Problems with sulphate free reformulation

BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
As some of you know I have been trying to reduce the amount of Glucamate VLT I use as a thickener because it is so expensive. I found that adding MEA allowed me to reduce the thickener quantity and ended up using 2% MEA after experimenting with 1%.
Unfortunately, after about 5 weeks or so, the shampoo with the 2% MEA has a cloudy appearance - there are solids precipitated in it. I assume this can only be the MEA because there are no other solid components at room temp.

I suppose I will have to go back to 1% again but does anyone have any suggestions (apart from using alternate thickeners, I don't have that many to choose from, I already tried PEG-150 distearate and don't like the hand feel much.)
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Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Well, you could try selling a pearled shampoo. ;)

    Have you tried any of the Celluloses or Xanthan gum?  Can you provide an ingredient list?
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    edited February 2015
    As follows:
    water 65%
    (S Cocoamphoacetate)/coco betaine/AKYPO RLM45 CA equal parts to 27% total
    glycerin/panthenol/EDTA/sodium hydroxide amount to 4% and the NaOH is solely for neutralising the carboxylic acid.
    MEA 1.0% 
    Glucamate VLT 2.5%

    - This (above) stays stable.
    But changing the MEA to 2% and reducing the VLT to 1.5% causes precipitation after about 5 weeks. The MEA is being properly heated and incorporated in a hot phase with high-shear mixing prior to addition of the VLT, which is the final addition.

    It's really a cost problem I am struggling with. VLT costs around $40 a kilo and MEA only around $8 per kilo. It's a product we have been successful with for three years now so I don't want to go pearl and anyway, that would give me yet another variable.
    I can't get gums here except by importing them cross-border which would defeat the whole purpose for cost reasons again. The only cellulose I can find is PEG-150 distearate which is cheap, true, but not a wonderful thickener because of its temperature sensitivity and short-flow sensorial problems.

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  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    I've also sent a support query to BASF (makers of Comperlan 100) to see if I can get some advice from them.
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  • Bill_TogeBill_Toge Member, Professional Chemist
    I'm a little confused here, are you using MEA or Comperlan 100 (cocamide MEA)? 

    if the latter, it's very likely to be the culprit; it's only just soluble in surfactants at high temperatures, and often crashes out at room temperature or below unless you use a polymer capable of suspending solids 

    (at room temperature, MEA on its own is an extremely pungent liquid which is more likely to thin a shampoo than thicken it)
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Aha! My bad! I didn't realise the difference. It's cocamide MEA, indeed, Comperlan 100. Thanks Bill. 
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  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Update: I took the remainder of the batch down to 10C in the refri and now it all looks not just cloudy, but pearlised! I think I can rescue it by making an equal batch size with 0% CMEA and blending the two. Grrrr.
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  • If  you are not fixed with thickener (INCI reason) you may try Arlypon TT from Basf (good flow behavior and very effective thickener while still reasonably affordable. This thickener is dedicated for difficult to thicken formulation either with low active content or Sles free formula. Have a go.

  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    I can get Arlypon VPC from C.Lar but I don't see the TT on their list. However, since it's BASF I should be able to get hold of it in-country. Many thanks for the suggestion.
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  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    Hello @Belassi were you able to achieve something out of those suggestions, I am wondering if even 1% can hold it good in an all liquid surfactants formula, what are the odds of getting a separation or crystallization of CMEA at room temperature. Why wouldn't you prefer to use PEG-150 Distearate, I mean can't we modify the short flow issue with the optimization of our choice of surfactants?????
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Not yet. The two BASF suppliers I use, don't stock it. I have asked the BASF support people if there is anyone in the country who does.
    The PEG-150 thickness varies a lot with temperature and we have a climate here that varies from 4C to 37C.
    So I am still struggling with this. I ordered some konjac root powder but that is from Thailand, no supply in Mexico.
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  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Belassi Thanks for the feedback, it really helps to adopt/eliminate certain raw materials. Maybe @MarkBroussard could chip in with his view on using this Konjac root powder in sulfate free shampoo as thickener. 
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Yes I'd like to hear Mark's opinion. I did the cost work-up and based on a probable 0.5% usage I could reduce my thickener costs by about 50%, but I'd have to keep importing the root powder. That's OK at our present company size but as we grow it would become a problem I think.

    It's really annoying that the BASF outlets stock the VPC thickener but not the TT. The VPC is specifically for household products such as acidic toilet bowl cleaners, I have no interest in that area.
    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    That you are absolutely right, they position the products as per the market but I am thinking why they wouldn't sell TT in your market??? Bowls me completely, check ulprospector too, they have same concept is selectivity.
    I think I too would give a shot at konjac root powder.
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Yes, Prospector shows TT documentation as not available for Mexico. 
    !@#$%&;*!
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  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    Yup you are bang on money!!!!!!   :))
  • MarkBroussardMarkBroussard Member, Professional Chemist
    edited March 2015
    Ooops!  Just noticed this thread.

    Yes, I would certainly try Konjac Root Powder as a thickener.  You might also try NaCl as your cheapest option with a readily available ingredient or a combination of the two.
    Chemist/Microbiologist formulating in the Organic & Naturals arena under ECOCert/Natural Products Assn/Whole Foods/National Organic Program guidelines focused skincare & haircare products. 

    See website for details www.desertinbloomcosmeticslab.com
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    Thanks Mark. Salt has no effect in this formulation. The CAPB is just the  secondary surfactant, it has no thickening effect to speak of. I'm hoping the BASF rep is going to call me, she has my number. Don't understand why some but not all BASF materials are available.
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  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Belassi yup no salt nothing sometimes it's so frustrating nd then few customers want clear sulfate free I mean double whammy
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    It's going back some years now but as I recall, I went through a period when I was very frustrated by the difficulties of creating a sulphate-free shampoo with the properties I wanted, which were basically good foam, thick, lots of slip, long-flow, luxurious cushiony hand feel, plus of course zero irritation to mucous membranes, kind to the scalp, and leave the hair easy to manage. I still have a lab full of various 5Kg sample containers of surfactants that I no longer use, such as Plantapon LGC Sorb, Dehyton AB 30, and so on. I found it much more difficult to learn how to design surfactant and conditioner systems than skin care products. Many many more fails.
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  • heraklitheraklit Member, PCF student
    I'm in the same work trying to achieve also these: good foam, thick, lots of slip, long-flow, luxurious hand feel, zero irritation to mucous membranes, kind to the scalp, and leave the hair easy to manage. I'm struggling now with sodium laroyl methyl isethionate - CAPB - Decyl gl.
  • PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate is also we tried to get mildness formulation. it works well
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    The main contention is the viscosity, is there something that really helps which doesn't bother the aesthetics of the formula. I have tried few external thickeners but no, not really satisfied what with all that slimy feel and persistent aeration. 
  • @millia chemist Did you try PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Coco/Isostearamide (and)
    PEG-150 Distearate will thicken the surfactant systems.not sure how much it will give results which you are expecting.
  • Chemist77Chemist77 Member, PCF student
    @Belassi have you tried this one, @gangarani I just had the opportunity of using PEG-150 Distearate but as it has been pointed out here the vitals of the formula are not satisfactory. As Belassi said in many of his posts Glucamate VLT works, but what to do with cost then?????
    But a great suggestion though @gangarani.
  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    I've spoken to the BASF rep and their Arlypon TT thickener is only an import item and I'd need to import a 200Kg barrel of it, which is rather more than I need ...
    So, I am stuck at the moment, except that I have, thanks to Mark's advice, a little over half a kilo of konjac root powder on its way from Thailand. When that arrives I will experiment with it and report the results.

    Cosmetic Brand Creation. Concept to name to IMPI search to logo and brand registration. In-house graphic design inc. Pantone specs. Cosmetic label and box design & graphics.
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