Monday, May 11, 2009

Dimethicone in hair care products

I've finally converted Raymond to the joys of using dimethicone for shinier, softer, more manageable hair that won't frizz out during Easter egg decorating contests!

Dimethicone is an awesome inclusion in your hair care products at about 2% or so. Why add it? It is a great conditioning agent to add to shampoos and conditioners, offering...
  • humidity resistance
  • reduced static electricity (so no fly-aways!)
  • good wet and dry combing
  • heat resistance
  • film former
  • lubricity and shine
  • improved feel and softness to hair
...all of which we love in a hair care product!

How does it do this? It forms a film over the strand of hair, trapping in the good stuff. But it's a permeable film, allowing water vapour and other gases to pass through, so you are allowing your hair to "breathe" (yeah, weird concept, hair breathing, but this is what other people call it and it gets the point across, so I'm using the word). It reduces the combing force required to comb out your hair when it's both wet and dry, which means you aren't having to work so hard to get a brush through, so you are damaging your hair less and finding less falling out! And you'll find your hair is less staticky because of those films...so the short answer should be - it forms a film on your hair and that's an awesome thing indeed!

How do you use dimethicone? It's easy to add dimethicone to shampoos, conditioners, and leave in conditioners - just add at up to 2% in your cool down phase. You can get away with adding 2% to a shampoo without an emulsifier, but it will reduce the foam and lather a bit (believe me, it's not much) and your conditioner and leave in conditioner already contain emulsifiers, so there's no worry there. My beloved anti-frizz spray is all about the silicones, so you can use that to your heart's content to get the benefits of dimethicone for your fly-away, frizzy hair! (As a note, if you want to add 1000 c.s. dimethicone to the anti-frizz spray, you will get something thicker!)

Dimethicone is one of the main ingredients in the 2 in 1 shampoo concept. The dimethicone is added to behave as a conditioner, coating the cuticle of the hair and reduces combing forces and imparts a soft feel to your hair.

(And to answer the question in advance...yes, silicones coat your hair, but they wash off the next time you shampoo. Over time, you aren't going to get some icky build up or waxy film if you are washing your hair regularly!)

So let's make a 2 in 1 shampoo! We're adding the glycol distearate as a conditioning agent that will offer "oil free" moisturizing to your hair (like cetyl alcohol will with a conditioner). We're also adding a lovely cationic polymer (honeyquat or condition-eze 7) to increase the conditioning. If you have celquat H-100, I'd suggest adding it at 0.5% to your heat phase because it needs to be dissolved and dispersed.

You'll notice we're not using Crothix in this recipe. The glycol distearate will provide our thickening for us. Having said that, some fragrance oils will thin the glycol distearate out (for instance, black raspberry vanilla), so you can add up to 2% Crothix when the mixture has cooled - I'd leave it to the next day to be on the safe side!

SHAMPOO RECIPE (find the original here)
OILY HAIR BASE
15% Bioterge 804
15% DLS Mild or LSB

DRY HAIR BASE
30% BSB

NORMAL HAIR BASE
15% SLeS
15% BSB or LSB

HEATED PHASE - FOR ALL HAIR TYPES
46% water
10% Amphosol CG (coco betaine)
3% glycerin
2% glycol distearate (known as EZ Pearl at Voyageur)
2% hydrolyzed oat protein (or other hydrolyzed protein you like!)

COOL DOWN PHASE
2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
1% condition-eze 7 or other cationic polymer (honeyquat, celquat, and so on)
1% essential or fragrance oils
0.5% Germall Plus or 1.0% Germaben II or other preservative at suggested levels of use
Colour, if desired

Put all your surfactants and heat phase ingredients into a large container and heat in a double boiler. Add your glycol distearate and let it melt. This is going to take some time, so be patient. When this has melted, mix very well and let cool to 45C. Then add the cool down phase ingredients.

This mixture is going to be pearly and very pretty. You can leave it as is, but I really like to put a little colour in it to show off the pearli-ness!

Join me tomorrow for fun with dimethicone in body care products!

10 comments:

Motherhues said...

Hello!
it's me, Selena again, I STILL haven't made my conditioner, lol. But now I am looking at this and wondering if I could add cetrimonium chloride to this for better conditioning? Or do you think it would mess up the odd blance of 2 in 1? I guess the only way to find out is to DO it, but I would love your expert opinion ;)
THANK YOU!
Selena
eagerly awaiting the pdf ;)

SwiftCraftyMonkey said...

Hi Selena. I wouldn't include cetrimonium chloride in a 2 in 1. It's a cationic quaternary compound - cationic quat - and those do not play well with surfactants. You can use the cationic polymers - honeyquat, condition-eze 7, cationic guar - but not the compounds in a shampoo. It would be like using BTMS in a shampoo, which is not a good idea!

Get making that conditioner! Once you make your own, you'll never go back to store bought again!

Anonymous said...

Dimethicone is terrible for our water... it isn't biodegradable, and responsible hair care companies are omitting it from their hair care products. Why not try natural conditioners? Google "no poo" (as in no shampoo) and you'll find dozens of recipes for homemade hair cleaners and conditioners that do a better job on your hair, are better for the environment, are cheaper, and aren't carcinogens to boot!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I'm sorry you chose to be anonymous rather than giving me a link to which I could send my questions...so I'll post them here...

Can you please offer some links or references to reliable sources for your statements? Please note, I do not consider Cosmetics Database a reliable source...) Please define "responsible" and why they would be considered "responsible". Which natural companies are leaving silicones out of their products?

Could you please define what you mean by "natural"? What do you consider a natural conditioner? What do you consider cheaper than making your own shampoo or conditioner? What do you consider better for the environment? Which ingredients are you claiming are carcinogenic and can you provide some reliable studies to demonstrate this?

I can refer you to my sources here - Impact of Silicones. I do have more if you are interested...

Anonymous said...

Dimethicone is NOT water soluble so it does build up in the hair. It does not simply wash out the next time.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Dimethicone is not water soluble - this is true - but that doesn't mean it builds up in our hair. Like oils - all natural, so I guess that means they're good - they wash out when we use a proper shampoo.

I'd like to learn more about your perspective. Can you please provide me with links to reliable sources for your information?

Anonymous said...

I've only just started making shampoo and conditioner, my first few I tried the 'natural' approach with no silicones but soon found that most of my favorite hair products are full of them. I just couldn't get my shampoo to make my hair feel the same way without using dimethicone and I will probably never make haircare again without them.

Chris Carney said...

Hello!
Is there a way to incorporate dimethicone with water? If you add it to a cetearyl / btms-50 and water base? Thank you in advance,
Chris

MAM said...

Hi,
Can you please tell me the basic recipe of hair conditioner?

Also, what is the ratio of methylparaben when making 5 Liter shampoo?

Regards,
MAM

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi MAM! Please visit the hair care section for my recipes. And you would have to ask the manufacturer what they suggest.