Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A series on hair - a few notes and a question!

Whether your hair is long or short, curly or straight, we all want to take care of our crowning glory! As you can see, my husband and I are big on the long hair! (BTW: Only 4 more days until our first anniversary!)

Someone suggested I put up a shopping list for the products we'll be making in this series on hair care products - I'll do my best, but these are only representative of the ingredients I choose to use in my products. (And remember, I'm not affiliated with any suppliers - other than liking some of them personally! - so these recommendations are just the things I like!) If you've been playing along with the surfactant recipes over the last few weeks, then you've probably got what you need - surfactants, thickener, proteins, panthenol, cationic polymer, silicones. If not, here are a few ideas for ingredients you might be interested in using in your hair care products..
  • surfactants - get some cocamidopropyl betaine (Amphosol CG at Voyageur) and at least one surfactant for your hair type (see the note below).
  • proteins - high molecular weight proteins like oat or soy, low molecular weight proteins like silk, or one that spans the range like Phytokeratin
  • panthenol - this stuff is awesome for every hair type!
  • cationic polymer - honeyquat, polyquat 7, Celquat H-100, or polyquat 10 are great if you want to make conditioning shampoo. (I'm sure there are others - let me know what I've missed! Oh, cationic guar is supposed to be nice, but I've never worked with it as it can precipitate out of the solution.) 
  • thickeners - you have a few choices. I like liquid Crothix, cocamide DEA, and PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate. You can use salt or gel, or even some of the gums. (Click on this link for the surfactant list and choose "viscosity" for more information.) 
  • moisturizers - you can use something like glycol distearate to thicken and pearlize and act as a moisturizer. Dry haired girls might appreciate some water soluble oils to increase the moisturization (as an oily haired girl, I don't tend to use oils, but you might like them!)  
  • silicones - I make sure I have some dimethicone 1000 cs for my frizzy hair, dimethicone 350 cs for my mom (all grey) and best friend (normal), and cyclomethicone. If you can find a water soluble dimethicone (like the raspberry w/s at the Herbarie) consider this as a great additive for conditioning shampoo! 
  • extracts - hydrosols suitable for your hair type (for instance, rosemary or orange for oily hair, lavender for normal to dry hair, aloe vera for all hair types) and extracts you might like (rosemary, green tea, etc.) 
  • humectants - glycerin is a standard humectant for hair care products as it not only attracts water, but it helps thicken and increases bubbles and lather! It also won't wash out like sodium PCA or sodium lactate. 
  • preservatives - remember anything that contains a cationic agent will not play well with Tinosan, so this is right out for conditioners and may be out for conditioning shampoo with cationic polymers. I like to use either liquid Germall Plus or Germaben II. Optiphen ND is suitable for shampoo, and may be suitable for conditioners. (Phenonip is right out as it's oil soluble.) Choose one suitable for water soluble or low oil containing products.  
  • essential or fragrance oils - they smell nice, and some essential oils are awesome for our hair! 
  • bottles - get lots of bottles for experimentation! Disc caps for shampoo and liquid conditioner, jars for intense conditioner, misters or spray bottles for leave-in and anti-frizz sprays. 
Please note, this isn't a complete list of ingredients, but it should get you started if you have nothing in your workshop! You can get these ingredients from many different suppliers - check the links to the right if you have no idea - and The Herbarie is probably the best place I've found for a variety of surfactants and most (if not all) of the ingredients I mention above. If you're in Canada, Voyageur has the best selection of all of these ingredients. Sorry I don't know of any suppliers outside of North America! 

For making conditioners - early June - the only additions you need to make are either Incroquat BTMS-50 or cetrimonium bromide, cetrimonium chloride (for awesome detangling - if you can get it), and cetyl alcohol (boosts substantivity). You could get some nice oils and butters if you're the type who likes serious oils in conditioners.

If you're not sure what surfactant will work well for your hair type...consider the surfactant chart. If it works well for that skin type, it should work well for your hair type. Oily hair can benefit from sulfosuccinates (like DLS mild) and C14-16 olefin sulfonate. Dry hair can benefit from SMC or SMO taurate or a blend like BSB or baby blend concentrate. Normal hair - well, you can go either way. (Rather than link to each of these, check out the surfactant post links page!) If you're interested in making shampoo bars or SCI based products, then choose either the type with stearic acid (good for dry to normal hair) or without (normal to oily hair). And if you're in doubt, go with a nice all around gentle surfactant like SLeS or ALeS or a blend like BSB (Voyageur) or CSB foamy concentrate (the Herbarie).

I'll be going into more detail over the next weeks about surfactants and suitability, but as with any bath or body product, you'll need to experiment to see what your hair likes!

And, as usual, I'd love to hear your opinions! What's bugging you? What do you want to learn to make? What have you always wondered? What products would you like to see analyzed? What works well for your hair? Let me know what's going through your well-tressed head through your e-mails or comments!


Caroline said...

Dear Susan,

I love your blog, thank you so much for all the info and the hard work you put into it!

I would love to see posts on how to make a milky lotion, a sprayable lotion, very fluid. For summertime, as I don't like the thickness of cremes and lotion, or butters, in that heat.
I tried with not very much succes :D


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Caroline! I'm with you on the light/sprayable lotion thing for the summer. I have a few ideas for recipes you could try now - and I'll put your ideas into my "modifying your products for summer" series coming up in mid-June (I care could be a lengthy series!)

A few thoughts...
A quick and easy way to thin any lotion is to remove the thickener - cetyl alcohol or stearic acid - or the butters and use lighter oils. Or you could use a non-lotion, that is to say a water based product with loads of moisturizing ingredients. Or you can use a moisturizer recipe - they tend to be quite thin and probably sprayable.

Here are a few ideas...
Light lotion with Olivem 800 - switch the emulsifier to Polawax.
Another light lotion - switch the emulsifiers for e-wax at 4%.

Have fun!

Madeaj said...

Hi Susan

I am just really enjoying your blog. I found it a week ago. I have curly hair, it sometimes gets a little dry. I've looking at your conditioners and shampoos. I was glad to see you are going to start other hair products. I'd like to see a light smoothing pomade. I don't want to straighten, I love my curls. I actually want something to clump them together, define the curls and smooth the frizzies. No, lol I don't want much.

I have been experiementing with light lotion or butter like recipes. Sally Hershberg has a product called Wreck and Roll. This is quite close to what I want. Aveeda has something too, Light Elements Defining Whip. 20 Plus dollars US is crazy though.

Loving the blog

Naomi said...

I would love to learn how to incorporate UV absorbers / sunscreens. I know that sesame, red raspberry, and rice bran oils have "perputed" sunscreen benefits but the Personal Formulator has Benzophenone 3 and Octyl Methoxy Cinnamate (BTW, Croda's Cromollient SCE is a good solubulizer for Benzophenone 3). I'm not sure how a home crafter could test for SPF, but I'd like to add anything to boost the sunscreen-ability of lotions.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Madeaj! Wanting what you want is good stuff - that's the fun of duplicating! And if I could find a way to keep my curls without frizzing (I live in a really humid environment and I don't wash my hair every day, so oils and styling products are right out!)

Those are interesting products. I don't know if I can make the Light Elements Defining Whip - the ingredients are Certified organic flax seed, Certified organic lavender water, Certified organic marshmallow root - because I am not a fan of working with the flax seed goop, but I can give it a try. The other product is effectively a hair lotion - a non-ionic lotion made with emulsifiers, oils, and butters. (If you hadn't told me this was for your hair, I would consider it a moisturizer filled with lovely butters but lacking things like protein and humectants). I'll be replicating this one for sure!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Naomi - I really haven't researched much about sunscreens simply because I don't plan to use them (you obviously know my position on this topic!) but it is intriguing. Sunscreens have an interesting chemistry that we have to take into account when making them - all kinds of things about phases and emulsification - and I don't know if it's possible for us to make a decent sunscreen that also feels nice on our skin. It is on my list of things to learn for the future, so when I think I've learned enough, I'll share!

Meaue said...


Is Brambleberry's liquid pearlizer the same as EZ Pearl or glycol distearate? Can it be used in it's place? I cannot seem to find out what's in it - although other company's pearlizers have Glycol Distearate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamide MEA, Laureth-7, Water.


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Meaue. I'm sorry, I have no idea as there is no INCI listed for the product. I'd suggest writing to Anne-Marie and asking her for the ingredients (and can you pass them onto me as I'm really curious).

The other pearlizers you mention sound like surfactant mixes to me - you could use that in the place of one of the surfactants in your mix! If you are looking just to pearlize your product, then these things are fine. If you are looking to increase the moisturization for dry hair, you really want just the glycol distearate (and it makes a good low HLB emulsifier if you want to get into making your own emulsification systems). Glycol distearate is pretty inexpensive, too.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Meaue! Okay, we have an answer from Brambleberry...

Here are the ingredients for the Liquid Pearlizer:

Distilled water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamide DEA, Cocamidoporpyl Betaine, formaldehyde (less than 2.0 ppm)

The product can be used in a surfactant mix and is actually a concentrated soap itself so it should mix in with other surfactants just fine :)

So basically this is a mild surfactant you could use as a blend that will also pearlize - the cocamide DEA is the pearlizer (which is more of an opaque-r in my opinion). It would be good for normal hair, normal skin, and adding to bubble baths and body wash to thicken and pearlize. It'll have some moisturizing benefits, but not nearly as much as using glycol distearate - but it won't interfere with the lather as much as EZ Pearl.

Meaue said...

Yes, I got the same answer. I figured... So now, next question, since I will be ordering the glycol distereate from The Personal Formulator, what else should I be getting... I have have the usual stuff and centrimonium chloride & bromide already. What obscure stuff should I be looking to splurge on? (since shipping is a gulp anyway!)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Are you looking for shampoo or conditioner ingredients? For shampoo, may I suggest these surfactants...
- natural surfactant - very very mild surfactant, good for very dry skin or hair or sensitive skin
- decyl glucoside
- Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate (very mild, like SLSa in liquid form - so lots of bubbles!)
- PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate - good emollient!

Do you have polyquat 7? They do have that. And if you like humectants, sorbitol is a great one! And if you're making a ton of conditioners and want some light moisturizing, cetyl esters can be replaced for cetyl alcohol for a lighter feel than the alcohol.

Have fun! I have more suggestions for emollients, if you're interested.

Meaue said...

Emollient suggestions are welcome. Is the decyl glucoside the same as Plantaren 2000N (Voyageur - have it)? And is disodium cocoamphodiacetate close enough to LSB (have that)? I have PEG-7 Olivate - should I sill get the PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate? Poly 7 and sorbitol - check, check. Now you have to use this stuff so I can see it perform! Thanks for the help and suggestions!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

If you have the stuff from Voyageur, then you have decyl glucoside. LSB contains the disodium cocoamphodiacetate, but the version from the Personal Formulator is the straight stuff, so if you don't want the other ingredients, this is where to get it! The PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate is different than the PEG-7 olivate - they both act as emollients, but the glyceryl cocoate is an emulsifier, foamer, and skin conditioner that will also thicken your products and make the foam feel more slippery. The PEG-7 olive tends to be more expensive than the glyceryl cocoate.

The polyquat 7 is the same as the Condition-eze 7 I mention all the time and is a substitute for honeyquat - it's a great ingredient in hair care and skin care products! I put it in almost everything because it's a great conditioning ingredient! And the sorbitol is another great humectant for hair and skin care products. Unlike sodium lactate or PCA (two incredible humectants), it doesn't wash off during rinsing, and it is less sticky than glycerin! (Plus, not that expensive!)

Meaue said...

Between Poly 7 and honeyquat - does one have an advantage over the other? I have not used the sorbitol yet, can that be used in replacement of sodium lactate, PCA or glycerin? Thanks for your help - going to place a TPF order so any last minute suggestions would be great!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I haven't seen a big difference in the polyquat 7 over the honeyquat, although honeyquat is supposed to be more of a humectant over the polyquat 7. I've just found it to be cheaper and easier to get than honeyquat. If you have honeyquat, then the polyquat 7 might not be something you want. But if you want to make a shampoo or conditioner without a ton of humectants - although I'm still not sure why you'd do that - then polyquat 7 is the better choice.

Sorbitol is a great humectant that can be used in place of any of the other humectants. It can also be used in place of glycerin in a shampoo or conditioner or body wash - any of the non-lotion-y things.

There are tons of really neat emollients you can use in hair care products - I really like the C12-15 alkyl benzoate for surfactant mixes - and I love using sodium PCA as humectants in body sprays and other non-lotion, water based things!

Have fun shopping!

Tara said...

My son has rat's nest hair (he's just under two years). Curly and dry and tangly. I can't even use shampoo, just straight conditioner and I hardly ever rinse it out. I would love a good moisturizing and detangling product and maybe someting in a spray on as well. Too tall an order?

Anonymous said...

My hair is fine, limp and oily. What would be the best formulation for me? Is there anything I can use to give "body" to my hair?? I hate heat styling :-(

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Tara. You could use a very very mild baby shampoo on his hair and see if that works (but I suspect you've already done this). What kind of conditioner are you using - what are the ingredients? If you use a conditioner containing cetrimonium chloride at 2% to 5%, you'll see a great increase in the ability to detangle his hair.

I have made detangling conditioners and spray on conditioners in the past - anything with 2% cetrimonium chloride would be considered detangling - and I will be making more in the near future.

Here are a few links for some conditioners to try for his hair...
solid conditioner bars
liquid conditioner - I'd use the oily hair version for him as I think it unlikely he'll need a ton of oils
leave in conditioner
and you can make a great detangler with 5% cetrimonium chloride, water, and preservative. Seriously. I'll be doing a post on this topic shortly.

Good luck with his hair!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. I guess my first question is what are you using now on your hair? What the ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner? How often are you washing your hair?

Adding body to fine and limp hair generally means using less conditioner and fewer oils in your hair (I'd go with no oils if you have oily hair). A very gentle shampoo filled with surfactants that are good for oily hair that doesn't contain a ton of conditioning agents and oily ingredients would be the first place to start - almost a baby shampoo type product. And a very light conditioner with a titch of the conditioning ingredients would be my other suggestion - heck, you could probably use a leave in conditioner as a regular conditioner!

If you can give me a bit more information, I might be able to help further.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan. I make my own products, so I guess I am asking what I should use and what I shouldn't in my products. I don't use any oils or silicones, since they obviously aren't helping my hair. I can't get away without washing my hair at least every second day.
I make a shampoo for oily hair (it definitely lathers and make my hair feel dry after rinsing). I am pregnant right now, otherwise I would use your oily hair essential oil blend, which sounds right up my alley. Should I, or shouldn't I use honeyquat? Are there any stying products you would recommend making for bodifying hair?
Thanks so much Susan. Your blog has already been so helpful in steering me in the right direction for making appropriate products for myself!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

One of the ingredients that has been proven to increase our hair diameter is panthenol. I use it at 2%, but considering you probably don't want a lot of other film formers you can try it at up to 5%.

I will be going into more detail about making products for fine hair in the very near future, but for now may I suggest using some really really mild surfactants (like decyl glucoside) or really really low levels of mild surfactants (say 15% or so), especially if you're washing your hair every other day. Take your favourite shampoo recipe and reduce the surfactants to 15% (so maybe 10% anionic surfactants, 5% cocamidopropyl betaine), which means you'll have to increase the thickener to a higher level.

I'd like to see at least 2% panthenol in your products, and you could consider using 2% honeyquat (especially if you're willing to try a 2-in-1 kind of product, in which case increase the honeyquat to 5%).

As for a conditioner, I'd use a really light conditioner - say 1% to 3% BTMS, some panthenol (heck, you could save the panthenol for this product and use 2% in the shampoo, 5% in the conditioner), maybe 2% proteins, preservative, and water. Don't use cetyl alcohol (it is too moisturizing) and keep leaving out those oils! Almost on par with a leave in conditioner, but you're rinsing it out.

Oh, stay away from low molecular weight proteins like silk and stick with the ones that don't penetrate like oat protein! Your hair doesn't want more internal moisturizing.

I'm wondering if a really light conditioning product would work for your hair type - using something like honeyquat at 2%, panthenol at 2% to 5%, oat protein at up to 2%, water, and preservative. These are things unlikely to make your hair feel weighed down.

Or something without BTMS - Incroquat CR is a good conditioner that offers softening and good anti-static properties. I'd try something like 3% to 5% CR, perhaps honeyquat at 2%, panthenol at up to 5%, oat protein at up to 2%, water, and preservative. This will make what used to be called a creme rinse - it's less moisturizing than the BTMS, but it will still be conditioning.

Sorry I can't come up with one specific thing to try, but it's hard to know exactly what will work until you try it!

Eesha said...

Hi Susan,

I'm so glad I found your blog! My hair is locked (dreadlocks) and I want to make a very light - as in watery - conditioner. I tried aloe vera juice, water, BTMS, silk protein and oil. This worked, but I think I may have added too much BTMS, the conditioner was too thick. I'm trying to develop something that won't leave buildup in my locs, will leave them soft, and that I can use as a final rinse when I wash. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Eesha. Are you washing your locs with shampoo? As for making a leave in conditioner, I have a few on this blog - here's a place to start but I will be going into greater detail in the next few weeks.

I'd suggest using 1% to 2% BTMS, at least 2% proteins, up to 5% oils, and up to 10% aloe vera. You could include some Incroquat CR as it is a good softening and anti-static conditioning agent (at up to 2%), and you could use cetrimonium chloride as a good softening and detangling agent at up to 2% (which will also make the mixture more liquidy, so you can include more conditioning agent!) You might want to consider adding panthenol at up to 2% as a film former, humectant, and scalp treatment.

I hope this information helps. I'm not really that familiar with dreadlock care - I'm usually trying to help with detangling. I'll do some research on the topic so I can post more in the future.

Anya said...

Lovely photo of u both!

Melanie Klar said...

Do you have a recipe for men's hair pomade?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Melanie. No, I don't. I found this one at the Natural Beauty Workshop. Try coconut oil or shea in place of the shealoe, and any oils in the place of the oils. If you want it to feel less greasy, try using less greasy feeling oils like hazelnut, macadamia nut, or any of the exotic oils.