Surfactants in Natural Shampoo Part 2

How to Formulate and Make Natural Shampoo Part 2: Surfactants in Natural Shampoo

Part 1 Types of Shampoo

Part 2 Surfactants for Natural Shampoo

Part 3 Formulating and Making Natural Shampoo

How to Formulate and Make Natural Shampoo Part 1 (read here) covered Types of Shampoo. Part 2 covers Surfactants for Natural Shampoo.

Surfactants are necessary to remove dirt and grease. Surfactants are surface-active agents. Surfactants alter and reduce the surface tension allowing for better penetration. Surfactants are hydrophilic (water-loving) and lipophilic (oil-loving); they have a water-loving head that is attracted to water and an oil-loving head that is attracted to oil. Learn more about surfactants here. 

Water has an inherent property of surface, a high surface tension. By adding a surfactant, it makes the surface of water more soluble by flattening it out and the surfactant can be used as foaming agent, detergent, emulsification agent and conditioning agent and for solubilizing, depending on the surfactant.

Sulfate Cleansers can be irritating to the skin. They have high foaming and cleansing actions. Sulfated surfactants are SLS-sodium lauryl sulfate, and ALS-aluminum lauryl sulfate.

Sulfate-free cleansers are generally non-irritating and milder than sulfate cleansers.

There are four types of surfactants.
1. Anionic Surfactants carry a negative charge.
2. Nonionic Surfactants have no charge.
3. Cationic Surfactants carry a positive charge 
4. AmphotericSurfactants carry a negative or positive or no charge.

Anionic Surfactants
Anionic surfactants have a negative charge to the water-loving head, called hydrophilic. Anionic surfactants perform the highest foaming and cleansing actions. They can also build viscosity. Anionic surfactants may be harsh on the skin and hair. Cold process handmade soap is anionic from the reaction of the fats with sodium hydroxide but  cold process soap is not harsh on the skin if there is extra oil in the soap. A lot depends on the formulation and the ingredients in the formulation.

Nonionic Surfactants
Nonionic surfactants have no charge to the water-loving head. Nonionic surfactants are one of the gentlest surfactants but they produce very little foam. They are usually combined with other surfactants to boost foam. Nonionic can act as solubilizers and assist with dispersing essential oils.

Cationic Surfactants
Cationic surfactants have a positive charge to their water-loving head. The positive charge creates adherence to the net negative charge of hair. Cationic surfactants are used in hair conditioners to adhere to the hair and not rinse away allowing the conditioner to provide conditioning and leave the hair smooth, soft, silky and with less static electricity. Cationic surfactants are good in formulations for co-wash and 2-in-1 conditioning shampoo. Cationic surfactants do not combine well with anionic surfactants.

Amphoteric Surfactants
Amphoteric surfactants can have a negative or positive charge or no charge depending on the acid or alkaline environment. Amphoteric surfactants are generally used as the primary surfactant in mild shampoo formulations.

Natural surfactants should be sulfate-free and from renewable plant sources, biodegradable and use processes that are not harmful to humans, animals and the earth. In a shampoo formulation there is usually a combination of surfactants to provide sufficient foam, manageability for the hair and a good feel when shampooing the hair.

Availability of Surfactants to the Small Manufacturer
Surfactants available to the small manufacturer of natural hair care products have been limited. This is changing and smaller raw material suppliers are offering more surfactants. Here are a few natural surfactants currently available to the small manufacturer. I use these surfactants and others. From my experience, shampoo is one of the most challenging products to formulate. Shampoo performs different depending on the hair type and they are affected by the water used to wash the hair, especially hard water.

Apple Surfactant INCI Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids
Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids is derived from apple juice amino acids. It is non- irritating, gentle and mild and can be used in baby shampoo and sensitive skin shampoo. Anionic

Coco-Glucoside INCI Coco-Glucoside
Coco-Gllucoside is derived from coconut and sugar. It is a mild surfactant and non-irritating. It has good foaming strength. Nonionic

Decyl Glucoside INCI Decyl Glucoside
Decyl Glucoside is derived from sugar and plant oil. It is very mild and non-irritating. It is good for sensitive skin. It does produce a fair amount of foam for being a nonionic surfactant but little flash foam. Nonionic

Potassium Cocoate INCI Potassium Cocoate
Potassium cocoate is also known as liquid soap. I find it harsh on the hair unless combined with more moisturizing surfactants. It is available from a cosmetic raw material supplier or one can make it. It is made with potassium hydroxide (KOH), a similar process like cold process soap. Anionic

Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate INCI Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate
Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate is derived from coconut oil and coconut milk and has been used in the food industry for a long time. It is used as a secondary surfactant. I like combining it with decyl glucoside. It provides a soothing feel to the scalp and hair. Nonionic

Look at the hair care aisle and read the ingredients on natural shampoos. See if you can figure out which ingredients are surfactants and the combination of surfactants used in the shampoo. Look up information on surfactants online; find a supplier and note if the surfactant is anionic, nonionic, cationic or amphoteric.

To learn to formulate and make many types of natural shampoo join the Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Online Course.

How to Formulate and Make Natural Shampoo: Part 1

How To Formulate and Make Natural Shampoo: Part 1
This series is on how to formulate and make natural shampoo. This is part 1 of 3. To formulate and make a natural shampoo requires knowledge of the types of shampoos on the market, understanding the chemistry of surfactants and their purpose and other ingredients to develop a natural shampoo that cleanses the hair but also does not strip the hair.

Part 1 Types of Shampoo

Part 2 Surfactants for Natural Shampoo

Part 3 Formulate and Make Natural Shampoo

Purpose of Shampoo

The purpose of shampoo is to clean the hair and improve the appearance of hair.


Shampoo is one of the most bought and used cosmetic, personal care product . The use of shampoo has continually grown due to more grooming and the trend of washing the hair more often, hair and scalp issues, more shampoos are available for different hair types and more consumers are willing to pay money for shampoo. Babies, children, teenagers and adults use shampoo and some on a daily basis.

Natural Shampoo

The natural shampoo market has grown in popularity and now consumers want more natural shampoo containing sustainable earth friendly and plant-based ingredients that provide gentle cleansing of the hair.


There are many types of shampoo on the market; clarifying, for oily hair, normal hair or dry hair, 2 in 1 shampoo, shampoo for color treated hair, volumizing shampoo, co-wash, baby/children’s shampoo and dandruff shampoo. There are categories for curly hair, textured hair, fine hair, grey hair and more. There can be many types of shampoos in these categories.

Natural Shampoo
Any of the types of shampoo can be made natural containing mostly natural ingredients. Ingredients that are sustainable, biodegradable, mostly derived from nature, no threat to human health, sulfate-free surfactants, essential oils or plant-derived scents for scenting the shampoo. No animal testing.

Clarifying Shampoo

Clarifying shampoo removes build-up of products, chemicals, pollution and hard water. Clarifying shampoo is usually on the alkaline side and can be drying to the hair if used daily.

Oily Hair Shampoo

Shampoo for oily hair is more clarifying and cleansing to remove oil but does not strip the hair of all the natural oil. The pH can be more alkaline.

Normal Hair Shampoo

Shampoo for normal hair is pH balanced and can be made with ingredients that cleanse and promote shine, luster and soft hair. Normal shampoo can also be moisture shampoo.

Dry Hair Shampoo

Shampoo for dry hair is pH balanced with moisturizing and conditioning ingredients to coat and protect the hair.

2 in 1 Shampoo

This is a shampoo and conditioner in one product. 2 in 1 shampoo is popular for men’s shampoo, baby and children’s shampoo and elderly shampoo. The shampoo needs to cleanse and coat the hair at the same time, performing as a shampoo and conditioner. This type of shampoo is challenging to formulate since cationics do not combine well with anionics. Anionics are needed to cleanse the hair and cationics are needed to condition the hair. The selection of surfactants and other ingredients need to synergize together to produce an effective 2 in 1shampoo.

Color Treated Hair Shampoo

This shampoo does not strip the color from the hair. Generally, these shampoos are formulated at a lower pH and gentle surfactants. Higher pH will strip the color from the hair.

Volumizing Shampoo

This shampoo adds volume to hair and contain volumizing ingredients.

Co-Wash/Cleansing Cream

This shampoo is a conditioner containing a smaller percentage of surfactants and conditioning agents.

Moisture Shampoo

This shampoo contains humectants and hydrating ingredients.

Baby and Children’s Shampoo

Shampoo for babies and children should be very mild with low amounts of mild surfactants and little to no lather and foam.

Dandruff Shampoo

Dandruff shampoo is an over the counter (OTC) product and is regulated by the FDA. Dandruff shampoos contain active ingredients and must be approved by the FDA.


Look at the hair care aisle and take note of the types of shampoo. Note the names, the ingredients, hair types the shampoo is for, directions for using the shampoo, the container, the ounces/grams and the retail price of the shampoo. Also note how many shampoos in each type of shampoo.

To learn to formulate and make many types of natural shampoo join the Professional Natural Hair Care Product Making Online Course.

Hygge Beauty Rituals: Crystal and Aromatherapy Bath

Part 4 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Soothing Aromatherapy Bath

The beauty ritual in Part 1 an herbal facial steam, Part 2 an aromatherapy foot bath, Part 3 massage softening hand and foot salve. This hygge beauty ritual is a crystal and aromatherapy bath. Healing treatments with water are called hydrotherapy. You can do a simple hydrotherapy treatment at home if you have a bath tub. If you don’t have a bath tub, do a foot bath. Bath’s are the perfect remedy when we need to relax, revive and regenerate but most times we are so tired or stressed we zone out by going on our cell phone or watching TV. Taking a bath is a wonderful experience and the art of bathing has been in every culture. Take the time to schedule a bath; write a note and place it on the counter and include it on your calendar with a reminder. To make it easier, ready all your ingredients in advance or have a bath bin or basket with your healing bath ingredients.

A bath is one of the best ways to relax, restore and rejuvenate your body. When you soak in a bath, the pores in the skin open and like a sponge soak in the healing properties of the herbs and ingredients you have put in the water. High quality, natural and organic ingredients should be used. Skin is a major and the largest organ; it absorbs and eliminates. Herbs, salts, plant milks, essential oils and plant oils help to nourish, moisturize and soften the skin. They also pull out toxins from the body.

A warm bath relaxes the body and helps to invoke a peaceful night’s sleep. A bath can also be invigorating by using cooler water and invigorating herbs and essential oils. A footbath is the next best thing to a bath. Add flowers to the water for a touch of beauty.

Bath temperature makes a difference on the effect on the body. Take a 20-30 minute bath for the best results. Bath temperature should be around 100F/38C – 102F/39C degrees, 2 – 4 degrees above your body temperature.

92F/33C – 97F/36C degrees: lukewarm bath for rejuvenation, inflammation, poison oak and rashes.
97F/33C – 101F/38C degrees: normal bath for relaxation.
99F/37C – 108F/42C degrees: hot bath to increase circulation, remove toxins from the body and relieve pain and insomnia

Light Candles
Play Soft Music
Surround Yourself with your Favorite Flowers

Crystals raise the vibration. Everything is energy. Flowers, herbs, crystals all contain energy. This energy is infused into the bath water. Choose a crystal that you are drawn to and place it in the bath water.
Rose Quartz

A single essential oil can be used if you don’t have many essential oils. Essential oils are oil soluble, it is best to add them to some plant oil before adding to the bath water. Add 4-10 drops essential oil to 1 tablespoon plant oil (avocado, olive, sunflower, etc.). Depending on the essential oils and you, customize the amount to what suits you. Less is better. Start with 4 drops and increase to 10 drops.

All is Well
4 drops Rose Geranium Essential Oil
3 drops Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil 

Relax and Soothe 
4 drops Lavender Essential Oil
3 drops Sweet Orange Essential Oil
2 drops Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Plant Milks 1 cup
Coconut Milk 1 cup
Coconut Milk Powder 2 tablespoons
Hemp Milk 1 cup
Almond Milk 1 cup
Macadamia Milk 1 cup
Himalayan Sea Salt 1/4 cup
Pacific or Atlantic Sea Salt 1/4 cup
Dead Sea Salt 1/4 cup
Epsom Salt 1/4 cup
Baking Soda 2 tablespoons
Calendula 1 tablespoon fresh or dried 
Chamomile 1 tablespoon fresh or dried
Lavender 1 tablespoon fresh or dried
Roses 2 tablespoons fresh or dried

Read Part 1 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Herbal Facial Steam here

Read Part 2 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Aromatherapy Foot Bath

Read Part 3 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Massage with Softening Hand and Foot Balm

Enrollment is open for the Winter Session Guided and mentored online professional course with cosmetic formulator, herbalist and aromatherapist Joan Morais. Enroll today here…


Hygge Beauty Rituals: Massage with Softening Hand and Foot Salve


Part 3: Hygge Beauty Rituals: Massage with Softening Hand and Foot Salve 

The hygge beauty rituals; Part 1 herbal facial steam, Part 2 aromatherapy foot bath and Part 3 massage with softening hand and foot salve. One hygge beauty ritual that feels so good and is so simple and highly beneficial to the skin and body are self-hand and foot massages. It only takes a few minutes to do a self massage and lovingly touch our our hands and feet. The massage sends a message to the nerves and muscles that the body matters and the nerves and muscles can relax and revive. Our nerves are constantly attacked with all that we see and hear on the news, social media and the stresses in our daily lives. We have loss of sleep, are overly tired, feel achy and always on alert. Our nervous system sends signals to our entire body; especially the brain and the spine. When we take time to massage our hands and feet it sends a message to the nerves to relax and creates a feeling of wellness.

This hand and foot salve recipe works wonders during the cold, dry and windy months. It glides on without leaving an oily feel and look. It is perfect for a hand and foot massage. Hands need extra care because they are exposed to the harsh elements at all times; dishwashing, cleaning, snow, cold, dry air and wind. Hands quickly show sun spots, wrinkling and dryness and to prevent these it helps to care for the hands. One way is to apply a salve that locks in the moisture and protects the hands. This salve also is excellent for massaging the feet. Foot reflexology affects the body.

Foot Reflexology Massage
Reflexology is used for headaches, backaches, menstrual complaints, fatigue, to improve circulation, remove toxins from the body and restore balance to the body. Reflexology is a therapeutic form of foot massage. Both ancient Chinese and Egyptians used the healing effects of foot reflexology on the entire body. Reflexologists believe that certain areas on the feet reflect the body’s internal organs and systems which can be stimulated by applying pressure to those specific points, called reflex zones. If an organ, tissue or gland is off balance, then the external point on the foot will be sensitive to pressure. By applying pressure to the reflex zones, a natural healing process can begin by increasing the circulation of blood and nerve supply in the body.

Softening Hand snd Foot Salve 
Fills 4 ounce container

4 fluid ounces (1/2 cup) plant oil (avocado, sunflower, olive, coconut, almond, apricot)
1 tablespoon of candelilla wax  (tiny spheres-you may need more if the wax is larger spheres)
½ teaspoon essential oil (I used: 8 drops lavender, 6 drops rose geranium, 4 drops palmarosa)


1. Place plant oil  and candelilla wax into a very small pot, stainless steel measuring cup or double boiler* on low heat.

2. Be careful not to overheat the oil, it will destroy the beneficial properties of the oil. Remove the pot from heat as soon as the candelilla wax is melted and the mixture is clear with no unmelted candelilla wax.

3. Do a spoon test: stick a spoon in the mixture and allow the salve to harden on the spoon to test the consistency. If it is too firm, add more plant oil, if it is too soft, add more candelilla wax. Reheat as necessary.

4. Cool the salve a bit but before it firms up and add essential oil and stir well.

5. Pour immediately into the container and allow to firm.

*A double boiler system should be used when heating wax or plant oils and butters. This system creates a gentle heat and warms the oils, butter or wax without burning them. It is a two-pot system. The bottom pot holds a small amount of water and this warms the ingredients in the top pot. This is a double boiler pot system; the bottom pot holds a small amount of water and the top pot holds the ingredients.  To make your own system, use a larger pot to hold the water and a smaller pot to set inside the larger pot. The water in the bottom pot should barely touch the top pot. A trivet can be placed inside the larger pot and the smaller pot placed on it.

Read Part 1 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Herbal Facial Steam here

Read Part 2 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Aromatherapy Foot Bath

Read Part 4 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Crystal and Aromatherapy Bath (coming soon)

Enrollment is open for the Winter Session Guided and mentored online professional course with cosmetic formulator, herbalist and aromatherapist Joan Morais. Enroll today here…



Hygge Beauty Rituals: Aromatherapy Foot Bath

Part 2: Hygge Beauty Rituals: Aromatherapy Foot Bath 

Hygge Beauty Rituals Part 1 shares about the feeling of coziness and comfort, Hygge.
An aromatherapy foot bath affects our entire body and imparts a feeling of comfort, wellness, relaxation and revitalization.

Our feet are one of the most neglected areas of our body. We take them for granted. Our feet hold us up, balance our bodies and get us to where we want to go. We stuff our feet into uncomfortable shoes which result with corns or bunions and can be painful. Only when our feet are in pain do we realize how much our feet do for us. Our feet are the foundation of our body and the foundation to our health.

Foot baths refresh, revive and invigorate not only our feet but our entire body. When your nerves are frayed and your energy is low, a foot bath will boost your energy, soothe your spirit and soften your feet. Foot baths work great for sore, swollen and aching feet especially after hiking, walking or bike riding. Foot baths work well for heat headaches. It pulls the hot energy out of your head down and out through your feet. Try 4 drops lavender and 2 drops peppermint essential oil.

You can always fit a foot bath into your busy schedule, you can take a foot bath while watching TV. Although, it’s better to create a spa space to relax and revitalize your entire self. Listen to some relaxing music or music that makes you feel good, burn some candles,  read a magazine or a book, have a cup of ginger tea, a glass of sparkling fruit water or just look out the window to nature and daydream. Keep a pad and pen by you to jot down inspirational ideas.

When your feet are in water you won’t get up to do the many things on your to do list and instead relax and just be. When we do good things for ourselves the list gets done quicker and easier.

Use a metal tub, a big cooking pot, a plastic washing basin or sit on the side of your bathtub. Make sure the container is deep enough so that your ankles will be covered with water. Place a towel under the basin and one to the side to dry your feet. Foot baths are great to do outside on a warm day.

1 tablespoon plant oil (avocado, safflower, sunflower, olive, almond, apricot)
2-6 drops essential oil (lavender, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, tea tree)

optional additions:
2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon dried herbs/flowers
1/4 cup fresh herbs/flowers
1/4 cup plant milk
1 tablespoon coconut milk powder
1 tablespoon baking soda

In a small mixing container add  2 tablespoons of safflower oil, sunflower oil, olive oil or a plant oil you have in your pantry and add up to 6 drops of essential oil and mix well. Essential oils are soluble in oil, not water. It is best to add them to plant oil first and then disperse into the water. This will help to minimize direct contact to essential oils. Direct skin contact with essential oils may cause sensitivity to the skin. You can add 2 tablespoons of your favorite sea salt, dried or fresh herbs and flowers and/or baking soda. Fill the foot basin with warm to hot water; a temperature that feels good to you. Add the essential oil mixture to the water and stir well. Make sure the water is not too hot before putting your feet in. Soak feet for 15-20 minutes.

These essential oils are great for the feet plus you receive the added benefits from the aroma of the essential oils.

Lavender essential oil is calming and soothing. Use for sore, swollen feet and heat headaches.
Lemon essential oil refreshes and revives. Use for hot, sore and swollen feet.
Peppermint essential oil is refreshing and reviving. Use for sore, tired, hot feet and heat headaches.
Rosemary essential oil refreshes, revives and stimulates circulation. Use for sore and swollen feet.
Tea tree essential oil is antifungal. Use for fungus or athletes foot.

There are so many therapeutic benefits to massage the feet. There are areas in the feet that correspond to other areas in your body. Search and learn about reflexology. After your foot bath, lovingly massage your feet with a foot salve. Foot salve recipe coming soon in this series.

Read Part 1 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Herbal Facial Steam here

Read Part 3 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Massage with Softening Hand and Foot Balm

Read Part 4 Hygge Beauty Rituals: Crystal and Aromatherapy Bath (coming soon)

Enrollment is open for the Winter Session Guided and mentored online professional course with cosmetic formulator, herbalist and aromatherapist Joan Morais. Enroll today here…