ingredients.

Alkyl sulfates and alkyl ether sulfates are most regularly used in the USA and Europe. Other

types are used in Asia.. particularly Japan; as hard water there limits the development of foam in shampoos.

CONDITIONING AGENTS: Introduced in the 1970's, cationic polymers began to be used to provide ease of detangling, suppleness, softness and manageability. Cationic derivatives of cellulose and guar gum are the agents most commonly used as conditioners found in shampoos. In 1985, silicones were added to shampoos. They continue in use today, and make the hair feel smooth -- root to tip. This effect is strongest on hair that is in good condition. Silicones enable swifter drying of the hair. Today, use of silicone is being investigated, as newer conditioning agents continue to be evaluated.

NEWER CONDITIONING AGENTS". Ceramide which is made by the condensation of a fatty acid, close to compound found in natural hair, work as a structural element This supports cohesive factors in the cuticle and contribute to smoothness.

Alpha hydroxy acid, like citric acid help the salt bonds in protein chains and condition particularly damaged hair via an ion exchange mechanism. This induces an increase in the cross-linkage of proteins and hence, reinforces the hair.

More shampoo science to follow. Is this helpful or is it "too much"? please comment. No one is expected to retain all of this. But, perhaps, knowing a BIT MORE about general shampoo science, keeps us "at the top" of what we do! B. Let me know! B

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