Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cationic quaternary compounds: Incroquat CR

As I've been writing these posts on conditioner, I realize I've left out Incroquat CR as a great option for making very basic conditioners without oils and silicones. Incroquat CR is a cationic quaternary compound, like BTMS and cetab, but it won't emulsify much on its own. (The manufacturers claim it is an emulsifying system, but if it is, it's not a good one. I can't get it to emulsify 2% oils and 4% silicones without separating!)

The CR is supposed to stand for "creme rinse" (do you remember that phrase?) and it is for making quick and easy conditioners without a ton of ingredients that don't need emulsifying, like silicones or oils.

Incroquat CR (INCI: Cetearyl Alcohol (and) PEG-40 Castor Oil (and) Stearalkonium Chloride) contains the cationic quaternary stearalkonium chloride (15% of the product), a fatty alcohol - cetearyl alcohol - and an ester - the peg 40 castor oil. Incroquat CR does not contain a humectant, so I'd suggest including one when you use it as the only conditioning agent in a conditioner. It is a good detangler and a good anti-static product.

Stearalkonium chloride is a good conditioning agent, but it's simply not as good as our other options. It has 18 carbon atoms, which means it is a long chain compound, but it simply isn't as effective as cetab or BTMS in reducing combing forces or friction. This doesn't mean you can't make a nice conditioner out of it.

On its own, Incroquat CR is a good detangler, good anti-static, and great softener. It would make a good conditioner for normal or oily hair. Try coupling it with another cationic quaternary compound...
  • With cetrimonium chloride - great detangling, good anti-static, good conditioning features. A good conditioner for normal or oily hair.
  • With cetab - good detangling, good anti-static, good conditioning features. A great conditioner for people with really damaged hair.
  • With BTMS - good detangling, good anti-static, great conditioning features. A good conditioner for most hair types.
When formulating with it, remember that if you add 1% CR, you'll have 0.15% stearalkonium chloride. So we need to use quite a bit to get some decent conditioning. I would recommend starting at 7% to get 1% stearalkonium chloride.

You don't want to add a ton of oils or silicones a conditioner with an Incroquat CR base - try to use water soluble only ingredients. Yes, it's supposed to emuslify, but I found that even 4% silicones will separate eventually. You can use 1% fragrance or essential oils without problem.

I really like using the Incroquat CR in solid conditioners. It is cheaper than the BTMS, so it can add some bulk to the product, and it is a great anti-static addition. Please check out the recipe here.

7% Incroquat CR
3% humectant - glycerin, propylene glycol
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative (Tinosan is not an option here...)
water to 100%

If you want some oils in here, you could use up to 4% water soluble esters like peg 7 olivate. You can try regular oils, but there is the risk of separation.

Weigh the Incroquat CR, water, humectant, and protein into a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. Heat and hold for 20 minutes. (You can boil the distilled water first, then add it to the solid ingredients. This will melt the CR pastilles faster). Remove from the heat and allow to cool. When the mixture has reached 45C, add the panthenol, fragrance or essential oil, and preservative. Package.

As with the conditioner bar, I like to mix Incroquat CR and Incroquat BTMS or cetab together so I can emulsify my silicones.

3.5% BTMS or cetab
7% Incroquat CR
3% humectant (leave out if you're using BTMS)
2% hydrolyzed protein
5% oil of choice (optional)
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative of choice
water to 100%

Follow directions above. Include the oil in the heat and hold phase. Add the silicones after the mixture has cooled to 45C. This will be a thick conditioner, probably more suitable for a jar than a bottle.

In the above recipe, you'll have about 1% stearalkonium chloride and 1.75% behetrimonium methosulfate or about 1% cetrimonium bromide as conditioning agents. I've included a humectant as we don't have one in the cetab or CR. If you are using BTMS in this recipe, leave the humectant out as we've got enough.

Join me tomorrow for adding slip or glide with oils and butters!


Mich said...

Cool beans! My hair likes Stearalkonium.

So, the next logical question in my head is: what about another cationic conditioner: Incroquat OSC? (INCI: Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-3 Distearoylamidoethylmonium Methosulfate, Polysorbate 60.) Specifically, does the PEG help it have any interesting qualities that would make this a better choice for some applications?

I hope I don't drive you crazy with all these questions! (You did make the mistake of asking us to tell you what we wanted to know!)

As always, thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I love the questions - it spurs me to do research, learn more, and work on topics I might not have researched. So thanks!

I'll write up a post tomorrow morning with some links to Incroquat OSC. I'm afraid I don't know much about it, but I'll do my research and get some stuff together.

My initial impression is that it's a dialkyl quat that is used much in the same way as Incroquat CR. I've found a few things on it, but it seems like it isn't a great emulsifying agent.

The PEG is a good thing - it means it is water soluble and it means that it is going to be moisturizing within a water soluble mixture, like a conditioner.

So look for the post tomorrow! And keep the questions coming!

Christine P said...

Yeep you are a whirling posting dervish! Thanks for all this great info, this is really a unique reference.

Anonymous said...

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Nancy Lindquist-Liedel said...

Oh my gosh. I love this site. I am starting a mineral makeup business and I've learned more in one day here, than in six months of tweaking, tiral and error. Thank you for making chemistry understandable, interesting and perfect for someone who wants to break into other areas of makeup, like lotions. You're the bee's knees!

Lynn said...

Hi, I was wondering if there are any negative side effects to Incroquat CR? Thanks.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lynn. I don't understand your question. Side effects in what way? Can you clarify the question?

Lynn said...

By side effects I just meant irritations to the scalp or if there any issues with longterm use to hair or skin?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Every ingredient we use has the potential to irritate somebody somewhere, but Incroquat CR is a fairly common ingredient that has been used long enough to determine there aren't any huge irritation problems for "normal" scalps. As for hair, it's washed out every time you shampoo, so there shouldn't be any build up or long term impact on your hair.

Here's the data bulletin if you want more information.

Almond & Avocado Natural Hair Stylist said...

Hi Susan,
I hope you're still monitoring this post. I have been searching for ages and cannot find Incroquat CR (or a blend matching its INCI) anywhere in the UK, nor have I found a Canadian/US supplier willing to ship without requiring a second mortgage!

Is there a way we can create this ourselves? I have found Peg40 castor oil, the cetearyl alchohol and the stearalkonium chloride as separate ingredients - could we attempt to replicate the Incroquat CR or is this illegal?

Hope to hear from you soon and thanks as always for the invaluable information.

Almond & Avocado Natural Hair Stylist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Almond & Avocado. I deleted your post because it was a duplicate to keep things tidier around here. And I look at all my comments, regardless of how old the post might be (it's easier with the comment tracker in Blogger).

No, you can't make your own Incroquat CR - not because it's illegal, but because it's not really possible to get the ingredients and combine them in the right way. If you can find the stealkonium chloride on its own, adding any fatty alcohol will will boost the substantivity of the product.

Perhaps there's something else you could substitute for it, depending upon the application? If you can share a little about what you might use Incroquat CR in, we might be able to brain storm a few other ideas!

Bajan Lily said...

HI there and thanks for responding so quickly. I wanted to make a conditioner (rinse out not leave in) and the Incroquat CR looked better than just using BTMS 50 for giving nice slip and moisture. I do have cetac: can I replicate your recipe above using that instead? Or would polyquat 7 be a better substitute?

Ps sorry about the duplicate post, I did it from my phone and think I hit the button twice !

andrea said...

what is the difference between incroquat cr and plain stearalkonium chloride WSP site(Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Stearalkonium Chloride). Which is better? Thanks.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Andrea. The difference is the inclusion of the cetearyl alcohol. Fatty alcohols boost the conditioning power of the cationic quaternary compound by about 50%, and it offers more thickening than the product without it.