Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Conditioners: Leave-in conditioners

I love leave-in conditioners! I generally make a litre at a time to last me at least six months because I'd hate to run out of it! Don't you love this container? Look at all these exclamation marks! I'm very enthusiastic about this topic! 

What's the point of a leave in conditioner? We use these to keep the goodness of conditioning on our hair throughout the day by including our film forming and moisturizing proteins, silicones to seal in or fend off moisture, and panthenol to keep our hair healthy. By using these various ingredients, we can reduce the friction our hair experiences through grooming and daily life, we can seal in moisture or reduce frizziness, and we can increase the detangling when we comb our hair wet or dry.

Here's our basic recipe...

1 to 2% Incroquat BTMS-50 or cetrimonium bromide
.5% preservative
up to 1% fragrance oil
water to 100%

A leave in conditioner contains fewer conditioning agents than a regular conditioner as we don't want to walk around all day with loads of conditioner in our hair! I find 1% to 2% BTMS or cetrimonium bromide is more than enough for the conditioning part and will emulsify any silicones or oil based ingredients we wish to add.

This is a nice basic recipe that will offer some anti-static and emollient properties, but we want to add our goodies to this to really make our hair feel great!

If you've been following along on the blog, then you probably have an idea of what works for your hair by now. If you're new to the blog - welcome! - and here's the link to all the ingredients I'll be writing about in this and other posts - hair care ingredients

So what else can we include in a leave-in conditioner? We can add cationic polymers if you wish - these will add some moisturizing and film forming to your product - or add some cetrimonium chloride - detangling is always a great idea! We could add some Incroquat CR to increase the softening and decrease static build-up. And we can add all kinds of botanical ingredients to help our scalp or add anti-oxidants to the mix.

Here's my favourite recipe for a leave-in conditioner (and you've already seen a post on how to include oils in your product...)

79% to 79.5% water
2% Incroquat BTMS
4% glycerin
1% aloe vera
2% hydrolyzed oat protein

2% polyquat 7 or honeyquat
2% cetrimonium chloride
2% panthenol
2% cyclomethicone
2% dimethicone
1% fragrance oil
0.5% to 1% preservative (I use liquid Germall plus at 0.5%)

Use the general or alternate instructions for making conditioners.

I find this recipe works well for my oily, frizzy, coarse hair. The cetrimonium chloride makes it much easier to comb wet or dry, the glycerin works as a humectant, the protein acts as a film former, the panthenol offers both hygroscopic and smoothing benefits, and the silicones help keep the moisture out (which probably seems weird considering the glycerin in there, but it does work well).

Can we tweak this for other hair types? Of course! Join me tomorrow for fun modifying the leave-in conditioner recipe for other hair types!


Anonymous said...

You usually have the honeyquat in the heated phase, don't you? And you have hydrolyzed protein in the heated AND cool down phase - are they different?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Honeyquat is heat sensitive, so it should be in the cool down phase. I know I've put it in the heated phase in the past, so I'm correcting those recipes as I find them. As for the protein in both phases - that was a mistake. I generally write my recipes out however I feel, then organize them. I forgot to delete it in this case. I've edited this post to reflect that. Thanks for the alert!

Anonymous said...

I know nothing about the silicones, and I was curious about Phenyl Trimethicone, which is an ingredient in a leave in conditioner I like, and how it compares to the silicones you have in your recipe. Does it have similar properties? Is the amount you would use comparable?

Anonymous said...

do you think .5% (or less), (plus add in H2O for the difference,) cationic guar would make a good substitute for the hydrolyzed protein?
Thank you so much, adore your blog!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rebecca! I have to admit that I am not a fan of cationic guar, but you can give it a shot. I don't think it serves the same purpose as the protein, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it and see if you like it. (The main reason I don't like it is that it can build up quite quickly on our hair. The secondary reason is that it's a pain to incorporate!) Let me know how it turns out!

Heather Behan said...

Hi Susan, I made the above recipe which has split and I'm wondering why. (I think it can still be used if shaken before use.)I used the same ingredients except for leaving out dimethicone and cetrimonium chloride and, not having LGPlus I used GFphen PCG. Could this different preservative be the reason? Thank you.
Best wishes, Heather

Heather Behan said...

Oh and I forgot to add - I've read somewhere that cyclomethicone can be choosy about the fragrances added to it. I added I drop of amber fragrance oil and 2 of sweet orange essential oil to the 100ml product. Could this be the reason for the split?
I'm learning so much from your blog and do so appreciate it. Thank you!

Tracy said...

To Heather - 2 oz. of essential oil is ~60 ml. That's a huge percent relative to a 100 ml recipe; nearly 40% if the total was 160 ml after adding EO. It's a "fragrance" but it's also an oil. Very likely that's why your conditioner won't stay emulsified.

Kelly Tanner said...

Susan thanks for the help on slippery elm and msm and directing me to this recipe. Could you possibly do a post on Hydroethylcellulose. I looked on your blog for the ingredient but I don't see it. On lotion crafters they explain it as a non ionic thickener. And has conditioning properties. On a side note I am still waiting for my polawax, btms-50, oat protein, honeyquat, and some other goodies to make my first face lotion, and eye gel. I was excited to see btms-50 in this recipe! Thank you for the help!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kelly. Thanks for the suggestion for a post, but it's not the kind of ingredient I'm likely to use in my products in the near future. I'm glad you can find so much use for BTMS-50! I know it's one of the ones I use a lot!

Anonymous said...

I am excited to try this formula, but I do have one note. The safety profile for Cetrimonium Chloride (and all of that family of products) states that for leave-on products it should be at 0.25%.
This website has a fairly good safety profile, and isn't the scaremonger that is EWG.

Gia Volpe said...

Is it possible to use BTMS 25 in this?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Gia. Yes, but know that it might not emulsify all the silicones.

Anonymous said...

why add the glycerin then? If we don't want moisture.

Amanda Dvorak said...

What could I substitute for the Cetrimonium chloride, I have everything else. Also, would Optiphen Plus be suitable for this recipe? Thank you again❤️❤️❤️

Amanda Dvorak said...

What could I substitute for the Cetrimonium chloride, I have everything else. Also, would Optiphen Plus be suitable for this recipe? Thank you again❤️❤️❤️

October 11, 2015 at 7:47 PM Delete

ebi said...

I tried this recipe with some modifications, as I want to keep it silicone free.
It made my hair instantly frizz free, so that's a plus! It also leaves my hair a little shiny, though a serum I've made makes it even shinier.

I do think I made it a little bit too thick, it's not very sprayable, as a concentrated squirt comes out instead of a mist.

This is the recipe I ended up with, though I think next time I'll put in less oils and have either silk protein or polyquat-7 in there, and not both. And keep the BTMS-50 at 1%. Maybe leave out the extracts as I doubt they have much effect on the hair (and I don't think enough of the leave in will reach the scalp). And next time I might want to throw in some silicone replacements (c12-15 alkyl benzoate or some other esters) to see what that will do:)

81% water
2% BTMS-50
0.5% Varisoft EQ65*, really hard to dissolve!
4% Glycerin

2% Silk protein
2% Polyquat-7
2% Panthenol
1% horse chestnut extract
1% Galium Aparine extract ( oil)
1% green tea extract
1% Jojoba oil
1% Argan oil

0.5% Preservative (lgp)
1% Fragrance oil

*(INCI:Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol)

Nina said...

If I don't have some of the ingredients like volumminizing complex can I substitute or omit and also instead of Incroquat 44 and Incroquat CR can I use Incroquat 50

J Dub said...

Susan we are really enjoying your blogs and creations. We made the SWIFT'S FAVOURITE LEAVE IN CONDITIONER exactly as you've posted. After a day the conditioner has separated. Is this normal?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Nina. No, Incroquat CR isn't going to emulsify this product on its own. Or are you asking if you can omit the CR? Sure! Don't put more BTMS-50 in it, though, as it'll get thicker like a rinse off conditioner. I have dozens of leave in conditioner recipes on this blog. May I suggest finding another one that doesn't have those ingredients? Or look at the basic recipe and see what I suggest about adding and leaving in things.

Hi J Dub. Can you please post your exact recipe in percentages and your process so I can help further? Even if you followed it exactly to the percentage, I need to know about your preservative and your fragrance oil as well as your exact process. Thanks!

J Dub said...

Hello Susan. The recipe is as follows:

Distilled Water 80%
BTMS-50 2%
Glycerin 4%
Aloe Vera Juice 1X 1%
Hydrolyzed Oat Protein 2%
Polyquaternium 7 2%
Cetrimonium Chloride 2%
DL Panthenol 2%
Cyclomethicone 2%
Dimethicone DM6 2%
Liquid Germall Plus 1%

Total recipe 100% with no fragrance.

Heat and hold 20 minutes

Water Phase
Water, Glycerin, Aloe Vera, & Hydrolyzed Oat Protein

Oil Phase

Could Down phase
Polyquat 7, Cetrimonium Chloride, DL Panthenol, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Liquid Germall Plus

One thing to note is I weighed the water phase before heating and once the 20 minutes was up I weighed the water phase again. I made up the difference in evaporation from another pot of distilled water that was also holding for 20 minutes.

All measurements are done in grams to be as precise as possible. The mixture feels lovely, just separates after a day or so.

Thanks for the assistance.