Could I have some thumb rules please!!

Happy to join the group of professionals and pros -on-the-make. I am a lawyer and MBA who is now smitten by the cosmetic formulation bug. :wink: Can someone here help me with some thumb rules in shampoo formulation,from where I could do my research and learn at my own pace?
I would like guidance in terms of typically what goes in phase A and the heating phase and the cooling phase. For example, you could help by saying Deionized water+humectant+ ... and so on. I guess I can in initially take off from there. Thanks in advance :smile:


  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    When trying to learn about formulas, the first thing to do is to find a benchmark product on the market and look at the ingredient list.  For shampoos, the formula that is most appealing to the most number of people is Pantene. 

    Write down the ingredient list and see if you can first figure out what all the ingredients do in the formula.

    For shampoo it will be something like...
    Water - diluent
    Detergent - cleans hair, makes foam
    Secondary surfactant - improves foam
    Conditioning agent - makes hair feel better
    Opacifying agent - makes product pearled / opaque

    See if you can identify all the ingredients in the formula.

    Then make a starting formula. There are other discussions in this forum that give simple shampoo formulas. 
  • Adding to the above, you want 15% of active surfactant in shampoo. To calculate active surfactant use MS Excel, or this site

    Don't start with sulfate-free surfactants (they require a lot of experience) but master the classics (SLES/CAPB shampoo):

    INCI %
    Aqua 53.6%
    Disodium EDTA 0.2%
    Germall Plus powder 0.2%
    SLES (27%) 30.0%
    PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate 1.0%
    Cocamidopropyl Betaine 15.0%
    NaCl qs
    Citric Acid qs

    Just follow the order (CAPB is added in the end!) add and mix. Ones it works, you can start playing with polyquats, extracts, hydrolysed proteins, fragrance, colour, in other words, make it "yours".

    Your next step is to start analysing your favourite products in the market and reverse engineer them (maybe make it sulfate-free if you wish).
    To see ingredient lists use
  • Thanks Perry and ngarayeva001 :) 
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