Liquid surfactants are the easiest to work with followed by powder ones. If you’re using a solid or granular surfactant you can crush it to a powder first to make it easier to dissolve but you don't have to - it will dissolve eventually. If you’re using a needle-like surfactant you can leave it as-is because it normally dissolves easily..
When you’re putting any powders or solids into a liquid do so carefully and with continual gentle stirring to avoid lumps foaming, frothing and unwanted bubbles in your formulation.
All surfactants are irritating to skin by nature.
To make your shampoo milder i.e. both less irritating to skin and drying to hair, decrease the amount of surfactants and compensate by adding more water so that your recipe ingredients still sum to 100%.
If you are making up your own recipe and you are using an anionic surfactant, you can make it milder by just adding an amphoteric surfactant (e.g. cocamidopropyl betaine) or a non-ionic surfactant (e.g. decyl glucoside)
Always use a combination of two or more surfactants to make your own shampoo because this increases mildness, reduces tendency to irritate skin and creates a more stable shampoo.
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By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I was a natural hair blogger and mixtress living between London & Chicago from 2012 to 2017. I always thought I was 4C but some say 4B; images below - you decide! Heather xx