Monday, January 11, 2010

Conditioner consistency - a 30 second mystery!

I keep seeing things about my conditioner recipe being too thick at 7% (click here for the download, or just go through the blog to find the various recipes for conditioner...), and I couldn't quite understand it. It's just liquidy enough to squish out of a bottle and spread nicely, but not so liquidy that it feels like a leave in conditioner.

I re-formulated my liquid conditioner the other day to compensate for the very dry winter conditions we've been experiencing, and, as usual, shared it with my best friend. She wrote to me raving about the consistency - it's thinner but still feels substantive. Thinner? What? It's the same consistency I use all the time...or is it? I checked the little bit I have left in another bottle and it felt the same to me.

And then I got it! I don't usually include cetrimonium chloride in my best friend's version as her hair has generally been shorter and not very tangly. I need all the detangling I can get, so I always use 2% cetac in my conditioners, and 2% is just enough to thin out the 7% BTMS and 3% cetyl alcohol version of the conditioner! (Why does this happen? I've done tons of research and still don't have the answer!)

So yes, the 7% conditioner will be thick - feel free to reduce the BTMS to 4% or so (and the cetyl to 2% in that case) or include cetrimonium chloride at 2% to thin out the conditioner!


Mich said...

Well, I don't know, but I've liked all the variations and permutations I've tried of your basic formulae! And for me, at least, a thicker conditioner is preferable to one that's too watery!

More Cowbell said...

Sorry to piggy-back again, but I'm not seeing an email link.
Over on the Dish, I've been looking for a recipe or formula for making a solid perfume stick, and old-fashioned one that's mostly alcohol and is translucent, so no cornstarch or talc.
The alcohol evaporates almost instantly, leaving only a bit of fragrance, IOW, it acts just like a liquid perfume or cologne, and there is NO OIL. Not a solid perfume in the sense that I'm finding a ton 'o recipes for, i.e., a scented lip balm only not for lips. :)
The closest we've been able to come is men's stick deodorant, e.g., "SD Alcohol, PG, Sodium Stearate, Water, Fragrance, Green No. 5, Yellow No. 3." Not needing the colors, of course. What does the sodium stearate do? And the PG - isn't that antifreeze? I am so confused.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I missed this comment and I think it was answered on the Dish, but I'll do what I can.

The sodium stearate is there to solidify the deodorant stick. It blends with the alcohol and/or propylene glycol to make a solid that works well as a stick.

I have a great recipe for a deodorant stick that is very basic - 80% propylene glycol or dipropylene glycol and 8% sodium stearate. Mix those together, then add the other ingredients - fragrance oil, preservative, something like aloe vera - and you're done. It's a lovely recipe.

Propylene glycol is NOT anti-freeze. It can be used as an ingredient in anti-freeze as it lowers the freezing point of watery ingredients (including our lotions and other creations), but any humectant would do that (glycerin, dipropylene glycol, ethylene glycol). Just because it might be in anti-freeze doesn't mean it is inherently bad for you.

Anonymous said...

hi susan, from what i know it gets thin because the little carbon chain lenght n the high water solubility..