How to Produce Shampoo

How to Make Shampoo

Shampoo is one of the most important cosmetic products everyone needs to ensure their hair remains neat and fresh. Whether you want to start your own shampoo business or manufacture yours for in-house consumption, this guide will help you know the ingredients to use, the right machines, and the process. Read on!

What Is Hair Shampoo?

Hair shampoo is a type of hair treatment lotion for washing the hair, often in the form of a high-viscosity liquid. It’s soapy and comes in different packages depending on the manufacturer. Whether it’s dead skin particles, dandruff, or general dirt, hair shampoo is a top fit for cleaning the hair. 

Shampoo Ingredients List

A typical shampoo comprises several ingredients, as we will discover below:

Deionized Water/Water

Water is the most important component in a shampoo mixture. It’s the solvent in which other substances are dissolved into. In fact, it makes up about 80% of the entire mass of the shampoo. However, the ideal type of water used in making shampoo is deionized water. 

This is a kind of water that has undergone several separation techniques until most instances of minerals in it—such as calcium, sodium, and magnesium—have been removed. These elements, if present, even in trace amounts, can cause severe damage to the hair.

Foaming Agent (Cocamidopropyl Betaine)

The next ingredient on our list is Cocamidopropyl Betaine (CAPB)—yes, we know it’s a mouthful. However, this ingredient is one that must be present in every hair shampoo, even if it is in a small quantity. It’s made from coconut oil and serves as a foam booster.

Have you ever noticed how your shampoo lathers into a rich foam on wash days? That’s the CAPB at work, creating that satisfying lather that makes washing your hair feel like you are at the spa. It also doubles as a thickener, contributing to the viscous properties of the shampoo. 

Now, you may be wondering whether CAPB is safe to use—the answer is a resounding yes. Regulatory agencies like the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) have confirmed it is safe to use. In fact, research has shown that even the most sensitive scalps can tolerate this ingredient.

Of course, you must understand that individual sensitivities can vary when it comes to ingredients. So, if you have reacted to a product or hair shampoo containing CAPB, it is best to stop using it until you consult a medical professional.

Opacifying Pearling Agents

Opacifying pearling agents are the main components that give the viscosity effect in the shampoo. They are also used in gels and lotions. Beyond this, pearlizers contain super tiny crystalline elements that give the shampoo a shiny effect.

Conditioning Polymers (Polyquaternium)

When you talk about scalp safety and care in shampoo, one of the major ingredients to mention is polyquaternium. This set of ingredients makes your hair soft and free, removing tangled while reducing instances of broken strands. Generally, they moisturize your hair and give it a more soothing feel.

Surfactants (Sodium Lauryl sulfates)

SLS is a surfactant that helps to break down dirt and oils in your hair. So, this explains why you would find a product like this in facial cleansers and body washes. Apart from removing the impurities in your hair, it’s possible for the lather you get from using your shampoo. However, there have been concerns regarding the safety of this ingredient in recent years, with people worried about its potential to irritate the skin.

After testing products with this SLS on animals, it was shown to cause mild irritation in some animals. However, this product is totally safe for use in shampoos, cosmetics, and other personal care products.

In fact, following a 1983 safety assessment study published in the International Journal of Toxicology, SLS was declared safe for use. However, it should be rinsed off immediately after use, and its concentration must not exceed 1% of the final product.

Conditioning Emollients (Dimethicone)

Dimethicone is a renowned conditioning agent that leaves the skin softer and fresher. It coats hair strands, increasing their tactiness. You can also call it a protective silicone molecule as it protects the hair cuticles from excessive heat from the sun’s rays.

Preservatives (Parabens)

Parabens are preservative agents that prolong the shelf life of hair care products by preventing the growth of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. You will most likely find parabens listed on the labels of various cosmetics and personal care products, like shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and toothpaste.

Methylparaben is the most common type of preservative found in cosmetic products. Other types of paraben commonly used in the beauty industry include ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben.

Although these preservatives are useful in increasing the shelf life of these hair shampoos, there have been several debates concerning their safety. Studies also show reasonable concern about their side effects.

These preservatives have also been identified as the health hazard responsible for cancer. Further research also shows that traces of paraben have been found in breast tumors; however, there is no direct link between them and cancer development.

But, due to these growing concerns, many countries, including the UK, the EU, and many Southeast Asian nations, have imposed bans or restrictions on their use in cosmetics and personal care products. 

In the United States, the FDA continues to review the available evidence, and in the meantime, parabens remain in beauty products. However, consumers are encouraged to check labels carefully before purchasing.

Salt (Sodium Chloride)

Sodium Chloride—or what you know as table salt—may come off as a strange ingredient to see in a bottle of shampoo. But wait, you’ll see the vision, too. Now, in the cosmetic industry, salt is a versatile ingredient you will find in anything personal hygiene-related, from shampoo to conditioner, body washes, and even toothpaste.

The big question: why salt? Well, the answer is simple—sodium chloride is a thickening agent, and when combined with sodium lauryl sulfate (which we discussed above), it helps enhance the creamy texture of shampoos and conditioners. This then makes them easy to apply and more effective in cleaning hair. 

In fact, in the cosmetic industry, there is a widespread belief that the overall performance of a product improves when you add salt. But its role does not stop there. Salt is also used in hair mists to provide volume and texture. It can also act as a preservative to prolong the shelf life of products.

But despite all these benefits, there are concerns that salt contributes to dryness and itching of the scalp, as well as hair loss, especially for persons undergoing keratin treatments. So, if you have a sensitive scalp or undergoing keratin treatments, you may want to be careful around products containing salt. 

PH Adjuster (Citric Acid)

Citric Acid—which you’ll find in citrus fruits like lemons and limes—does more than add tanginess to your favorite dishes. When added to hair care products, it helps regulate their pH levels, which is necessary for maintaining the quality and safety of the product. 

Thus, citric acid acts as an adjuster, ensuring that the product remains within the desired pH range—usually between 4.5 and 5.5. This slightly acidic pH range is essential for hair health, ensuring hair cuticles lay flat and results in smoother, shinier, sleeker hair. 

In shampoos, soaps, and other rinses, citric acid acts as a clarifying agent, water softener, and buffer. As a chelating agent, it helps remove water-hardness ions, preventing the shampoo from forming residues that do not dissolve.

This then improves the rinse ability of a hair shampoo mixture. Like some of the ingredients we discussed earlier, citric acid also contributes to the shelf life of products. 

Fatty Alcohols

Fatty alcohols come from plant and animal fats, and they are some key ingredients in many hair care products, like shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling mixtures. These long-chain alcohols wear many hats, often acting as surfactants, emollients, emulsion stabilizers, and opacifying agents.

These fatty alcohols remain a  favorite among manufacturers because they allow water and oil to mix evenly. Behenyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Oleyl alcohol, and Myristyl alcohol are the most common fatty alcohols used in hair products.

They aid in lather production for shampoos and also have strong cleaning abilities. These alcohols also feature in hair conditioners as they reduce the friction between the hair strands and help spread the product evenly.

There are two types of alcohol used in cosmetic products. The short-chain one usually dries out the hair, and the long-chain one is great for the hair and skin. Fatty alcohols like stearyl fall under the long-chain category.

Fatty alcohol also helps to lubricate the hair and make it easy to style. Unlike short-chain alcohols, which strip away oils and cause dryness, fatty alcohols help to maintain hydration and softness.

Cetyl alcohol, for example, is derived from vegetable or coconut oils, which explains how it can effectively seal the hair cuticle, leaving your hair feeling soft, silky, and hydrated. 

Typical Shampoo Composition Table

Below is a brief idea of the ingredients you will find in a typical bottle of shampoo. Note that you may find some of these ingredients under different names on the label. In the table below, we suggested some of the alternative names of these ingredients so you don’t get thrown off.

IngredientSimilar namesPercentage (%)
WaterAqua. Deionized water60-80%
Surfactants Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfates10-20%
Foaming AgentsLauryl Glucoside or Cocamidopropyl Betaine3-8%
Conditioning PolymersPolyquaternium 6, Polyquaternium 7, or Polyquaternium 10.0-1%
PreservativesPropylparaben, Methylparaben, or formaldehyde0.001-1%
Opacifying Pearling AgentsGlycol Stearate, Alkanolamides0.5 – 1.5%
Conditioning EmollientsDimethicone, Lanolin0.5-2%
pH AdjusterCitric Acid Appropriate quantity
Salt Sodium Chloride0.2-0.5%
Fatty AlcoholsCetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol1-3%

 

Please note that the percentages provided are typical ranges and may vary depending on the specific formulation and manufacturer preferences. Also, the concentration of some ingredients above, like surfactants and preservatives, may be listed as the percentage of active ingredients rather than the total solution. So, keep that in mind when you next check out a bottle of shampoo.

Where to Get Shampoo Formulations

There are lots of shampoo formulations online, and they could probably give you a good mix. However, it’s not recommended to take things of this nature: hook, line, and sinker, as it could have a serious effect on your hair. To be on the safe side, get shampoo formulations only from certified chemists or dermatologists.

How to Produce Hair Shampoo

how to make shampoo

There are many ways how to produce liquid shampoo, but they all have a general principle, which is mixing everything properly. You must understand that deionized water is your primary solvent, and everything else must dissolve in it properly. Hence, the first step in how to produce hair shampoo is to heat your water to about 55°C. This way, it becomes easy for the ingredients to mix well.

After that, add the surfactants first before adding the other ingredients. Ensure the mixer is in full action to fuse everything. You can add citric acid at this stage, as it will help to modify the pH level of the solution until you arrive at the recommended range for scalps.

In the final stages of production, viscosity modifiers like sodium chloride are added to achieve the desired consistency. These modifiers help ensure the shampoo has the appropriate thickness and texture for easy application and effective cleansing.

Colorants and fragrances may also be added for aesthetic appeal. Note that the steps listed are for producing liquid shampoo. Understanding how to produce shampoo bars typically involves the same steps with less water and a longer curing time.

How Much Does It Cost to Produce Shampoo

When it comes to manufacturing shampoo, there are both visible and hidden costs to expect. These hidden costs are often tied to testing requirements mandated by country regulations to ensure the product is safe. They typically cost between $500 to $800 and include stability testing, microbial testing, and heavy metal analysis. 

The more visible costs are those expenses that are directly connected to the manufacturing of the shampoo. These depend on the manufacturer and other variables. For example, the startup cost of producing 250ml bottles of shampoo can cost up to $3000, depending on the number of bottles, their quality, the cost of raw materials, etc. But these estimated prices can be reduced if you’re manufacturing larger quantities.

How To Produce Homemade Shampoo

How to make shampoo

As we’ve mentioned earlier, there are different formulas on how to produce natural hair shampoo. This is the basic formula to help you make a great shampoo for your personal use, especially if you don’t have access to all the industrial ingredients we mentioned earlier. First, get the following ingredients:

  • Half a glass of deionized water
  • Half a glass of scented or non-scented liquid soap 
  • A teaspoon of light vegetable oil or glycerin. Please note that this is optional and not advisable if your hair is oily.
  • Drops of essential oil, especially if you’re using a non-scented liquid soap

Instructions:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the water and liquid soap first.
  • Next, add the light vegetable oil or glycerin for extra moisturizing properties.
  • Depending on the fragrance you want, add a small quantity of any essential oil you love.
  • Ensure all the ingredients mix well until they are homogeneous.
  • Pour the mixture into empty bottles for packaging.

Once you’re done, you can use the shampoo by pouring a little quantity on your wet hair. Homemade shampoo may not give the same feel and lather as the ones available in retail stores owing to the differences in formulation. However, it can effectively cleanse the hair and scalp, removing oil and dirt just like store-bought shampoos.

If you’re looking to produce shampoo on a larger scale or with specific formulations,  ignore this DIY and work with a professional manufacturer. These experts can help you to develop custom formulations tailored to your needs and ensure quality and consistency in your products that a homemade mix will not give you.

Shampoo Production Equipment: How to Mass Produce Shampoo

If you know how to produce shampoo for sale, you must understand the importance of having the right equipment. For one, it helps with the quality and efficiency of the manufacturing process. But let’s look at some of the basic shampoo production equipment you should have in your mix. 

Shampoo Mixing Equipment

One of the most important parts of the shampoo-making process is mixing the various ingredients in water until it’s homogenous. While there are many ways to achieve this, shampoo mixing equipment is the best to ensure you get a perfect solution.

A sophisticated shampoo mixer has various parts you need to get accustomed to if you must leverage the tool 100%. For example, it has load cells that ensure accurate ingredient measurements. This also eliminates the need for manual weighing of ingredients, as it automatically senses the right amount of raw materials that should be poured into the mixer. 

Whatever you do, do not repurpose your old kitchen mixers for shampoo production. As we said earlier, kitchen mixers are manufactured for culinary tasks, and they cannot effectively process hair care ingredients. 

Filling Equipment

In commercial cosmetic factories, no one fills bottles manually. Rather, they use automated filling equipment, such as the ones SaintyTec produces. These machines can fill thousands of bottles of various sizes in a day. Guess what? They are also handy for other purposes outside of shampoos.

Sealing Equipment

Proper sealing is important to ensure there is zero leakage or contamination of the shampoo. Once you’ve filled the bottles, pass them through the sealing machine to ensure they are airtight and safe for delivery. A typical sealing machine can take care of scores of bottles in a minute.

Labeling Machines

This is the machine you need for adding your brand’s label to the shampoo bottle. They are automated, fast, and seamless. Moreover, using them allows for uniformity and consistency in labeling across high volumes of products. 

How to Test Your Shampoo Product?

By standard practice, shampoo formulations must undergo various tests to meet regulatory standards and ensure consumer satisfaction. Some of the key tests are Stability Tests, Microbiological Tests, and Packaging Stability Tests. 

You need these tests to determine how well your product will perform under different conditions. You don’t want a product that will change color from white to black simply because it was placed in different locations. That’s why you need to take these tests seriously. Let’s take a look at them:

Stability Test

The goal of this test is to know how stable the various shampoo ingredients fare under different environmental conditions. Hence, portions of the shampoo will be placed in different places under different weather conditions and monitored to see how they behave. If there are sharp disparities across them, then the solution isn’t stable.

Microbiological Test

As the name suggests, the test aims to decipher the number of microbes in each milliliter of the shampoo. This test typically takes up to about 72 hours to conclude and should be carried out in a lab. If done properly, it will help to know whether the shampoo is microbes-infested and whether it is safe for use.

Packaging Stability Test

The Packaging stability test aims to know how reliable the packaging material is over an extended period. While this is more common in the pharmaceutical and food industry due to the high rate of lead poisoning, among others, it also finds applications here in the cosmetics world. Using the wrong packaging material can introduce unwanted elements into the shampoo if subjected to excessive UV rays.

Conclusion

Now you know how to produce shampoo for hair, what’s your next step? Do you want to take the next step towards commercial manufacturing, or do you want to produce only a small amount for your personal use? If commercial production is your option, then you need to get the right production and packaging equipment from SaintyTec to get started.

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