How to choose your shampoo ? The company of the senses

The "ingredients" or "composition" section of shampoos remains incomprehensible to anyone without a scientific doctorate, let's face it. That's why organic shampoos are starting to appear here and there, offering a natural and effective alternative to conventional shampoos. So let's take a look at this famous list of ingredients to highlight the notable differences between an organic shampoo and a conventional shampoo.

What is a shampoo made of?

1. the aqueous phase

A shampoo is an emulsion, i.e. a homogeneous mixture, at sight, between a watery phase and a fatty phase, which are immiscible. One of the particularities of shampoo is its high proportion of water: 70% on average in an organic shampoo as in a classic shampoo!

The fatty phase allows the hair to be attracted to the aqueous phase. Thus, the active ingredients will be able to act at the heart of the hair and scalp to wash and detach grease and pollution particles. The fatty phase consists of a mixture of tensioactives, which will give the shampoo its active properties.

2. surfactants, washing agents

Surfactants are used to keep the emulsion stable for a certain time. In fact, they decrease the surface tension between the two immiscible phases of the emulsion, which allows your shampoo not to turn into an unattractive dressing...

It is these compounds that vary greatly between an organic shampoo and a conventional shampoo. Because of the profusion of ingredients (and therefore raw material costs) in conventional shampoos, manufacturers have made compromises by sometimes deciding to skip the quality of surfactants.

This is how a shampoo can be made of anionic surfactants*: they are characterized by a slight attraction to anions and will therefore be more detergent, or even too detergent. They are very cheap and foaming, but can become very irritating...if you want your scalp to itch, this is a good option ;-). Finally, these surfactants are often derived from petrochemicals, which are polluting and involve complex recycling...But that's another subject.

... On the contrary, the organic labels put forward the choice of amphoteric surfactants* of vegetable origin, more soft and ecoresponsible. Their amphoteric character allows them to have as much affinity with the anions as the cations, and thus not to be pushed back by one or the other of the phases of the emulsion.

They are generally less foaming than petrochemical surfactants, but this problem can be solved by adding co-surfactants of plant origin, which will reinforce the action of surfactants: no decrease in efficiency (quite the contrary!) and a healthy and soothed scalp, while being eco-responsible.

3. Texturing agents

A smooth, creamy, free-flowing shampoo is everyone's dream! And these properties are made possible by the use of texturizing agents. The problem is that the obtaining of these agents is not always very ecological: in the traditional shampoos, the agents of texture are again resulting from the petrochemistry. The "organic" label therefore removes most of the petrochemical ingredients from the composition of the shampoo, replacing them with organic or natural ingredients.

You will therefore find in organic shampoos very few texturing agents (which may explain why your hair tangles a little more with an organic shampoo!) but more natural agents based on vegetable gums, in order to obtain a shampoo with a viscosity adapted to consumers' expectations.

4. Preservatives

Preservatives are essential in shampoos because of the high proportion of water, which favors the development of micro-organisms. They are present in low concentrations (generally less than 1%).

Once again, organic shampoos stand out from their competitors by favoring naturally derived preservatives, which are just as effective but less harmful to the environment and less harsh on the skin than the preservatives used in conventional shampoos.

Indeed, some shampoos can still contain parabens* or substitutes no less irritating as formaldehyde*. In an organic product, some synthetic preservatives are authorized by the labels but natural preservatives are often preferred.

5. Additives

Like many people, you probably choose your shampoo based on its smell and appearance. That's why conventional shampoos contain so many additives. The only problem is that while they may smell good, these shampoos coat your hair with a whole bunch of synthetic compounds that aren't very glamorous and are potentially allergenic! Whereas organic shampoos use natural colorants(or even no colorant at all!) and organic essential oils for fragrance. So the smell of organic shampoos is usually pretty neutral, but nothing prevents you from adding a drop or two of your favorite essential oil.

Here you are with a few keys to better understand the label of your shampoo and choose it with knowledge. You will also find other additives in low concentrations, reinforcing the foaming properties or other specific properties thanks to active ingredients in trace form.

Our organic shampoo recipes

Why choose an organic shampoo ?

For certified organic products, themaximum proportion of synthetic ingredients in the finished product is set at 5%.

This leaves little room for all the compounds used in conventional shampoos! Several regulations frame the production of organic cosmetics: we can find the certifications Ecocert, Cosm├ębio, the BDIH charter, or the label Organic Agriculture. In general, these certifications guarantee a minimum of 95% natural ingredients or ingredients of natural origin, of which at least 10% are organically grown.

Comparison table : organic shampoo vs. classic shampoo

Ingredient Category Biological Shampoo Classical Shampoo

Amphoteric : Sodium Cocoyl, Glutamate, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Sodium Lauroyl Glutamate, ...