The Universal Selection Source: Cosmetics Ingredients

How to Select Cleansing Agents / Surfactants

This Selection Guide deals specifically with the ability of cleansing agents to remove contaminants from a substrate, should it be hair or skin. Surfactants are mainly usedfor their ability to reduce the surface tension between two phases. In general, they may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants.  

Surfactants

Surfactants are cleansing and foam forming agents. They form the base of almost all cleansing products available. They mix with water and fat of the skin to remove dirt. The term "surfactant" is broadly used to denote surface activity, and is noted for its ability to reduce the surface tension between two phases.

In general, surfactants may act as detergents, wetting agents, emulsifiers, foaming agents, and dispersants. The lipophilic chain is attracted by the soil and penetrates its, while the surfactant forces the soil to an open surface area and then detach from the surface. For this short synopsis, we will deal specifically with their ability to remove contaminants from a substrate ("cleansing"). Two good starting point references are: "Harry’s Cosmeticology"–edited by M. Rieger and "The Chemistry & Manufacture of Cosmetics"– edited by M. Schlossman).

Classifying Cleansers/ Surfactants
Surfactants for Hair & Skin Care Applications
Cleansing agents Applications



Surfactant Selection

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