The Chemistry of Shampoo


Shampoo is a hair care product that’s main goal is to clean the hair and scalp by removing the unwanted build up without removing too much sebum to make the hair unmanageable. I chose to find the chemistry of shampoo because hair care is very important to me, and essential to my long hair. My life is affected by shampoo because I wash my hair regularly and it helps to maintain it’s best state.

Composition of ...

  • Sodium chloride( NaCl): Used to adjust the viscosity
  • Sodium Lauryl sulfate (CH3(CH2)11(OCH2CH2)nOSO3Na): Surfactant
  • Cocamidopropyl betaine: C19H38N2O3
  • Ammonium Chloride(H4ClN)
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate(C12H29NO4S)
  • Glycol(C2H6O2
  • All of these components help the foaming, rinsing, eye irritation, feeling of shampoo itself, fragrance and smell, acidity, and the repairing of damaged hair.

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

Shampoo is made by combining a surfactant with a cosurfactant. These are the two main components in Shampoo. A surfactant is a substance that reduces the surface tension of a liquid in which it is dissolved. In shampoo, a surfactant works as a detergent to clean the hair, although it can also act as a wetting agent, foaming agent, and an emulsifier. The other component in shampoo is a cosurfactant. Cosurfactant is a substance that is used to increasing the oil solubilizing capacity.

Chemistry's Role

Shampoos contain detergents. This is where the Chemistry takes place. The detergents work as Surfactants which lower the surface tension of the water. Many raw materials such as Conditioning agents, Deionized water, and other additives are poured into a large batch tank and thoroughly mixed. The mixture is then cooled or heated to ensure mixture. Then, a sample is sent to the quality control testing lab to make sure it meets qualities specifications. After the shampoo is approved, it is then taken to the filler which gives a measured amount into empty bottles. The final product of shampoo is man made. It is mixed with other components that are specific to cleaning ones hair.

Background Research

Shampoo is made by many companies. Many brands of shampoo are specific to one’s hair type. When a shampoo formula is developed, it is tested many times to make sure it’s qualities will not change to much over time. This is called stability testing. Shampoo is used by most people to clean hair.


Why hair looks good certain days

What hair is made of

How hair reacts with shampoo

Science of hair care and how shampoo helps keep it clean

Shampoos and their detergents

Shampoos use


Strength of hair

Hair Color

Definition of shampoo and its use

Composition of Shampoo

How Shampoo works

Components of shampoo

What shampoo is made of

Creation of the shampoo

How shampoo works

About the Author

Nadine Porcel is a Junior at Billings Senior High School. She is currently involved in Varsity Singers, Philharmonic Orchestra, and Private lessons. She plans to continue her private studies in voice, piano, and violin and one day become a Choral director. Nadine enjoys playing her violin, singing, hiking, swimming, and spending time with her family and friends. Nadine also enjoys taking care of her hair.