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Keeping It Clean: Cleansing Ingredients for All Hair Types

Cleansing ingredients for all hair types

The world of shampoo and hair cleansing is experiencing a boom, as consumers revisit their traditional shampoo routines, in favour of pre-poos, co-washes, double cleanses for hair and scalp, and more! With an increasingly competitive and innovative space, formulating for hair cleansing and shampoo now has added layers of complexity.

Shampoo solutions for all hair types

As more brands expand their range to be more inclusive of diverse hair types, there’s a lot to learn about the different ingredients offered and how to formulate shampoos to target the specific needs of straight, wavy, curly or fully textured hair. Consumers are educating themselves on their hair and curl types, their porosity types and even looking at their climate as they search for the best shampoo and hair cleansing solutions for their tresses. Interest and focus on scalp care also continues to steadily increase, and consumers want hair cleansing products that will also effectively care for their scalp.

Get started on your next shampoo or hair cleansing formulation

This guide will provide you with a great selection of hair cleansing ingredients to jump-start your next shampoo or hair cleansing innovation. Whether you’re looking to formulate for sulfate-free shampoo, waterless formats, clear or opaque formulas—there’s something here to get you started.   

Need a bit of inspiration?

Explore our prototype shampoo and hair cleansing formulations



Cleansing Agents & Foam Boosters

For an effective cleanse, you want to explore surfactants and cleansing agents that are gentle enough not to strip the hair or weigh down curls, while still removing product build up and oils. The cleansing agents and foam boosters we’ve selected to get you started will be effective in creating sulfate-free shampoos that are mild enough to be gentle on the scalp, while delivering a rich, luxurious foam. Our selection includes a number of bio-based cand biodegradable options to allow you to create naturally-derived and sustainable shampoo formulations that appeal to the clean beauty consumer. 




Kao’s Akypo® Foam LM 25
Anionic surfactant that offers all the properties required for ultra-mild cleansing products.

Kao’s Emanon® EV-E
Non-ionic surfactant, Solubilizer and Emulsifier. It is vegetable-origin and preservative-free

Kaos Levenol® H&B
Extra-mild non-ionic surfactant with emulsifying properties.


Solvay’s Miracare®Soft S 525
Mild sulfate-free multifunctional performance concentrate

Stepan’s Bio-Terge® AS-40
Anionic surfactant providing excellent viscosity, foam characteristics and mildness

Dow’s EcoSense Surfactants
Naturally-sourced, readily biodegradable surfactants

Stepan’s Mild® PCL
Mild, sulfate-free, anionic surfactant blend that generates high foam with good viscosity building characteristics



Conditioning & Hair Repair Agents

Consumers expect their shampoo formulations to not only cleanse their hair, but also repair, condition and treat different kinds of damage. There are many unique polymers you can leverage to customize your hair cleansing and shampoo formulas to target specific forms of hair damage, as well as offer light or deep conditioning benefits. Here, we’ve selected options that can help you address anything from split ends to heat and color damage. We’ve also include the HydroxySHIELD™ polymer from Dow, which focuses on protection, allowing you to create preventative shampoo formulations.




Kao’s KAO Sofcare® GP-1
Plant-derived multi-functional conditioning agent for personal care products

Dow’s DOWSIL™ 7113  Microemulsion
Microemulsion for hair repair and volume


Solvay’s Polycare® Split Therapy
 Naturally-based and non-ecotoxic hair repair active

Dow’s HydroxySHIELD™ Polymer
Multi-functional polymer for protection from heat and color damage

Solvay’s Jaguar® range
Bio-based conditioning polymer suitable for transparent formulations

Dow’s UCARE™ Extreme Polymer
Bio-derived & biodegradable cationic cellulosic conditioning polymer

Solvay’s Mackpro® KLP
Replace  natural oils and protein lost by shampooing and provides conditioning without an “oily” feel.



Thickeners & Viscosity Boosters

Great texture and viscosity is important for liquid shampoo and hair cleansing formulations, in order to create a fantastic visual and sensory experience for your consumers.  We’ve provided you with some great bio-based options here to help you achieve the ideal viscosity for the specific hair type you’re targeting with your formulation.




Cargill’s Actigum™VSX 20
Rheology modifier that builds over the well-known properties of two highly safe and nature- derived ingredients

Kao’s Kaopan® TW-IS399S 
Strong thickener effective for sulfate-free formulations.


Stepan’s MILD® GCC
Ester providing thickening, foam enhancing, and solubilizing agent

Stepan’s MILD® L3 
Viscosity builder, foam booster, emulsifier and emollient applied to different formulations.

Stepan’s NINOL® CAA 
Secondary surfactant designed to optimize hygiene formulation chassis with no compromise on performance



Humectants & Volumizing Agents

Now that you’ve selected your cleansing agents, conditioning and repair agents, as well as a thickener, selecting a great humectant and incorporating volumizing and styling benefits can take your shampoo formulation to the next level. The materials we’ve selected to get you started are highly compatible, and offer additional benefits to their humectant and volumizing properties.



Angus’s Tris Amino® ULTRA PC
Tromethamine buffer for personal care and cosmetic products


Novachem’s Extracell™ Plex 
Active ingredient obtained from yeast that increases resistance to breakage for damaged hair

Novachem’s Capilmax™
Active that increases hair thickness, redensifies, prevents hair loss and repairs the fiber

Novachem’s Royal Elixir™
Active with an exceptional concentration of nutrients, it restores hair in just minutes, providing balance and strength to the hair fiber


Shampoo & Hair Cleansing formulations to inspire

We know the hair cleansing market is competitive, so we’ve selected a few of our own formulations to help inspire your next innovative product:



Detox Refrescante – Espuma de Limpeza de Couro Cabeludo

Your scalp also needs love. Whether dry, oily, normal or overloaded with many products. This refreshing cleansing treatment instantly removes oil and build-up with an explosion of invigorating micro-bubbles. Click here to access

Todo Levinho – Shampoo Livre de Sulfatos

Transforming what is known shampoo around the world, this sulfate-free formula offers a dense, rich and creamy foam, redefining a simple bath into something superior. This incredible texture sharpens your senses and rescues you from moments of stress and tension. Feel your hair healthy and shiny after an extraordinary moment. Click here to access

Superfood – Shampoo Pré Tratamento 

Perfect complement to your daily wellness routine. This nutrient-rich shampoo is formulated for a moment of deep cleansing preparing the strands to receive the treatment it deserves. Sulfate-free, a friend of the scalp and nature, is step 1 for hair full of attitude. Click here to access




Sulfate Free Shampoo

As effective as they are in ridding your hair of dirt, sulfates can also strip your hair of essential natural oils. This unique shampoo formulation helps retain the natural moisture of the hair so that your hair does not lose its natural shine and softness. Click here to access

Clinical Scalp & Beard Shampoo

Thinking about practicability and flexibility we formulate a shampoo thoroughly cleans and deeply conditions, leaving your scalp and beard feeling soft, clean and manageable. Click here to access

Split Ends Restoring Shampoo

Split ends stand in the way of great hair, and we're all susceptible to them.  Our shampoo with rich formulation treats hair to extra nourishment repairing and preventing split ends. Click here to access

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