Sugar Surfactant-Based Shampoos

Andreia Nunes, Paula Marques, Joana Marto, Andreia Ascenso, Lídia Gonçalves, Manuel Fitas, Pedro Pinto, João Sotomayor, Helena M. Ribeiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Naturally derived surfactants in hair care products are a trend in cosmetic technology. This study aimed to formulate and fully characterize the performance of shampoos with sugar-derived surfactants, namely, the alkyl polyglucosides decyl glucoside and coco-glucoside. In addition, different thickeners and conditioning ingredients were added to improve the formulation properties. A sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) formulation was used as control. Rheology, pH, foaming, contact angles on a keratin surface, and surface tensions were determined. The safety of the formulations was evaluated by in vitro cytotoxicity studies using the human keratinocyte HaCaT cell line and human retinal pigment epithelial cells ARPE-19. The efficacies were studied by in vitro hair combing force assays and in vivo sensorial analysis. The formulated sugar surfactant-based shampoos showed the following properties: (i) pH values higher than those of SLES (which were posteriorly lowered with lactic acid); (ii) higher foamability than SLES, and high wettability; (iii) Newtonian behavior and predominance of liquid state with a suitable viscosity; (iv) low cytotoxicity in both human keratinocytes and retinal cell lines (in contrast to SLES); (v) easier hair combing than SLES, when Polyquaternium-7 was used as conditioner; (vi) efficient and gentle hair washing; and (vii) favorable sensorial analysis confirming the previous washing properties. In conclusion, the sugar surfactants had a considerable impact in the properties of the shampoo formulations, in terms of both hair cleansing properties and efficacy, as demonstrated here. These favorable outcomes clearly support the use of these ingredients in shampoo formulation design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)809-819
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Surfactants and Detergents
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


  • Foam stability
  • Hair combing force & sensorial analysis
  • Naturally derived sugar surfactant
  • Rheology
  • Safety & efficacy
  • “Green” sulfate-free shampoos


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