Prophylactic self-isolation for shampoo’s formula investigation. Day 31st.

Navigation in shampoo’s oceans. Transparent conception and tips. PART 2

Staying AT HOME, we already have started to l’earn about the shampoo’s formulas. You can find the first part of the investigation in the previous post: https://z-antenna.com/2020/04/04/prophylactic-self-isolation-for-shampoos-formula-investigation-day-23rd/

I will continue to share some basic, transparent conception and tips to navigate in shampoo oceans:)


Navigation in a shampoo oceans or How to choose a better option:

Why “Aqua” is always the first ingredient?

All the ingredients in a shampoo (or any other cosmetic product) formula are written according to their percentage concentration, starting from the ingredients with a highest amount, and finishing with ingredients with a lowest amount. For example:

In the 1st and in the 2nd formulas, Aqua (water) is the main ingredient by percentage, it’s amount is highest. The least amount of ingredient is Cl16255 and Parfum in the 1st and 2nd formulas, respectively.

“Aqua” means water (in Latin). “Aqua” is a trivial, common name of water. In an ingredient list, other than “Aqua” could be “Water” or “Eau”. According to EU regulations, trivial, common names must be used for ingredient labeling and therefore should be easily recognized by consumers speaking different languages. Trivial names of cosmetic ingredients are taken from the European Pharmacopoeia.

Water is a good solvent for plenty of chemical/natural ingredients, and therefore makes a basis (major amount) for a shampoo formulas. Water could be different: purified, deionized, demineralized, tap water… But that aspect is never (never?) mentioned in an ingredient list.

From the other hand, ingredients like Cl16255 or Parfum are needed in very very small amounts to make their job. Actually, they never could be in front of shampoo’s list, but it is good to see them (or not to see at all?) at the end of the list!

What does <<Cl 16255>>mean?

Cl 16255, or any other “Cl” with numbers aside means the synthetic cosmetic colorant. As an example, Cl 16255 is a synthetic colorant “Acid Red 18”, with a chemical formula Trisodium 1-(1-naphthylazo)-2-hydroxynaphthalene-4′,6,8-trisulphonate.

There could be one or more synthetic colorants in one shampoo formula.

Synthetic colorants were found in further received shampoo formulas:

As one could notice, synthetic colorants are rather popular to add in shampoo formulas, because they are cheap and easy to handle with.

About natural colorants

As an alternative, natural colorants sometimes are used by producers. There are plenty of natural colorants available, but they are not cheap and adding them to a “chemical shampoo mixture” could cause unsuspected color changes or other reactions. In other words, it is difficult to manage with them:)

Usually, chlorophylls (magnesium chlorophyll) or Copper complexes of chlorophylls and chlorophyllins, as natural colorants, could be found in shampoo formulas (but I did not find it in any of received shampoo formulas).

Is there the word “fragrance” or “parfum”?

In general, if there is a word “fragrance” or “parfum”, it means that ANY chemical with a pleasant smell could be used. Because the amount of parfum required are very very low, it was assumed not even to group them in catalog list (as it is done for synthetic colorants).

Fragrance-sensitive people (children) could be sensitive to shampoo (contact dermatitis) just because of that one ingredient – “parfum” or “fragrance”. This word in an ingredient list is actually mystic, because it could not be identified anyhow by a consumer. Examples from the received formulas:

Synthetic parfum is rather popular to add in shampoo formulas, because it is cheap, easy to handle with and does not require any specific labeling.

Again, all the ingredients in a shampoo formula are written according to their percentage concentration, starting from the ingredients with a highest amount, and finishing with ingredients with a lowest amount. Unidentified parfum, as a potential skin irritant, if present, should be found at the very end of the ingredient list, but not in the middle.

About natural fragrances

In some high quality shampoos, natural fragrances could be added. In that case it will be clearly stated that fragrance/parfum is of natural origin.

Other option

Other option to avoid chemical fragrance/parfum is to look for a statement on a label that “shampoo does not contain any fragrance/parfum”.

Because the topic is really huge, we start from the very basics, and will continue going ahead in further posts. Stay tuned and subscribe to this blog to get notifications about every new post (these days it is coming every day:))

References:

(1) International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook by Joanne Nikitakis and
Beth Lange, Ph.D., 16th edition, 2016

(2) 38 Natural Colourants for Organic Skincare, https://formulabotanica.com/38-natural-colourants-skincare/

(3) Handbook-of-Pharmaceutical-Excipients 6th Edition by Rowe, R.C., Sheskey, P. and Quinn, M., 2009

Photos by Dr. A. Palatronis on www.z-antenna.com. Phot of rose by Pexels

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Prophylactic self-isolation for shampoo’s formula investigation. Day 23rd.

Navigation in shampoo’s oceans. Transparent conception and tips. PART 1

Once I spoke with a friend of mine, and she said she uses only baby cosmetics for herself, like baby face cream, baby hand cream, baby shampoo… She said there are less hazardous, risky chemicals in children’s formulas. That sounded reasonable to me!

When my shampoo was finished, I went to a pharmacy to choose a baby shampoo for myself:) As a chemist, and a reader of labels for 10 years continuous practice, I immediately turned a chosen bottle to the ingredient list.

To my surprise, the ingredient list of children’s shampoo was not so good! I looked at the other company’s bottles – they were the same!

A few days ago, I asked my friends to send me photos of the ingredient list of their children’s shampoo they use at home. As we STAY HOME, it is time to l’earn something about this mysterious chemistry:))

We are not going to have a deep conversation on the chemical structure of the ingredients of shampoo, also, that is not SLS topic* and which most responsible mothers have already investigated. * SLS is Sodium lauryl sulphate, a chemical that is commonly used in shampoos, soaps, shower gels and toothpaste as a cleansing and foaming agent. However,

I will try to share some basic information and tips to navigate the option of shampoo options:)

Navigating in an ocean of shampoo or How to choose better options:

In general, look at the ingredient list

  • In general, look at the ingredient list: the shorter it is, the better (except formulas that have plant-based ingredients making more than 50% of all composition). Examples from received shampoo formulas:
Length of ingredient list in shampoo formulas

Look for natural, plant-based ingredients

  • look for natural, plant-based ingredients

Some “natural” shampoos have long list of plant-based ingredients and theoretically should be “natural”, but look further to differentiate: a) plant names and b) other natural ingredients or c) chemically-derived components.

Plant names and raw material, found in shampoo formulas:

Calendula officinalis flower extract
Triticum vulgare (Wheat) germ extract
Vaccinium mirtyllus extract
Rubus idaeus extract
Actinidia chinensis fruit juice
Citrus aurantium dulcis juice
Citrus paradisi juice
Pyrus malus juice
Prunus amygdalus dulcis seed extract
Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract
Persea gratissima (avocado) fruit extract
Sweet almond oil
Irish moss
Nori seaweed
Lemon oil
Mimosa absolute
Orange flower absolute
Jasmine absolute
Castor oil
Avena sativa (oat) kernel flour
Avena sativa (oat) kernel extract
Plant names and raw materials found in shampoo formulas

Other natural ingredients could be: sea salt, amber extract, honey, limonene.

Formulas where plant-based ingredients make more than 50% of all composition could be considered as plant-based. Examples from received shampoo formulas:

Examples of non plant-based shampoo formulas

Something about Chamomile:

This could come as a surprise for some of us, but natural, plant-based materials could cause allergic reactions. One of the most common plant-allergen is Chamomile flower. According to European Medicines Agency, hypersensitivity reactions including severe allergic reaction (dyspnoea, Quincke’s disease, vascular collapse, anaphylactic shock) following mucosal contact with liquid chamomile preparations have been reported. The frequency is not known (1).

Something about Limonene:

Originally, limonene is a common component of essential oils and therefore could be found in many plants. In shampoo formulas, limonene is known as one of the allergens, because synthetic, cheap, not natural limonene is used.

Limonene could be considered as natural only if it is clearly written after ingredient list that “limonene, which naturally occurs in essential oil” or something like this. If “limonene” is without any additional information provided, most likely, something like 99.9% it will be synthetic. Examples from received shampoo formulas:

Identify the most risky ingredients just before purchasing

One of the most undesirable component in shampoo formulas is Propylene Glycol.

Propylene Glycol in shampoo formula

Propylene glycol is estimated to be one-third as intoxicating as ethanol, with administration of large volumes being associated with adverse effects most commonly on the central nervous system, especially in neonates and children. It is also related to ototoxicity (deafness) and seizures in children (2). Be aware not to use on damaged, dry (with dandruff) or irritated skin. But of course, would recommend to avoid it as for children, as well for adults.

Because the topic is really huge, we start from the very basics, and will continue going ahead in further posts. Stay tuned and subscribe to this blog to get notifications about every new post (these days it is coming every day:))

References:

  1. European Union herbal monograph on Matricaria recutita L., flos EMA/HMPC/55843/2011
  2. Handbook-of-Pharmaceutical-Excipients 6th Edition by Rowe, R.C., Sheskey, P. and Quinn, M., 2009

P.S. Great thanks to a special friend, who devoted her time to this blog post, and improved my English grammar:)

Photos by Dr. A. Palatronis on www.z-antenna.com. Lady looking at the computer monitor – Photo by Pexels

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