A recent approach in shampoo research has been to find a natural alternative for synthetic detergents that have deteriorative effects on hair follicles. The present study was aimed at the formulation of a completely herbal shampoo containing a natural foaming agent, in addition to having conditioning, antioxidant and antibacterial effects. These properties were achieved with a polyherbal combination consisting of the leaves of Salix babylonica L., Ziziphus spina-christi L. (Willd) and Glyccyrhiza glabra rhizomes. Z. spina-christi showed the best antioxidant activity (IC50, 39±0.15) while G. glabra methanolic extract had a high potency against Bacillus cereus and Candida albicans, with effects comparable to those of vancomycin and ketoconazole. These results correlated well with the high phenolic and flavonoid content of G. glabra and Z. spina-christi, as estimated by a colorimetric assay. Z. spina-christi also exhibited high copper, zinc and manganese content. The addition of Salix was associated with the keratolytic and possible antidandruff activity of this plant. HPLC/MS/MS analysis of S. babylonica and Z. spina-christi allowed tentative identification of twelve phytoconstituents in each, showing the predominance of flavonoid glycosides. Four formulations, consisting of the different plant extracts and a combination of the extracts, were prepared and evaluated for several physicochemical properties. The obtained results were compared with the results for a commercial herbal shampoo. The polyherbal shampoo formulation (F4) was selected as an optimized formulation because it exhibited high foam stability after 4 min, low wetting time (2 sec), surface tension reduction and comparable results for % solid content. The formulation (F4) was evaluated for its conditioning effects using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and blind touch tests. The results indicated that the formulated polyherbal shampoo had excellent conditioning and cleansing. Moreover, this formulation can be considered to be safe for consumers because no chemical components were used.
Keywords: Polyherbal shampoo; phenolics; minerals, antioxidant; antimicrobial; conditioning.