Thickening Styling Spray, aka hair lotion

Not a 'lotion' per se, it's just how some hairdressers call it. The purpose is to stiffen the hair near the skin to lift it.

Coming from a natural formulation background, I have my first full scale industrial assignment and wanted to share my progress here as I go along. If somebody spots any problems with my approach, I will appreciate their comment.

my INCI:
SD Alcohol 40B (this might be an obvious one for some of you but I'm lost. Can't buy it. Some people suggested that I should simply prepare my own. I intend to just use ethanol during testing to spare myself the trouble)
VP/VA Copolymer
Cetrimonium Chloride
Propylene Glycol
--------- 1% line - this is where I believe the 1% cut-off is
Hydrolysed Wheat Protein/PVP-crosspolymer  - I cannot access this and hope to avoid using it altogether
Polysorbate 20 (i understand PSB20 and Fragrance to be related in functionality)
Tetrasodium EDTA
Benzophenone 4 (it's a sunscreen, but is it here to stabilise the product?)
Ethylhexyl glycerin (preservative, which can be bought together as one solution)


  • Where are you that you can't get SD-40B? I can put you in contact with a distributor.
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    SD40B can be bought online in small quantities and outrageous prices. To buy Wholesale you need to apply for an Alcohol Handlers License from the ATF.

    In R&D we will often use Everclear (190 proof). Microformulation Cosmetic Consulting provides Custom Formulations for both large Commercial accounts as well as smaller entrepreneurs. We can provide Naturally compliant Formulations under the NSF, NPA, Whole Foods and USDA Organic Certifications. BS.Pharm Albany College of Pharmacy, Union University.
  • If it's just for research right now with small scale he can most definitely call and get a sample sent over. Then if it comes to large scale batching he can order the amount needed then.
  • BartJBartJ Member
    edited February 2016
    Hi everyone,

    Sorry for not following through with the topic, in the end I went about it myself.

    Just want to report back with info for those who might be interested with my conclusions.

    The key aspect was that while both PVP and VP/VA lend hold to the formula, the VP/VA does it at a cost by making the hair feel dry and brittle after aplying.
    It will also make it harder to brush through the hair.
    The Cetrimonium content was held constant throughout the test, so the detangling ability(or disability...) was variable only with VP/VA. Increasing PVP didn't seem to affect the hair too much in a negative way.

    My problems with SD-alcohol continued, so I just used ethanol and will worry about the issue later at production stage.

    I was delighted with the project and was told that my formula won over Beverly Hills and Kevin Murphy. As I recently transitioned from being a community pharmacist into cosmetic science it's a huge encouragement to carry on at it!

    Thanks guys for your replies and comments. With regards to the location question, I'm in Europe.

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