Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Substitutions: What to use when you can't wait to create!


You've been looking forward to having the house to yourself for a few hours on Saturday morning, and the workshop beckons! ARGH! I'm out of something essential (for me, it's usually aloe vera). Substitution to the rescue!

I have BTMS-25 not BTMS-50 and I want to make a liquid conditioner!

BTMS is INCI Name: Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol.
BTMS-50 is INCI Name: Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetyl Alcohol (and) Butylene Glycol. This is the one I refer to as "Incroquat BTMS" in my recipese

The key difference is the amount of behentrimonium methosulfate - the cationic quat. It's about 25% in BTMS and 50% in BTMS 50. Which means you are going to increase the amount of BTMS you use in a recipe to get the same conditioning level.

You'll want to modify your liquid conditioner this way...
  • add cetyl alcohol to the BTMS at 25% the amount of BTMS (normally you'd add 50% to match the amount of cationic quat);
  • up the amount of BTMS in a recipe. If you want 6%, you'll want to increase that amount by 50% to ensure you have enough cationic quat to 9%; and
  • add a humectant like glycerin or something else to compensate for the lack of butylene glycol. (If you are adding honeyquat, you've got another humectant in there.)

For a solid conditioner, you're fine with just using the BTMS-25 as per the recipe.

I want to make a conditioner, but I don't have cetrimonium chloride.

Leave it out. I know of one place to get it - The Personal Formulator. If you don't have access to this ingredient, try a conditioner without it. Just because I love it doesn't mean you will!

I want to make a lotion, but I'm out of emulsifying wax!

Then use BTMS at the same amount. It is going to make your lotion less greasy and more powdery, but perhaps you like it that way! Or take this as an opportunity to learn more about the HLB system and come up with your own emulsifying system!

I'm dying to make a lotion or cream, but I'm out of stearic acid!

Then substitute cetyl alcohol or vice versa. (I will have more about these two ingredients in the next little while...) Although these products are not the same, they serve the pretty much same function. They thicken your lotion and provide some co-emulsifying. The end feel is different - I liken my body butter with stearic acid to whipped butter, with cetyl alcohol to Cool Whip - but you'll get all the thickening you need from either. I find the stearic acid can be a bit draggy on my skin, but I love the way it keeps cream on my feet and elbows.

I'm out of glycerin!

Try another humectant. Unless glycerin is vital to the chemistry of the recipe - and I can't think of one off the top of my head - then you have a world of humectants waiting to be used! Hydrovance, sodium lactate, olive oil, honeyquat - you'll never know if you like them if you don't try them!

I know I keep harping on and on about knowing your end goal and your ingredients but it gives us more freedom to play when we can substitute on the fly. When you get a new oil or butter, try it neat on your arm. How does it feel? Greasy, glidy, dry, silky, heavy, light, occlusive? Write down your thoughts so you can switch out the oils to suit your needs. Try your favourite lotion with another humectant or cationic polymer, or make a body wash with other surfactants. You may hate the new creation or it may become your new Saturday night thing. I was incredibly surprised to learn my hair hated silk protein, love oat protein, and was fairly indifferent to soy protein!

It doesn't serve us well to grow too dependent upon an ingredient or blend from a company as they might discontinue it and we'll be searching everywhere to find it! Anyone remember Croda's threat to stop selling to the public? We'd lose Incroquat CR, Incroquat BTMS, Polawax and more! It didn't come to pass, but I took it as a call to learn more about the HLB system! (Although I have yet to find a substitute for BTMS. I did try cetrimonium bromide as my primary cationic, and it was okay but not great!)

Always know the INCI of the product you are purchasing: A lot of suppliers change the name of the ingredient and you can get it elsewhere. And if you can't, then figure out what it brings to the recipe and put together something else.

What ingredients are you lacking? Post 'em here and we'll brain storm some substitutions.

16 comments:

France said...

Yehaaaw!!! What an amazing post!!!

Row said...

This is excellent. Thanks

Debora said...

I loved reading this post. It's good to know there are options incase we run out of a product or in my case couldn't find it.

I bought some ingredients for making conditioner and was wondering if I can sub them for the ingredients in the basic conditioner (everyday use)

Heres what I bought
cetyl alcohol
silk amino acids
Phytokeratin Protein Blend
vital hair and scalp complex

I have blonde, long-ish 50 year old hair (well it's not 50 but I am) that gets blown dry, flat ironed and gooped up with styling products at least 4 times a week. . .

If there was a different/better place to post this I apologize.

Thank you for your time, expertice and commitment to helping us stay beautiful in a healthy way. . .

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Debora. You can use all these ingredients in your conditioner. Have you checked out the hair care section of the blog or the bath & body ingredients list as I have posts on each of these ingredients (except the Vital Hair Complex - just follow the directions from your supplier). Check out the hair care link and see all the conditioner recipes there as you're bound to find a recipe with these ingredients! Have fun!

Nedeia said...

Hi Susan!

I currently have *some* BTMS-50, but I might be out if it quite soon. I do have BTMS-25 , but it's not too clear how to substitute them

In the post you write:


You'll want to modify your liquid conditioner this way...
- add cetyl alcohol to the BTMS at 25% the amount of BTMS (normally you'd add 50% to match the amount of cationic quat);
- up the amount of BTMS in a recipe. If you want 6%, you'll want to increase that amount by 50% to ensure you have enough cationic quat to 9%; and
- add a humectant like glycerin or something else to compensate for the lack of butylene glycol. (If you are adding honeyquat, you've got another humectant in there.)


For a recipe calling for 7% BTMS-50, I have to:
- add 7% BTMS-25
- add 1.75 % Cetyl Alcohol (that is 25% of 7%)
- add 3.5% BTMS-25 (half of 7% above)
- add glycerin.

It's not clear to me: do I have to add ALL of the above? Meaning I will have, in the end:

- 10.5% BTMS-50
- 1.75 cetyl Alcohol
- Glycerin

and that would make my conditioner as if I have used BTMS-50? I currently use 5% glycerin in my BTMS-50 formulations, so ... how much more should I add?

Do I have to modify the water percent too? I am using 4% oils in the recipe.

Sorry if my questions seems a little dumb at this point, but I want to make sure I am going to obtain almost the same conditioner. I have a friend who has tried all kind of conditioners on the market (also available only on beauty retreats) and it looks like my conditioner is the only one helping her.... so she asked me to make her a bunch of it :). I would hate to make something that would not work exactly like the first one I have made :)

Thanks for the patience and feedback :-)

Nedeia said...

Just a comment after my last one :)

I have increased the percent of BTMS-25 to 10.5%, as per my previous comment , but the balm is way too thick.... My recipe also calls for guar gum (0.75%), with 4% oils in it. How much could I lower the BTMS-25? :-)

Anonymous said...

Ah! Lovely post, I was wondering how to modify the recipes for BTMS-25!

YAY, can't wait to make my conditioner :D

Sarah

Storm Crow said...

Just wondering the same thing, Nedeia - I'm a bit confused too.

Now that I understand this stuff called "BTMS Conditioning Emulsifier" in Australia is merely BTMS-25, I'd love to understand the instructions better.

Although, upping the amount of BTMS-25 concerns me a bit, given that the creams and conditioners I've made with it are quite thick enough, if not somewhat 'draggy' (creams and lotions, not the conditioner).

Hopefully Susan will be able to return and clarify for us....*holds breath, crosses fingers and toes*.

Anonymous said...

Yes i'm wondering the same thing , if susan can clarify in total how much btms 25 we need in total, when substituting with cetyl alcohol

Anonymous said...

susan can you please clarify how much btms 25 to add and how much cetyl alcohol

Anonymous said...

Amazing claryfing useful post THANKYOU

Rocio said...

Hi Susan! I have the same question: can you please clarify how much btms 25 to add and how much cetyl alcohol??? I'm from Chile, and the only thing we can find in here is btms 25 :D

Love your site, is really amazing!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I've addressed the question about cetyl alcohol in this post, which will be posted on Sunday, June 16. In short, you want to use equal amounts cetyl alcohol to behentrimonium methosulfate. So if you have BTMS-25, in 4 grams of product you have 1 gram of behentrimonium methosulfate. Add cetyl alcohol in equal amounts to the behentrimonium methosulfate in the product. If you have 1 gram of behentrimonium methosulfate, you will use 1 gram of cetyl alcohol.

Please visit the post for more information!

Linda said...

I bought BTMS-25 by accident, when I thought I was getting BTMS-50. What would I need to do to use the BTMS-25 n a formula that gives amounts for e-wax?

Linda said...

Oops, I forgot to mention that I'm making lotion and body butter, not conditioner!

firegirl said...

Hi there,

I have bought some Gracefruit Softener EQF 65 which is Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride (and) Cetearyl Alcohol. It is meant to be similar to BTMS. Have you used it before?

Thanks
Anne