A review of shampoo surfactant technology: consumer benefits, raw materials and recent developments

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2018 Feb;40(1):16-30. doi: 10.1111/ics.12439. Epub 2017 Dec 14.


Surfactants form the core of all shampoo formulations, and contribute to a wide range of different benefits, including cleansing, foaming, rheology control, skin mildness and the deposition of benefit agents to the hair and scalp. The purpose of this review was to assist the design of effective, modern, shampoo surfactant technologies. The mechanisms through which surfactants help deliver their effects are presented, along with the appraisal techniques through which surfactant options can be tested and screened for product development. The steps that should be taken to select the most appropriate blend of surfactants are described, and useful information on the most widely used surfactants is provided. The review concludes with an examination of recent developments in 'greener' surfactants, 'sulphate-free' technologies and structured liquid phases for novel sensory properties and for suspending benefit agents.

Keywords: claim substantiation in vivo/in vitro; formulation; hair+body care; polymers/surfactants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hair Preparations* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Rheology
  • Sulfates / analysis
  • Surface-Active Agents* / chemistry


  • Hair Preparations
  • Polymers
  • Sulfates
  • Surface-Active Agents