The chemistry of shampoo.

Topics: Sodium laureth sulfate, Shampoo, Surfactant Pages: 5 (1577 words) Published: March 5, 2003

Everyone who uses shampoo could tell you that their main factors in choosing a shampoo to use are smell, look, and price. People are misinformed about shampoo and how to tell the difference between a good shampoo and a bad one. The main point of shampoo is to cleanse your skull of residue that is picked up either from hair products such as hair spray, gel or moose, as well as the dirt in the air, and perspiration. Shampoo is something that all of us use on a regular basis If you look in any store you will find a huge variety of different types of shampoos all claiming to have the one ingredient that makes it the top among it's competitors. Just what are the ingredients in a shampoo? What do they do that they are needed? Is there any one product that is better than the rest?

When looking at shampoo's ingredients, one thing you have to focus on is surfactants. The major types of surfactants are anionic, cationic, nonionic, and amphoteric. Surfactants with a positive charge are called cations, and ones with a negative charge are called cations. An example of this would be sodium chloride. Sodium forms positive ions upon dissolving in water, while chlorine makes negative ions. They attract to each other. Surfactants tie in with shampoo and all other hygiene products, because anionic surfactants are the most widely used detergents in all personal hygiene products. They are inexpensive, excellent cleaners, and rinse from hair easily. The only con about them is that they can be harsh and irritating to the scalp. This problem is taken care of in most shampoos, by added ingredients that help o prevent irritation to the scalp. If used in high concentration, which they rarely are, cationic surfactants can be unsafe. They can be a dangerous threat to eyes. As long as they are supervised and used in low quantities, they are safe and usefully.

Some examples of surfactants that might be found in shampoos are:

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate-very harsh, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate- Harsh, Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)- mild, and Lauryl Sulfate-mild. The to best and most widely used are SLES, and Lauryl Sulfate.

Nonionic surfactants aren't used as a cleaning agent, but are often used in combination with the primary cleanser to change or modify its actions. They can help with solubility, foaming, and sometimes with conditioning.

Amphoteric surfactants are used to help keep foaming down, and to make things less irritating. Each group of amphoteric surfactants has cationic and anionic charge groups. Most are used in baby shampoos, because of their gentleness and won't burn their eyes. Along with surfactants, shampoos contain many additives to perform all the necessary reactions that the surfactants cannot provide. The following are different additives that are usually found on shampoo labels. They include their names and what they do.

AQUA- while this sounds important, this is just a way for the companies to formally write water. Water just helps the shampoo obtain liquid form and nothing more.

SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE- This is a soap like chemical made from chemicals extracted from a type of oil. This is what makes the shampoo a cleanser. This is the most active ingredient of all. It lubricates the hair and has a soap-like action to lift the dirt and grease from the hair.

SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE- This is another chemical similar to the one above. It adds on to whatever Sodium Laureth Sulfate misses. It is very soapy and is a good safe cleanser.

COCOMIDOPOPYL BETAINE- Just like the above two, this is another cleanser. The difference is that this is an organic chemical as opposed to the others.

PARFUM- Once again, this is a way for the company to make their products sound exotic. Really it is just perfume. All it does is make the product smell attractive. With out it, the shampoo would have a faint smell of ammonia.

SODIUM CHLORIDE- This is exactly what is spread on food at the dinner...
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