DIY Karma Shampoo (extra delicate!) & chat on betaine

Hello everyone! 😀

Make your own Karma Shampoo
I was already in love with a shampoo recipe but I have “upgraded” it thanks to “betaine” (this is the INCI name, but to not confuse it with surfactants we better call it Trimethylglycine or TMG).
Wikipedia says: “Trimethylglycine (TMG) is an organic compound that occurs in plants. Trimethylglycine was the first betaine discovered by science; originally it was simply called betaine because, in the 19th century, it was discovered in sugar beets”.
So what is all the fuss about this ingredient? 😀
Properties of Trimethylglycine:
In detergents, at a 5% concentration, it helps making the detergent more gentle on the skin, so in this shampoo this is why I have added it 😀
But this is definitely not all about this great ingredient: it has anti-inflamatory and soothing properties, so it is great used in creams for people with sensitive skin, it helps reaching a very creamy consistency in creams (so it is a plus for texture! 😉 ), apparently it also helps to stabilize vitamin C.
How to use it: it is used at a percentage between 2% and 5% in creams but in detergents it should be added at 5%. It is water soluble. It has a basic pH so beware if you are using it with pH sensitive ingredients (like Niacinamide for instance… which should never reach very basic pH).

This recipe will give you a highly conditioning and delicate shampoo, very thick thanks to the use of surfactants 😉 (sles + betaine… remember? 😉 ). The foam is soft and with small bubbles.
It is not totally eco-friendly for the use of SLES, which is my favorite surfactant for shampoos because of its strong “wetting ability” (if you have doubts on using SLES because of the terrorism you find online, you might want to read here).
If, instead, you don’t want to use SLES because of the ecological issue, even if we are using it in small amount… well you can substitute it with an eco-friendly surfactant (sodium lauroyl sulfoccinate, for example) but it will be a liquid shampoo which will not feel as soft on the hair. Won’t be harmful anyway… so you can use it 🙂

Finally on to the RECIPE :

[If you don’t know anything about making detergents with surfactants… go here 😉 If you are confused on where to find these ingredients… there is a list of online websites from many countries in the world! 🙂 check HERE ]

Phase A:
Water to 100 (explanation HERE)
Glycerin 3
Inulin 1 (it helps untangle hair. If you have short hair you can totally omit this ingredient 😉 )
Hydrolized Wheat Proteins 3 (if you have powder wheat proteins you can use up to 0.5% or even less!)
Preservative (mine is water soluble, this is why I have added it here 😀 if yours is oil-soluble you can add it to the Phase B, at the concentration needed)
Trimethylglicine 5

Phase B:
SLES (sodium laureth sulphate) 25%
Decyl Glucoside 3%
Coco Glucoside & Glyceryl Oleate 3%
Fragrance Oil of cosmetic grade 0.5% – In this one I used “My Karma” from Manske-shop (this is the reason for the name of the shampoo itself)

Phase C:
Cocamidopropyl Betaine 10%
Food colorant – few drops, if you want to add it 😉
Poliquaternium 7 – 2% (this is a conditioner for the hair. It will help the shampoo make your hair soft and easy to untangle!) Add this ingredients at the end, add it slowly and keep stirring with a spatula. It might happen that the viscosity will decrease gradually so stop adding it if it becomes too liquid (to reach the 100%, adjust by adding water)

In the end check the pH. It should be around 5.5 😀
If it is too basic you can add a little bit of citric acid and measure again until satisfied 😉

You separately prepare Phase A and Phase B, adding one ingredient at a time. When both are homogeneously mixed you pour Phase A into Phase B and mix. You will notice the result at this stage is not thick but rather liquid. Once everything is mixed properly… add the Cocamidopropyl betaine and mix… you will be amazed on how thick it becomes! 😀

Make your own Karma Shampoo

For more recipes click HERE 
To learn how to formulate cosmetics click HERE
For a list of online cosmetic ingredients suppliers click HERE 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

31 thoughts on “DIY Karma Shampoo (extra delicate!) & chat on betaine”

  1. I am new to soap making due to my husband has MCS. I have made some soap by recipes I am having a hard time understanding yours. I know this because I don’t understand the calculation put of soap making. I can’t find anyone around me no classes to go to.


    1. Hello Teri,
      you talk about soap making, but you are commenting under a post of a shampoo.
      A shampoo is not made in the same way as a soap is made, that is why the recipes are very different and the making process is very different as well.
      I suggest you to go to the Site Index and read all the posts about formulating and making soaps, creams, detergents, shampoos… 🙂


  2. Hi! I love your website and am toying with the idea of making a shampoo. I was wondering, when you write in your recipes “SLES 25%, Cocamidopropyl 10%” etc – do you mean that amount of the liquid product you have bought as is, already diluted in water?
    Or do you mean that you calculate it so it will be 25% of the *active substance* in your final product?
    I’m thinking the former, because it seems like 25% SLES would make a very very strong shampoo… But if so, how diluted are the products you use for this recipe?
    Is it approx. 26% SLES, 30% CAPB, 50% decyl glucoside as seems to be most available in Europe? I thought you would need higher concentrations than that even in a shampoo, interesting if not!
    Thanks for all your lovely posts 🙂


    1. Hello Suzanne.
      Indeed it is the amount of my pre-diluted surfactants!
      If you want to know more, I have written few posts about this matter where I explain how to calculate the right amount of surfactants in a formula depending if you want to make a shampoo, a face wash and so on 🙂


      1. Thank you for replying, I forgot to check earlier 🙂 I see, i’ll check out the other posts but now I have a good basic idea of how much you use!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello, i’d like to ask if your formulation cited here is weight based. Thank you very much! 🙂


  4. Hello,
    I do not have Decyl Glucoside
    Coco Glucoside & Glyceryl Oleate
    But I have SLES and CAPB , Polyquat7 on hand. Can I still go ahead and try this recipe with the remaining ingredients.
    Also, can you pls share how and at what stage EDTA is to be added to water. I have EDTA powder. Many thanks !


  5. Hello! I like your website very much and thanks for sharing your formulas. I’ve been thinking about making my own shampoo and I want to start by a simple but good formula like your karma shampoo formula. But it seems that I can’t find a retailer who sells hydrolized wheat protein in my country so if I substitute the hydrolized wheat protein with hydrolized silk protein or keratin protein will it affect the shampoo performance? And can I use inulin food grade? Thank you… 🙂


  6. Hello! I like your website very much and thanks for sharing your formulas. I’ve been thinking about making my own shampoo and I want to start by a simple but good formula like your karma shampoo formula. But it seems that I can’t find a retailer who sells hydrolized wheat protein in my country so if I substitute the hydrolized wheat protein with hydrolized silk protein or keratin protein will it affect the shampoo performance? And can I use inulin food grade? Thank you… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello, I do not have Trimethylglycine / betaine powder .. What can be a close substitute .. Will this Shampoo be good for oily hair as well ..


  8. HEY, OVE YOUR FORMULATIONS. Can you share a clay based formulation. Also Instead of Inulin…can we add Guar Hydroxypropultrimonium Chloride in Phase A.
    If yes, will it have to be heated.


    1. Hi, yes GuarHC needs to be worked with heat. Not sure if I have posted any formula using it.
      I never posted clay based formulations because clay is TERRIBLY DIFFICULT to preserve. It carries a huge amount of bacteria which spoil the formula in no time.
      Commercial formulations with clay are possible because they treat clay in ways we cannot.
      You can use clay in instant face masks… that’s the only use I would suggest.


  9. Hi,
    I noticed you’ve added cocamidopropyl betaine at the end. I write my method of making here, could you please let me know if my method is wrong please, thanks.

    A- I melt and mix my surfactants (Sodium cocoyl isothionate, glyceryl stearate at 0.2g for conditioning, Sodium laurolamphoacetate , caprylic capric glucoside cocamidopropyl betaine and and then essential oil) in some water in the order I’ve written.
    B- Then I mix the rest of the ingredients like glycerin and protein separately with some water , except acid, salt and preservative.
    – Then I add part A over B and mixing well, then I fix the PH to 6 and then I add preservative and finally I add the salt water to the mix and fix the weight of the mixture to 100g.
    Is there anything I can do to get thicker formula?
    Thank you for your help in advance.


  10. Hi,
    I am using Hydrolysed oat protein. I’ve never had luck with gums, they sink to to bottom of the bottle after one or 2 weeks, whatever method I’ve used.
    I’m using SCI because I’ve read good things about it and because of having high active the surfactant load would be less in the formula.


    1. Proteins can thin out the formula as well.
      I would try changing the order you add your ingredients (CAPB at the end, protein at the end and preservative at the end, one at a time) and see if anytuing changes.
      If gums are not working with your formula, you should simply change surfactants as there is such a huge variety and sticking to these 4 for the last 1.5 years seems enough trial and error to say that this combination isn’t simply working as well as you wished 🙂


      1. Thank you.
        I think I didn’t explain properly . I bought quiet a few surfactants (at least 10 surfactants in total) which finally I chose these 4. The shampoo performs well. It is gentle and washes very nicely and my scalp and hair is well conditioned but it lacks a bit of glide.
        What do you suggest if you don’t mind me asking please. As I said I live in Australia and some of popular surfactants are not available here or you have to buy in bulk and also another hurdle for me is that I need to keep the shampoo clear as much as possible, so my options get less.:)


      2. Well as I said, your best bet is to change surfactants if the glide isn’t satisfacory and the polyquat 10 doesn’t work and you don’t want to use the polyquat 7. There are other conditioning agents that might help (like quat 80 if I recall well) but it is yet another “not ecocert” solution.
        So the final point is: you need to change something in the formula and if you are not ready to change the blend of surfactants, then you might have to consider adding a conditioning agent that isn’t cosmos or ecocert approved. It really depends what you value more, here. I don’t know which surfactants are or aren’t available in Australia but I love, for example Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate (less than 5% and it makes great lather, great glide and thickens as well).
        Surfactants are a WORLD in themselves (there are so many and every year there are new ones on the market) and getting to know a few more than 10 might be a good idea 🙂 you don’t HAVE TO, but that’s my advice!


  11. Hi again,
    Thank you for your suggestions. The surfactant ( Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate ) you’ve suggested is the one that I can’t buy it here unless I buy 200 kilos. I will buy it when it is available, but I’ve bought some new ingredients to experiment on.
    I have some questions about inulin. Does inulin thickens surfactants because when I added 1g of inulin to my formula, the mixture got thicker. Can I add more and reduce the salt? What it does to hair other than detangling? Does this work for any types of hair ? I mean doesn’t make fine hair miserable. 🙂
    Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s