The new generation of shampoos has had to cover a long road in order to arrive to a safer and more effective version.
This old product started its commercial boom by mid-century ago, only as a hair cleaning agent. Today, shampoos are basic elements of therapeutic and personal care sets for treatment and grooming of hair. Their use goes from cleaning agent for hair and scalp, as to a recipient for active ingredients for therapeutical preparations.
In order to achieve these objectives traditional formulations have had to undergo rough changes.
Early formulations and carcinogens
Shampoos, (the name derives from Hindu “Tschampa” = Friction)¹ were originally made with a simple formula, consisting of the ether sulfate of fatty acid, as the detersive agent, and foam booster and coco diethanolamide, as viscosity builder and stabilizer. For additional viscosity, the economic table salt was used. Formaldehyde, was the preservative those early days. Very soon, it was established that this material had carcinogenic properties and its use was banned’ Two new specialties were created for its replacement : Henkel’s Bronidox-L, and Germaben II, by Sutton Lab.
Common salt was a second concern, because of its dull effect on the hair, and the formation of calcareous deposits on the hair, leading to dandruff build-up. This situation was solved by eliminating the use of salt, and increasing the amount of coco diethanol amide.
During the 70’s, proteins polycondensates and proteins hydrolysates were the new ingredients added to shampoo preparations, for the purpose of increasing shine, and smooth wet combing of the hair. It was precisely the end of this period when CRODA launched its specialty: “Kerasol” an excellent protein specialty capable of regenerating damaged hair, due to relaxers and hair dyes abuse. Shortly after the debut of Kerasol there came a new family of proteins called Hydrotriticum, also by CRODA — non-animal, wheat proteins, which definitely changed the way of processing “ethnic hair.” Although, these protein specialties were created for hair conditioner applications, shampoos that were part of that regime had to be reformulated
The search for safer solutions
Years later it was found that, under certain lapse of time and temperature conditions, coco diethnolamide jelled a carcinogenic substance, which made the use of this ingredient questionable. Formulators then started to replace it with some combinations of betaines and glycosides compounds. Another issue of concern, more recently developed, was the fact that the old-traditional ether sulfate surfactant was no longer safe. This led to a new family of Sulfate-Free Shampoos. Finally, the recent discovery of the effect of free formaldehyde affecting the stability of preservatives in personal care formulations.²
Many other transformations and changes are expected to suffer our good old friend: The Shampoo! However, our question is: Can we go back to basics with a simple and, at the same time, effective formulation? Of course we can. Sunrise Chemical Corporation has developed formulations for that specific purpose.
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1. Karlheinz Schrader, “Reflexiones sobre el desarrollo de moderns champris para el cabello,” DRAGOCO REPORT (Mayo 1970), 87-98
2. Michael Tallon, PhD and Karen Winkowski, “Free Formaldehyde Preservative Stability in Personal care: Part II-Formulations” Cosmetics & Toiletries (Oct 2015 Newsletter)