Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cationic quaternary compounds: Cetrimonium bromide

Cetrimonium bromide is a cationic quaternary compound used a lot as the base of commercial conditioners. (It doesn't seem to be popular with home crafters). Where as BTMS is behentrimonium methosulfate - an ammonium salt of methosulfate - with cetyl alcohol, cetrimonium bromide is a bromide salt with cetearyl alcohol. What's the difference?

BTMS has 22 carbon atoms on the chain; cetrimonium bromide has 16 carbon atoms. (Remember...the longer the carbon chain, the more hydrophobic the conditioner. The more hydrophobic, the more likely it will be to adsorb to your hair strand.) So cetrimonium bromide is not as lubricating as BTMS and not as effective as reducing combing forces or friction. It is, however, capable of being absorbed by the cortex when you have holes in the cuticle of your hair, and it adsorbs well to the hair strand. (And, interestingly enough, works as an anti-septic, so it might have some use as an emulsifier for lotions targeting specific skin conditions.) The cetearyl alcohol in the cetrimonium bromide is used to increase substantivity, reduce the combing forces, and reduce friction between hair strands.

Cetab, as it is often called, has about 27 to 29% active cetrimonium bromide with the rest being cetearyl alcohol. You'll notice it's lacking a humectant - I find it feels a little dry with a little less slip compared to BTMS, although this could be due to the shorter carbon chain.

Having said this, because it can actually be absorbed by the cortex, cetab is a fantastic conditioner for really damaged hair that has holes in the cuticle. If you have really damaged hair, consider trying the recipe below with only cetab, or try the version with BTMS and cetab. (As a note, the only place I've found cetrimonium bromide is at the Personal Formulator. If you have other suggestions, please let me know!)

For this series of posts, this is going to be the basic recipe from which we'll work...You can use your preferred recipe and add and remove what you like if you want to modify that instead. (Click here for the original post on conditioners to see some variations!)

BASIC HAIR CONDITIONER WITH CETRIMONIUM BROMIDE
7% cetrimonium bromide
.5% preservative
2% cromoist
2% panthenol
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone - for the soft feeling, not de-frizzing
1% fragrance or essential oils
water to 100%

Weigh out the cetrimonium bromide and cromoist into a container. Boil some distilled water, then add it to this container. Heat and hold in a double boiler for at least 20 minutes and ensure all the cetrimonium bromide has melted well. When the mixture reaches 45C, add the panthenol, dimethicone, cyclomethicone, fragrance, and preservative. If you don't like silicones, then leave them out and add 4% more water.

MODIFICATIONS OF NORMAL HAIR CONDITIONER WITH CETRIMONIUM BROMIDE
3% BTMS
3% cetrimonium bromide
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% panthenol
2% cyclomethicone (optional)
2% dimethicone (optional)
1% fragrance or essential oils
0.5% to 1% preservative of choice
water to 100%

Weigh the BTMS, cetrimonium bromide, hydrolyzed protein, and water into a heat proof container. (As a note, if you boil the water first, then add it, you are going to melt the ingredients pretty much right away, but please still heat and hold!) When the mixture cools to 45C, add your preservative, panthenol, and fragrance oil. Package, use, rejoice. (This may need to be packaged in a jar or malibu because it is going to be thick!!!)

Please join me on Wednesday for some information on cetrimonium chloride!

17 comments:

Mich said...

Hi! Great blog, but now I'm confused!?!?
I read on the 'Dish that cetab and BTMS don't play well together and leads to separation.
Does it depend on proportions? Is there a ratio you wouldn't go over?

Fascinating stuff! Thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I think I might have been the one to post on the Dish that they won't play well together - they won't. They're okay together in a liquid conditioner with 5 to 7% cetab, but in a leave in conditioner when you have 1 to 2% cetab, you might get separation. I have no idea why this might be - I have done my research and have come up with nothing.

Mich said...

And may I note that your 'Dish posts are among the very finest over there?

That is odd about the separation. I did a quick look-see at the commercial conditioners in our bathrooms, and one did contain both BTMS (way high on the list) and cetrimonium bromide (way low on the list). But there was so much other stuff, who knows what sort of co-emulsification is going on there.

Thanks for taking the time to answer!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Pearlyn wrote to me asking...
I decided to add both Cetrimonium Bromide & Cetrimonium Chloride into my leave in hair conditioner how many percent of each do i add?

Can Trimethylsilylamodimethicone replace silicone to be added into the formula? if so, how much to add in? it says recommended rate is 0.5 to 2% though..


My answer...
You can add as much or as little cetrimonium bromide as you would like. As you already have 6.5% BTMS in your original recipe, you don't want a ton of cetab in your conditioner - especially in a leave in conditioner. Try 3% and work your way up from there.

As for cetrimonium chloride (click for the post here), I use 2% maximum in any of my conditioning products. That seems like a good place to start.

If you look at Mich's question above, you are likely to see some separation of your product if you are mixing BTMS, cetac, and cetab, so prepare for that.

The other ingredient - trimethylsilylamodimethicone- is a silicone, a type of dimethicone, not a silicone replacement. Here's a bit of information on it...

Trimethylsilylamodimethicone may be used to prepare clear shampoo. It is available as a microemulsion with octoxynol-40, isolaureth-6 and glycerine and is readily dispersed in aqueous systems including shampoos and pump-spray conditioning mists.

If it is suggested to use it at 0.5% to 2%, try it at 0.5% and see if you like it. If you do, then add a little more. I always suggest starting at the lowest level and working your way up. I have never used this ingredient, so you'll have to do some research to see if it's something you want to include. Find out if if this microemulsion type.

pearlyn said...

i've decided to lower my oils & butter so my btms-50 is only 5%. in this case, my cetab still maintains at 3% or higher?

cetab & cetac are meant to be put water phase at 70C or cooling phase (after combining both oil & water phase together, temp at 45C)?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

You can use cetab from 0.5% to 10% or so, if you want, but I suggested using 3% because that seems like a nice amount when combined with the BTMS.

As for when to add it, cetab is a solid, so it needs to be put into the oil phase and heated up with the rest of the oils. Cetac should be added to the heated phase as well. (I admit I have used it once or twice in the cool down phase, but that's when I've found more separation!)

Please check out this post on cetac before using it. It should answer all your questions.

Aljonor said...

Hey Susan:

I know that this is an old post. But I have a question. I recently purchased the Behentrimonium choride with ethyl alcohol in it because it says that it penetrates and substantiates the hair shaft. I tried it and like it however, after three uses, my scalp felt irritated. I looked up the ethyl alcohol and found out that it was a drying ingredient which can cause irritation. My question is this: How can I compare this to bromide, is this product better than bromide? I tried to find its breakdown, but could not only this pdf file. http://www.makingcosmetics.com/msds1/msds-behentrimonium.pdf

I have decided to try your version with bromide and BTMS. I wanted to know what you think. Thanks

Erin said...

Hello Susan!
This is the best conditioner that my fine hair has ever used! My only issue is that the resulting mix was very foamy and thin. I used first recipe, heated and held adding 2 percent cetac and substituting extra water for the cyclomethicone. Any guesses as to what I did wrong?

Jasmine said...

For the United Kingdom and Euopean readers the only place in the Uk/Europe I found cetrimonium bromide at is mistralni.co.uk. I emailed them about cetrimonium bromide and they said it was 100% active and they put it in the water phase. There is no fatty alcohol like in incroquat cr the usa version so you have to add cetyl alcohol, ect. You can email them to ask about cetrimonium bromide, ect. Im not affiliated with mistralni. I'm just a home crafter that just trying to share information on where to get supplies for the Uk/Europe.

Jasmine said...

I made a mistake I meant to say there is no fatty alcohol in mistralni.co.uk cetrimonium bromide like the cetrimonium bromide you get in the usa because it 100% active. I accidentally said incroquat cr instead of cetrimonim bromide. Cetrimonium bromide in the usa is 27-29% active and Mistralni.co.uk cetrimonium bromide is 100% active.

Patrice Harris said...

Hi my name is Dawn. I'm trying to start my own cosmetics line with hair products. Starting slowly from home of course, I came across your sight, and may I say I find your sight to be the most effective when it comes to learning different formulas for my African American 4c kinky/coily hair. My question is; their any way your formulas can be broken down in simpler english. I mean. I want to make my own whipped shea butter for my hair, conditionr, detangling spray etc. Please help

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Patrice. If you want to be a formulator, you'll have to learn the right terms so you can buy your ingredients. Otherwise, you'll be buying the wrong things or too much of the same thing! As for whipped Shea butter, if you do a search of the blog, you'll see loads of recipes for something like that! But that isn't necessarily a hair care product...

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan
I love your blog.
I was looking everywhere for Cetro. Bromide, Where can I find some? Also do you know who would have steartrimonium bromide by any chance? Thanks
:)
April

chamane said...

first, you have forgotten on the list of european supppliers the most important: aroma-zone.com (france)
and i dont use cationics surfactants for making my conditionners-detanglers
i use babassuipropyl betaine or stearamidopropyl methyldiethylamine added with acid (lactic or vinegar) and a little table oil

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan!

I have a quick question about Cetab separation. I made a leave in condition for my roommate who is Black with relaxed hair. I wanted to use Cetab because it absorbs in damaged hair. I made a solution with
Water Phase
Water
3% Cetab powder
3% Silk Amino Acid
3% B5
2 Glycerin
Oil Phase
1% Rosehip oil
Cool Down
2% Silicone mix
1% Vanillmere fragrance.

Well there's a mix creamy layer on the top and a mix grey layer on the below that haha! When we shake it the layers mix and make a nice cream colored solution, but it doesn't stay like that. I started out with 3% as this was just an experiment, but should I have added Cetab at 7% instead? She likes the way it makes her hair feel regardless and wants me to make more. But the separation is ugly. Thank you every you do here Susan. I literally stalk your blog and sit for HOURS on my computer just reading. You've inspired my fascination with formulating and I thank you because it's friggin awesome! When things go right any way.

As an aside: I learned the hard way never to use Neem oil in a product. My apartment stunk for hours and so does the product lol.


Warmest Alhoa,
Dev

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan!

I have a quick question about Cetab separation. I made a leave in condition for my roommate who is Black with relaxed hair. I wanted to use Cetab because it absorbs in damaged hair. I made a solution with
Water Phase
Water
3% Cetab powder
3% Silk Amino Acid
3% B5
2% Glycerin
Oil Phase
1% Rosehip oil
Cool Down
2% Silicone mix
1% Vanillmere fragrance.

Well there's a nice creamy layer on top of a nice grey layer of water haha! When we shake it the layers mix and make a nice cream colored solution, but it doesn't stay like that for long. I started out with 3% as this was just an experiment, but should I have added Cetab at 7% instead? She likes the way it makes her hair feel regardless and wants me to make more, however, the separation is ugly. Thank you for every you do here Susan. I literally stalk your blog and sit for HOURS on my computer just reading. You've inspired my fascination with formulating and I thank you because it's friggin awesome...When things go right any way.

As an aside: I learned the hard way never to use Neem oil in a product. My apartment stunk for hours and so does the product lol.


Warmest Aloha,
Dev

Anonymous said...

Susan,

I actually used 2% Cetab not 3%!


Aloha,
Dev