Sunday, May 30, 2010

Question: Can you use cetrimonium chloride in a shampoo?

Lalla asks in this postCan I use cetrimonium chloride in a shampoo?

Yes! (Well, that was easy, eh?) But wait, there's more! Cetrimonium chloride plays well with surfactants, so it's a great inclusion in a conditioning shampoo (especially one for very tangly hair) and it removes silicones well, so it's a great inclusion in a clarifying shampoo (ironically).

If you're using in your shampoos, make sure it plays well with your thickening ingredients. I use Crothix at 1% to 2% in all my shampoos (that need them), and I have found that mixtures that would normally require something like 2% need only 1% because the cetrimonium chloride thickens it well. So for something like a conditioning shampoo for oily hair in which I've used the Froot Loops fragrance oil, I'd normally need 2% Crothix (even 2.5% when I don't use SCI because this thins out the surfactant mix) and I've found I only need 1%.

My suggestion is to make up your shampoo - of any sort - with the cetrimonium chloride (2% in the heated phase or cool down phase) and your fragrance or essential oil blend, and let it come to room temperature. Then test the viscosity. If you think it needs to be thicker, then use some liquid Crothix to get the viscosity you want.

So this probably isn't a good idea for those of you using glycol distearate or another thickener that requires heating until you've tried it a few times with your specific fragrance oil and see how it alters the viscosity. If you're using the heated kind of thickeners, make it up as normal with the cetrimonium chloride at 2% and make sure you use your fragrance oil. Keep really great notes, and don't stray from the amount or kind of fragrance oil you use!


Lalla said...

Thank you very much.

Sciarretta Farms said...

So is there any point in using silicones in products where you add cetrimonium chloride? Will the silicones be negated if you use it?

WS said...

Is there a reference for Cetrimonium chloride's ability to remove silicones? I cannot find any such reference and I'm wondering if it's buried in some manufacturer's spec sheets.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Sorry, WS. I can't find it at the moment as I don't have time to dive into my note books. I found this years ago - probably 2009 or 2010 - when I first started researching cetrimonium chloride. I remember being surprised by this, but finding it in another reference as well. (I never go by just one reference!)

wil son said...

I believe the answear is not so straightforward. If you use an anionic surfactant in your shampoo, you'll have to use something to prevent its reaction (and precipitation) with the Cetrimonium chloride (cationic). I use a zwitterioninc surfactant (Cocamidopropyl betaine) at a ratio of around 1:3 anionic/betaine. I alse read that someone suggested Cetrimonium chloride would clean, which is hard to prove since hair is mainly negatively charged, and after dilution, Cetrimonium chloride's free molecules will tend to diffuse and attach to negatively charged sites of hair.