Mixing Thickners in Cosmetic Products

Hello Everyone,

I am a total newbie in cosmetic products and working on a natural organic shampoo, which means no SLS, Soda Ash and Caustic Soda.

On the thickener aspect, I an wondering if it is possible to add two separate thickener (Nitrosol and Carbopol) instead of using just one.

Best Regards


  • BelassiBelassi Member, PCF student
    I think you need to define your terms of reference. Carbopol "organic" eh... ?
    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.
  • BobzchemistBobzchemist Member, PCF student
    "total newbie in cosmetic products" and "working on a natural organic shampoo" do not go together at all well.

    Belassi is right - you really need to understand and define your terms first.

    "Natural" means different things to different people and organizations. "Organic", on the other hand, has a very specific legal meaning. To my knowledge, there are no thickeners that can be added to a shampoo and have it still be "organic".

    Carbopol, by the way, is completely synthetic. Using it in any product means that you shouldn't call that product "natural"
    Robert Zonis, Sr. Formulation Chemist, Beaumont Products "All opinions and comments expressed are my own, have no relation to Beaumont Products, are fully copyrighted, and may not be used without written permission."
  • MicroformulationMicroformulation Member, Professional Chemist
    edited July 2016
    I certainly agree. As it has been said quite often in this forum, "natural" really means nothing. If you want credible "natural" products, use a Natural standard as your guidance.

    Ironically, the alkalis you BAN are more "natural" than the thickeners you named!

    In the listed thickeners you list Nitrosol (a nitrogen containing fertilizer). I am assuming you meant Natrasol?

    Again, this is an advanced area that you may want to do more research in before proceeding.
    markfuller@microformulation.com Microformulation.com 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 you like to use Natural Thickeners, you may use combinations of Natural Thickeners, but, it they may not be effective in building viscosity in small concentrations as the synthetic thickeners (e.g Carbopol).  Also, you may expect undesired physical properties as stickiness when you use Natural Thickeners more than when you use Synthetic Thickeners.
    If you like to use only Thickeners approved by most of the Natural Standards, you may try the combination of:
    Xanthan Gum: 0.3% and Magnesium Aluminum Silicate: 0.6%   Or
    Xanthan Gum: 0.3%, Distarch Phosphate: 1.2%, and Carageenan 0.24%  
    If the viscosity is, still, low, you may go to higher percentages.  You may make a "slurry" in Glycerin before you add any of these combination so you may not get "lumps".  Because you don't know whether this opinion will work as you like or not, you may need to try it in a Lab Batch first.

    Good Luck!

    Reference:  Formulary Nature I Classic - Edition 2015 - drstraetmans
  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    What natural cleaning agents will you be using in your shampoo?

    I have never heard of soda ash or caustic soda being an ingredient in a shampoo and I've been in this business nearly fifty years. Where did you learn this?

  • @johnb, again a rather old post exhumed. ;-)
  • johnbjohnb Member, Professional Chemist
    Yes indeed!
  • I think this person had hot/cold process soap which uses lye & oils (specifically shampoo bars) in mind as her starting point. 
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