PEG Dimethicone in Shampoos


TONY O’LENICK1, DAVID ZHANG2                                                                 
1. Siltech LLC., Lawrenceville Ga.
2. Siltech Corporation, Toronto Canada


Within the group of what are called “Silicone polymers” are a large group of related polymers that have many different functionalities. One of the most interesting are a class of polymers that are “hybrid” or “organofunctional” polymers. It is this group of surface active polymers that have at least two functional groups that are not soluble in each other in pure form. These groups include silicone soluble, oil soluble, water soluble and fluoro-soluble. 

This article deals with a class of compounds with the INCI name of PEG/PPG dimethicone. They contain a hydrophilic group that allows for improves solubility. Within this group are compounds that are water soluble and non-ionic. These can be easily formulated into shampoos and other water-based products to provide surface tension reduction, foam and wet comb. Unlike cationic silicones, PEG dimethicone polymers are compatible with anionic surfactants and can easily improve the properties of simple shampoos.  This article deals with several classes of PEG dimethicone polymersd structures including, comb polymers, terminal polymers and star polymers.

Silicone polymers are chosen for formulations to fulfil a basic need that cannot be achieved using other chemistries. Silicone polymers have a handful of salient properties that make them valuable in formulations (1). These properties are outlined in Table 1. 


While it is true that silicones can provide the 7 attributes, it is highly unlikely that a single PEG dimethicone can provide ALL of the attributes. The formulator is challenged to look at the variety of materials available and to determine which of these attribute(s) are provided by a particular silicone polymer. Such an understanding will make development in the future easier once the structure/ function relationships are known.


Recently, silicone polymers have come under increased scrutiny.  One simpl ...