Surfactant Active Matter Calculator

Shower gel, shampoo and face cleansers usually contain at least two surfactants to make the formulation milder and more effective.  As surfactants sold by ingredient suppliers are diluted it can be challenging to know exactly how much surfactant is in a formula and whether the level falls within the usual ranges for the product type and skin and hair type.  Our calculator does the math for you, making it easy to know how much active matter is in the formula and adjust the level so it falls within appropriate guidelines.

It is also important to bear in mind how mild the surfactants (and other ingredients) chosen are as this will also impact the level of active matter.  The test systems used for this are the zein and red blood cell assay tests.  Cocamidopropyl betaine, glucosides, sulfosuccinates, glycinates and glutamates are generally regarded as very mild.  Sulfates are generally regarded as being the least mild.

In the calculator below, list all your surfactants.  The calculator will show the active matter for each, adding them up and providing a total at the bottom of this page.  That total can then be compared to the relevant bullet point below:-

Face cleansers usually contain around 8-10% total active matter, made up of mild surfactants.

Shampoos usually contain around 10-15% total active matter depending on hair type (lower end for very dry or ethnic hair and higher end for oily hair).

Body washes, shower gels generally contain around 15-20% total active matter.

As previously stated, the percentage bandings above should be adjusted according to the mildness of the surfactants chosen.  Other ingredients in the formulation can also impact mildness and the appropriate active matter.