Surfactants: Sulfates!

I know people are scared away by the idea of using sulfates of any sort in their products, but there are so many kinds of sulfates that eliminating them all together would deprive you of some awesome surfactants! When you see a surfactant with the word “sulfate” on the end, all it means the molecule...

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Surfactants: Carboxylates

Carboxylates are produced by the alkaline hydrolysis or saponification of animal or vegetable fats and result from the neutralization of fatty acids. They are extremely soluble in water up to C18 (or 18 carbons), and are insoluble over C20. If you use an unsaturated oil or butter to produce these surfactants, you might see some...

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Surfactants: How to interpret the names of surfactants

I know there’s a lot of misunderstanding about surfactants – especially about SLS – so here’s a way of figuring out what type of surfactant you have! Sodium lauryl sulfate Okay, the sodium part is the cationic or positively charged ion in this surfactant. The lauryl part indicates which fatty acid was used to make...

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Surfactants: Basic, general information

As I’m writing this series of posts on surfactants, there are a few things to consider when formulating… foaming lathering bubbling good skin or hair feel substantitive to skin or hair how it performs in hard water foamy resistance to soap and/or sebum how to thicken it These qualities will make it clear which one...

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Surfactant chemistry: Micelles

What are micelles? They are defined as “an aggregate of surfactant molecules dispersed in a liquid colloid”. So what’s a colloid? It is a type of mixture in which one substance is evenly dispersed throughout another. There’s generally two phases – the dispersed or internal phase and the continuous phase. In the case of oil-in-water...

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