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Sanyo Chemical
Surfactants are key ingredients in many cosmetics formulations. Learn how they are used as a cleanser, emulsifier, dispersant, penetrator or thickener. Surfactants can also be added as wetting, foaming or solubilizing agents to various product formulations. Discover the wide range of surfactants from Sanyo Chemical offering high performance and low-irritancy. Download formulation guides for your hair care, skin care and make-up applications.

Surfactants in Hair Care Applications

What are Surfactants?

Surfactants are an essential part of most hair care products. They are widely used in washing, conditioning and styling formulations to perform the following functions:

  • In shampoos as cleansing and foaming agents
  • In hair-care products as conditioning agents
  • In hair styling products as wetting agents

As the role of surfactant varies from one hair-care product to another, the type of surfactant suitable for the application also varies. A surfactant molecule consists of a hydrophobic part and a hydrophilic part. The hydrophobic part usually consists of a hydrocarbon chain of variable length between 8 to 18 carbon units long. The hydrocarbon chain length strikes the balance between mildness and detergency of the surfactant. Surfactants with shorter chain lengths have stronger grease removing properties; a longer chain length leads to increased mildness and lower lathering properties. The hydrophilic part of the molecule consists of various functional groups which determine the nature of the surfactant and its key properties.

Surfactants for hair care

Surfactants suitable for major hair-care applications

Shampoos

Shampoo is the basic hair care product with the largest market share of the hair care cosmetics market. Most hair contaminants, such as excess sebum (natural skin oil), dandruff, environmental contaminants, and residues of other hair care products are insoluble in water. These contaminants cannot be effectively removed by water alone. A good shampoo cleanses the scalp and hair by lifting these contaminants so that they may be washed off. Shampoo surfactants cause the formation of micelles which wash away oil and dirt from hair with water. The hydrophobic part of shampoo surfactants is typically short in length so that it does not cling to the hair and is easily washed off. Shampoo surfactants are generally anionic or amphoteric in nature. Anionic surfactants provide most of the detergency and lather in shampoos. Amphoteric surfactants are used for decreasing the irritancy of shampoo formulations. They are also useful for increasing the active content level of the product and for improving the quality of lather. Mild, tearless shampoos may be based entirely on amphoterics. Non-ionic surfactants are generally not used for cleansing in shampoos due to their harsh detergency which may lead to excessive degreasing and cause scalp irritation. Some mild non-ionics are however suitable for use as foam-stabilizers and thickeners. The table below summarizes the benefits of various types of surfactants used in shampoo formulations.

Type
Chemical Basis
Benefits
Anionic
Surfactants
Ether Carboxylate
Surfactants
  • Excellent hard-water resistance
  • Low irritation to skin and eyes
  • Excellent foaming properties even under weak acidity
Sulfosuccinate-Based
Surfactants
  • Suitable for general use as base materials for hair-care
    products
  • Prevent excessive degreasing
  • High foaming properties
Sodium Polyoxyethylene
Alkyl Ether Sulfate
Alkyl Sulfate Surfactants
  • Suitable for use as base material for foaming/cleaning
    agents
  • High foaming properties and excellent detergency
Amphoteric
Surfactants
Acetic Acid
Betaine-Types
Imidazoline-Types
  • High foaming properties and foam stability
  • Low irritation to the skin
  • Usable in combination with both ionic and non-ionic
    surfactants
Amino Acid-Type
Surfactants
  • High foaming properties for hair-care and body-wash
Non-ionic
Surfactants
Alkanolamide of
Fatty Acid
  • Effective as thickeners and foaming agents for shampoos,
    face washes, and body soaps

Conditioners

Conditioner surfactants are meant to deposit onto hair rather than being wash off like shampoo surfactants. A longer carbon chain length gives the surfactant molecules greater ability to cling on to the hair surface. Consequently, they are not easily washed off during the rinsing process and form the basis of conditioning. Cationic surfactants (positively charged) are generally used in hair conditioning formulations. Shampoo surfactants leave a small negative charge on hair which lifts the hair cuticles. The positive charge on cationic surfactants helps remove the negative charge smoothing down the cuticle. The table below summarizes the benefits of cationic surfactants used in hair-conditioner formulations.

Type
Chemical Basis
Benefits
Cationic
Surfactants
Alkylammonium
Chloride
  • Suitable for use as base material for:
    • hair conditioners
    • hair rinse products
    • hair treatment products
  • Impart softening properties
  • Adsorb effectively on hair
  • Give a smooth feeling, stiffness and moisture to the hair
  • Excellent antistatic properties

Sanyo Surfactants for hair care applications

Sanyo chemical offer a wide range of surfactants for use as base material and additives in shampoos, conditioners and other hair-care and styling products. Browse through the selection of products or contact us for recommendations based on your specific requirements.

Anionic Surfactants for Shampoos

Product Name
INCI Name
Uses and Features
BEAULIGHT LCA
BEAULIGHT LCA-25F
BEAULIGHT LCA-25N
BEAULIGHT LCA-30D
SODIUM LAURETH-4
CARBOXYLATE, WATER
  • Easily biodegradable
  • Moderate detergency
  • Also work under acidic conditions
  • Low irritancy
BEAULIGHT LCA-25NH
LAURETH-4
CARBOXYLICACID, WATER
  • Base material for shampoos
  • Non-neutralized; can be neutralized
    according to users' purpose
BEAULIGHT SHAA
SODIUM LAURYL GLYCOL
CARBOXYLATE, WATER
  • Easily biodegradable
  • Base material for shampoos
  • Moderate detergency
  • Does not cause excessive degreasing
  • Produces a large amount of fine and
    rich foam
  • Also work under acidic conditions
BEAULIGHT ESS
DISODIUM C12-14 PARETH-2
SULFOSUCCINATE, WATER
  • Moderate detergency
  • Produces a large amount of foam
  • Low irritancy
BEAULIGHT SSS
DISODIUM LAURYL
SULFOSUCCINATE, WATER
BEAULIGHT NA-25S
SODIUM LAURETH
SULFATE, WATER
  • High detergency
  • Produces a large amount of foam
  • Low irritancy
  • Compatible with various surfactants

Amphoteric Surfactants for Shampoos

Product Name
INCI Name
Uses and Features
LEBON 2000
LEBON HC-30W
COCAMIDOPROPYL
BETAINE, WATER
  • Impart excellent tactile properties
    to hair
  • Contains minimal amounts of
    sodium chloride
LEBON 2000HG
COCAMIDOPROPYL
BETAINE, WATER
  • Contains minimal amounts of
    sodium chloride
LEBON 2000L
LAURAMIDOPROPYL
BETAINE, WATER
  • Excellent thickening effect when
    used with anionic surfactants
LEBON MY-30W
MYRISTAMIDOPROPYL
BETAINE, WATER
  • Excellent foaming property and
    thickening effect when used with
    anionic surfactants
LEBON LD-36
LAURYL BETAINE,
WATER
  • Produces a large amount
    of foam
  • Exhibits high foam stability
LEBON CIB
SODIUM
COCOAMPHOACETATE,
WATER
  • Low irritancy to skin and eyes
  • Hard water tolerance
  • Pale color compared with
    conventional products
LEBON APL
SODIUM
LAURAMINOPROPIONATE,
WATER
  • Produces a large amount
    of foam

Foam Stabilizers and Thickeners for Shampoos

Product Name
INCI Name
Uses and Features
EMULMIN 862
PEG-190 DISTEARATE PEG-190
  • Thickener suitable for thickening
    shampoos and hair conditioners
FROTHMEISTER
HG-375
PPG-75-PEG-300 HEXYLENE
GLYCOL PPG-75-PEG-300
  • Suitable for use as:
    • foaming auxiliary
    • foam stabilizer for shampoos
      and body washes
FROTHMEISTER
GC-48
PPG-24-GLYCERETH-24
FROTHMEISTER
SP-10
PPG-10 SORBITOL

Surfactants for Hair Conditioners

Product Name
INCI Name
Uses and Features
ECONOL TM-22
BEHENTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE,
CETEARYL ALCOHOL
  • Does not contain low-boiling solvents
  • Solvent stripping process is not
    required
  • Easily biodegradable
ECONOL TMS-28
STEARTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE,
WATER
  • Used to impart:
    • Smoothness and elasticity
    • Excellent detangling ability
LEBON TM-18
STEARTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE,
PROPYLENE GLYCOL
LEBON TM-18PA
STEARTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE,
ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL,
WATER
LEBON TM-16
CETRIMONIUM CHLORIDE,
WATER
CATION DSV
DISTEARYLDIMONIUM CHLORIDE,
ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL
  • Easily adsorbed on hair due to
    high molecular weight
  • Imparts smoothness to hair
CATION S
STEARALKONIUM CHLORIDE,
ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL
  • Imparts smoothness and elasticity
  • Excellent detangling ability to
    rinsed hair
CATION LQ
QUATERNIUM-33,
BUTYLENE GLYCOL,WATER
  • Imparts long-lasting smoothness
    and softness to hair

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Case Studies from Selecting the Right Surfactant for Cosmetics

Natural derived surfactants for cosmetics reducing skin discomfort

Surfactants are among the most essential ingredients used during cosmetic product formulation. Formulators are faced with several challenges when using surfactants to find the perfect balance between performance while conforming to market regulations and safety standards. Sanyo Chemical Industries provides formulators with naturally derived surfactants and a sulfate-free range of products allowing high performance and reducing skin discomfort.

Download the case study for more information.

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