Saturday, October 10, 2009

Conditioner bars - a visual tutorial

I love conditioner bars, and I thought I'd share this visual tutorial for making them with you while I write some lotion posts! If you want to follow along, please check out the conditioner bar or shaving bar recipes!

60% Incroquat BTMS
10% cetyl alcohol (you can use stearic if you want a harder bar, but it's going to be draggy!)
10% butter of your choice - preferably 5% cocoa butter plus 5% something else
5% oils of your choice
3% condition-eze 7, honeyquat, or other cationic polymer
2% hydrolyzed protein (I'm using cromoist)

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
2% cetrimonium chloride
2% fragrance or essential oil (I'm using my oily hair blend of equal parts cedarwood, sage, rosemary, and lime)

For this recipe, I'm using about 20% Incroquat CR (10% removed from BTMS - and I only used 5% orange butter and didn't use any oils). I'm using condtion-eze 7 in this. I multiplied this recipe by 10 to make 10 bars, so this is quite a large batch!

Melt the BTMS, cetyl alcohol, butter, oils, hydrolyzed protein, and condition-eze 7 in a container. You can see the layers with the butter on top! So pretty!

Put into your double boiler and allow to melt. This might take a while - I'd say at least 30 minutes, but probably closer to 45 - so you might want to get your molds ready and ensure you have space in your freezer for your bars! I like to get my cool down ingredients together in a metal or glass container - don't use a plastic cup as your fragrance or essential oil can eat through it! - so I can clean up the workshop a little.

I use this fondue pot, which I set to about 300F to heat up, then turn to about 200F or warm when I'm actually melting ingredients. You don't want it to be boiling because this can cause your Pyrex to break (over time, not immediately) or water can jump out of the pot into your creation, and this is not a good thing!

This is what it will look like when it has melted. You'll notice the white around the sides of the Pyrex jug. This the stuff that has re-hardened because my workshop was a little cool last week. You can scrape it off the sides and add it to the Pyrex jug if you're going to continue heating it.

Ideally, you'd have the water in the double boiler up higher - I just forgot to put more in as it evaporated! This will keep your ingredients from cooling around the sides.

When it reaches this point, you're ready to remove it from the double boiler and add your cool down ingredients.

Pour the liquids into a mold and put into the freezer or fridge as soon as you can. I like to leave them in the freezer for at least an hour - preferably longer - and in the fridge for about 2 hours or so. When they have cooled, pop them out of the mold and leave them to cure for at least 24 hours before using. I find they last longer this way!

You'll notice the little divot in the back of the bars. This is normal. I've tried leaving batches out on the counter to cool, in the fridge, and in the freezer and they all get this little dip. It won't affect the product, but if you don't like it, I'm sure you could put another layer of conditioner on top of it - I don't bother doing that.

I did a little experiment and left one mold on the counter, the other in the freezer. The one from the freezer was harder and shinier (although, ironically, in this picture the one on the right - the counter one - is shinier because the flash hit it!) and stayed that way over time.

If you've ever made chocolate, you'll know what I mean about the shine. When you cool chocolate quickly, it gets lovely and shiny; when you leave it on the counter, it looks dull. (This has to do with the various fats and oils cooling down)

The one from the freezer also froze uniformly, so the top was smooth. The one on the counter had little pits in it because some parts of it cooled more quickly than other parts.

If you don't have a nice big freezer, use your fridge. If some reason you can't use your fridge, then leave your bars on the counter. Expect to wait at least 12 hours for complete cooling - I know, I was shocked when they were still warm to the touch later that night! - and then leave for 24 hours before using!

Hope you enjoy your conditioner or shaving bars! (They make great presents for Christmas, and you don't need bottles or jars, which saves money!)


Nathalie said...

Thank you for this visual tutorial, i cant wait to receive all my ingredients and make this :)

Esmée said...

Since I'm reading your blog, my Incroquat is going soooo fast!

Need to order, before Xmas! ;)

Josee said...

This is a great tutorial ,thank you. Can you tell me where i can buy Cetrimonium Chloride . I live in Canada.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

You can't buy cetrimonium chloride in Canada - only in the States at the Personal Formulator and in Australia at New Directions Aromatics. Fortunately, the shipping for the Personal Formulator is pretty decent, so it's not too expensive!

Helen said...

You mentioned that you used 20% incroquat CR-- 10% removed from the icroquat BTMS. Does this mean you used 20% incroquat CR and 50% incroquat BTMS?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Helen. Yep, I used 50% BTMS, 20% Incroquat CR, with 5% butter and no oils. I like how Incroquat CR feels on my hair - it's a great softening ingredient (for my hair, not the bar) and an anti-static ingredient!

I wasn't real clear, there, eh?

Helen said...

Ooookay...I must be missing something..the percents don't seem to add up to 100%

I'm missing 2% somewhere!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Helene. Yep, my math only goes to 98% for some reason. Oh, I left out cyclomethicone! I've updated the recipe to include it!

Caitlin said...

Would there be any way to modify this recipe to be silicone free?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

You can leave the silicones out of any of the recipes on this blog for conditioner and either increase the water or use a silicone substitute (click here for that post).

Anonymous said...

thank you soooo much! can't wait to try it!! do you happen to have a companion shampoo bar recipe as well?? that would be PERFECT :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

If you do a search for "shampoo bar" or if you click on the Links to Lists on the right, you'll see an entire page devoted to hair care products, including a few variations on the shampoo bar. I hope you enjoy it - my hair isn't happy without my shampoo and conditioner bars!

kat_herts said...

i cant get cetrimonium chloride...what could i substitute? i am desperate to make this lovely recipe!

kat_herts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kat_herts said...

also cant get Incroquant CR...

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi kat_herts! I'll try to answer all your comments in one here. If you don't have cetrimonium chloride, you can leave it out. If you don't have Incroquat CR, you can make this recipe with all BTMS. I use the CR because it's cheaper and it adds some nice anti-static and softening properties, as well as some detangling. If you don't have dimethicone, here are a few ideas for silicone substitutes (and there are more in my recent posts on esters), but I doubt you'll have those either. Just leave the dimethicone out and use the normal amount of cyclomethicone. Cyclomethicone is not a substitute for dimethicone - they are very different things.

Have fun playing!

Evelyn said...

Hi Susan, Does this require a preservative because of the proteins?

Nicole said...

Hi, are conditioner bars suppose to be soft or hard? I made one following your recipe and used cocoa butter for the butter and avocado oil for the oil. It ended up staying on the counter because I forgot the freezer/fridge step. It is solid and holds its own shape, but you can indent it like a ripe avocado. How hard is it suppose to be?


Kelley Spartiatis said...

Hi, I keep finding my way to your site whenever I'm researching recipes. It seems to me that you are the most consistent out there. Your information and recipes are for real products and not just 12 year old diy recipes.
This is the only recipe I've seen for a conditioner bar that isn't just a load of butters and oil melted then set up again. I was never inclined to make one because it would just make my hair heavy and greasy. Now I will try it with this recipe. It makes sense now.
So, the point of my comment was to thank you for all the information:)

Jill Gatwood said...

Hi Susan,
I've been making your hair conditioner bar and have a few questions.

1. In a double boiler (with the water high), it seems to melt but still have a white crust over the top. Will that layer finally dissolve if I just let it continue to heat? It doesn't seem like it wants to melt. If I stir it while it's on the heat, that white layer forms on my stirring spatula too, which I just scrape back into the pot. But I'm concerned that it never looks like the picture on your tutorial.

2. Is it possible to use the microwave instead of a double boiler, or is that too hot?

3. Should I let the heated ingredients cool down some before I add the cool ingredients? If so, at what temp should I mix them?

4. And just to clarify... BTMS-25 works okay as a sub for BTMS-50 in this recipe? And I don't have to adjust the cetyl alcohol?


Vaiva said...

I know this is an old post, let's hope the comments are still being answered :)
I was wondering what is the reason that the solid conditioner falls in in the middle just like in your picture? Happens to me everytime. I try to make nice shapes and all of them have this dent on the bottom. How can one avoid it?
Another question is, is it a good idea to use chamomile CO2 extract in solid conditioner and in what percentage?
Thanks a lot!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi everyone! Thanks for your patience as I work through the comments. I've written in more detail in Monday, June 10th's Weekday Wondering, so I'll encourage you to check out that post for more information. Hope I've answered your questions!

There are no old posts. I see the comments on all of them. It's just taking me some time to get through them all as I'm months behind.