Structured Surfactant Systems for High Performance Shampoos

In life, hair is one of the most immediately perceived attributes of beauty. For this reason, individuals want their hair to look healthy, shiny and soft. As the use of at-home treatments such as bleaches, dyes and permanent waves grows, extensive hair damage often results. Thus, caring for and repairing damaged hair is an important need, and designing shampoos that specifically treat damaged hair is a constant challenge for formulators.

Micellar shampoos consisting of surfactant blends that form simple micelles constitute the majority of mass market formulations. This is because they are relatively inexpensive to formulate since their principal ingredients, including sodium laureth sulfate and cocamidopropyl betaine, are major commodity ingredients. On virgin hair, their performances are satisfactory.

With the help of conditioning polymers and silicone oils like dimethicone, they cleanse and condition efficiently and provide ease of combing as well as manageability. But while continued efforts are made to improve them, micellar shampoos offer limited performance on damaged hair. Specifically, their ability to deposit silicone oil and provide ease of combing and conditioning efficacy can be significantly reduced, as will be illustrated in the present article.

Lab Practical: Structured Surfactant Systems

  • Multilamellar vesicles are stacked in concentric, charged bilayers; these objects, swollen with water, fill out the formulation space, co-existing and interacting with other ingredients such as oils and polymeric conditioners.
  • The structured formulations described all passed the classical 45°C, three-month stability test and no macroscopic phase separation was observed.
  • Structured shampoos shows a constant and significant increase in the amount of dimethicone deposited on both virgin and damaged hair.
  • A natural oil structured shampoo can provide conditioning performance that is equal to or better than that of a silicone-based shampoo.
  • Structured systems easily combine with and stabilize actives include: molecular or particulate, liquid or solid, and hydrophobic or cationic.
More in Hair Care