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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. 




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

Solvay’s Mackam LHS
Biodegradable high foaming surfactant

Corbion’s Esterlac CARE+
Bio-based sodium salt-derived non-ionic co-surfactant

Corbion’s Esterlac SLL
Foam booster and mild surfactant

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



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.



Solvay’s PolyCare Split Therapy
Sustainably-produced hair repair active for split ends

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

DOWSIL™ CE-1874 MicroEmulsion
Microemulsion for hair repair, color protection and volume Naturally-sourced, readily



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.



Solvay’s Jaguar Line
Multi-functional natural polymers for conditioning, active delivery, and formulation thickening



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.


DSM’s D-Pathenol
Humectant with ability to improve the resistance of hair to mechanical stress

DSM’s Tilamar Boost 150
Unique hyperbranched polymer that provides long-lasting volume on different hair types

Corbion’s PURASAL® Moist XS
Humectant that can increase the mildness of surfactant formulations


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:


Scalp TLC Charcoal Detox Shampoo

A little scalp TLC can help create a healthier foundation for longer stronger hair. This unique shampoo formulation has a fun jelly format and contains charcoal and tea tree oil for a nice scalp detox, but still lathers up nicely to effectively clean the hair. Click here to access.

Charcoal-Free Scalp TLC Detox Shampoo

For a charcoal-free solution, have a look at this mild formulation which uses lemongrass and peppermint oils to cleanse the scalp, sulfate-free gentle surfactants to cleanse the hair, and offers protection from heat and color damage. Click here to access.

Curl Remedy Cleansing Conditioner

Co-washes and cleansing conditioners can help to simplify wash days and treat thicker hair to extra nourishment. This rich formulation has great slip, and adds moisture and conditioning without weight. Click here to access.

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