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Classification of Shampoos

They are classified based on the level of surfactants, conditioners, moisturizers and the medications added to the basic formulation.

  1.  Basic shampoos-
  • Normal hair shampoos
  • Oily hair shampoos
  • Dry hair shampoos
  • Damaged hair shampoos
  1. Baby Shampoos
  2. Conditioning Shampoos
  3. Medicated shampoos

The main ingredients of a shampoo are---- Detergents, Foam boosters, Opacifiers, preservatives, Thickeners, pH modifiers


Detergents- Also known as surfactants. They remove sebum and dirt. It is combining a surfactant, most often sodium lauryl sulfate and/or sodium laureth sulfate with a co-surfactant, most often cocamidopropyl betaine in water to form a thick, viscous liquid, salt (sodium chloride), which is used to adjust the viscosity, apreservative and fragrance.


Foam Boosters- They form excessive lather with creamy consistency.


Thickeners- These increase the viscosity and help in adhesion of surfactants to the sebum thus leading to effective cleaning. Commonly used thickeners are- polyvinyl alcohol,  cellulose derivatives,  sodium chloride.


Opacifiers- They make the shampoo solution opaque and sparkling looking like a pearl. Glycol distearate is commonly used. Silicone used to provide conditioning benefits.


pH modifiers- pH of the shampoo should match with the pH of the hair which is 5.6-6.2. Citric acid is commonly used to achieve this. This reduces the alkalinity of a shampoo and prevents hair shaft damage. . Shampoos usually are at pH 5.5 because at slightly acidic pH the scales on a hair follicle lay flat making the hair feel smooth and look shiny. It also has a small amount of preservative action.


Antidandruff Shampoo

fungicides such as ketoconazole, zinc pyrithione and selenium sulfide which reduce loose dander by killing Malassezia furfur. Coal tar and salicylate derivatives are often used as well.

These Shampoos usually contain one of the three common agents—

  • Zinc pyrithione(ZPT),
  • Piroctone olamine (PO)
  • Triclosan

Medicated Shampoo – 2% Ketoconazole


Baby Shampoos

Shampoo for infants and young children is formulated so that it is less irritating and usually less prone to produce a stinging or burning sensation if it were to get into the eyes. This is accomplished by one or more of the following formulation strategies:, in case product comes in contact with eyes after running off the top of the head with minimal further dilution;

adjusting Ph to that of non-stress tears, approximately 7, which may be a higher Ph than that of shampoos which are Ph adjusted for skin or hair effects, and lower than that of shampoo made of soap;

use of surfactants which, alone or in combination, are less irritating than those used in other shampoos;

use of lycerine surfactants of the form of polyethoxylated synthetic glycolipids and/or polyethoxylated synthetic monoglycerides, which counteract the eye sting of other surfactants without producing the anesthetizing effect of alkyl polyethoxylates or alkylphenol polyethoxylates.


Antiseborrheic Shampoos are those especially designed for pets with scales or those with excessive oily coats. These shampoos are made of sulphur, salicylic acid, refined tar(which cannot be used on cats), selenium sulphide (cannot be used on cats) and benzoyl peroxide.

Antipruritic shampoos are intended to provide relief of itching due to conditions such as atopy and other allergies. These usually contain Bacterial infections in pets are sometimes treated with antibacterial shampoos. They commonly contain benzoyl peroxide, chlorhexidine, povidine iodine, triclosan, ethyl lactate, or lyceri.


Antifungal shampoos are used on pets with yeast or ringworm infections. These might contain ingredients such as miconazole, chlorhexidine, providone iodine, ketoconazole or selenium sulphide (which cannot be used on cats).

Emollient shampoos
are efficient in adding oils to the skin and relieving the symptoms of a dry and itchy skin. They usually contain oils such as almond, corn, cottonseed, cottonseed, olive, peanut, Persia, safflower, sesame, lanolin, mineral or paraffin oil. The emollient shampoos are typically used with emulsifiers as they help distributing the emollients. These include ingredients such ascetyl alcohol, laureth-5, lecithin, PEG-4 dilaurate, stearic acid, stearyl alcohol, carboxylic acid, lactic acid, urea, sodium lactate propylene glycol, lycerine, or polyvinylpyrrolidone.


Dry Shampoo

Powdered shampoos are designed to work without water. They are typically based on powders such as starch, silica or talc, and are intended to physically absorb excess sebum from the hair before being brushed out. Those with dark hair may prefer to use brown powders such as cocoa powder.


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