Surfactants can be divided into four groups, according to their ionic nature:
- ANIONIC SURFACTANTS carry a negative charge when ionized and provide lather and detergency in the shampoo.
- CATIONIC SURFACTANTS carry a positive charge when ionized and are mostly used in conditioners, as they are not easily removed during the rinsing process and form the basis of conditioning.
- NONIONIC SURFACTANTS have no charge to the molecule. According to Sister Scientist: “These types of surfactants are not ideal for cleansing, but are used primarily to modify the level of foam and aid in solubility. Cocamide MEA and coco glucoside are examples of this type of surfactant.”
- AMPHOTERIC SURFACTANTS carry both positive and negative charges when ionized. They are popular in shampoos now, as they are very useful for decreasing the irritancy while also increasing the active contents of the lather produced. They are mild and often used in baby shampoos.
There is a negative perception about surfactants because they are mostly associated with sulfates. Sulfates are surfactants but not all surfactants are sulfates. We have broken down six well-known surfactants that not only nourish the hair but also make detangling easier.
Naturally derived from rapeseed oil, this mild yet effective quaternary ammonium compound ingredient is known and appreciated for its detangling properties. This surfactant is often formulated in conditioners to smooth out the hair cuticles and condition them. Also acting as an emulsifier, behentrimonium methosulfate is gentle and can often be found in baby products and other lotions and creams for supple skin. Here are two curly hair products with behentrimonium methosulfate: Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment and Blended Beauty’s Curl Quenching Conditioner.
You can read the rest of my article over at Naturallycurly.com