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6 Base Ingredients for Shampoos and Conditioners

The ingredients used in shampoo and conditioner can influence their texture, efficacy, and smell. Freelance Formulations uses cosmetic chemistry to create custom all-natural and over-the-counter (OTC) formulas using a wide range of ingredients. We select ingredients based on the desired effect you want your product to have and the consumer experience you want to deliver. Here are six base ingredients cosmetic chemists can include in shampoo and conditioner products:

1. Surfactants

Surfactants are a common base ingredient in shampoos. They are cleansing agents that remove dirt, oil, and other impurities from your scalp. This leaves hair feeling clean and rejuvenated after use. Commonly used surfactants include sodium lauryl sarcosinate, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES).

2. Thickeners

Thickeners are used to achieve a shampoo's desired consistency and texture. They make it easier to spread the product evenly through the hair. Thickeners can also improve the appearance and feel of the product, which enhances the consumers' experience. Common thickeners that may be used in a shampoo formulation include cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, carnauba wax, and stearic acid.

3. Emollients

Emollients are moisturizing agents that help soften and smooth the hair. They can also improve hair texture and elasticity and reduce frizz, which may make the hair more resilient to damage and leave it looking healthier. Some common emollients include coconut oil, argan oil, and shea butter. These ingredients work with other conditioning agents to provide deep hydration and nourishment.

4. Humectants

Humectants are another base ingredient for conditioners because of their ability to improve hair moisture retention. These ingredients draw water molecules into the hair, which helps prevent dryness. Its ability to maintain the hair's moisture balance can result in smoother, volumized, more manageable hair. Common humectants you may find in conditioner formulations include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and urea.

5. Preservatives

Preservatives are used in both shampoo and conditioner formulations to prevent microbial growth and extend shelf life. These ingredients help maintain formula stability and safety so that your product can remain effective and safe for use throughout its lifespan. Preservatives can include sulfates and parabens, or you can request natural preservative options such as salicylic acid, glycerin, and rosemary extract.

6. Natural Ingredients

Shampoo and conditioner can be formulated with natural ingredients. Natural ingredients are often more gentle and eco-friendly. This makes them a good option for customers with allergies or sensitive scalps. Natural shampoos and conditioners include plant-based and organic ingredients, such as coconut oil, jojoba oil, green tea, or aloe. These formulas avoid synthetic ingredients and are sulfate-free. If you prioritize natural ingredients and products, Freelance Formulations can create an all-natural formula for your shampoo or conditioner.

Use Our Cosmetic Chemistry Services Today

Each ingredient that we add to a custom formulation is carefully selected, targeting your desired product function and certification. We aim to create formulas that deliver results and provide a positive customer experience. At Freelance Formulations, we are certified to make all-natural and OTC formulas. Shop our stock formulas for shampoos and conditioners, or contact us today to create a custom formulation.

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