Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Some thoughts on hair butters...
You can make an anhydrous hair butter by combining a bunch of oils and butters, then slathering it on your hair, but this seems to be a missed opportunity for awesome conditioning, in my humble opinion. You could make something like a whipped butter and use that, or you could make something like a whipped butter and add some BTMS-50 to the mix to offer some serious conditioning. (Something like 75% butter of some sort, 19% oils of some sort, 10% BTMS-50 or BTMS-25 or Incroquat CR or another cationic quaternary compound, and 1% fragrance, because that's essential!) The conditioning agent isn't going to do a lot without some water, but when you rinse it off, you'll have had some serious conditioning!
If you want to make something containing water, you need an emulsifier. When I want to make something for my hair, I turn to BTMS-50 (or another cationic quaternary compound with emulsifying properties). We don't want to use Polawax, e-wax, or any of the HLB emulsifiers because they won't offer conditioning to our hair as they are neutrally charged. They will offer emulsification, but for anything to work well with our hair, we want to have a positively charged or cationic ingredient. (Yes, your product made with the neutrally charged or non-ionic emulsifiers will create an emulsified product, you but are missing the chance to condition your hair further!)
Someone asked if you could make a hair butter that would work for your hair and skin. Sure. Make a body butter with BTMS-50 as the emulsifier and you've got something that would work for both...but why? Your hair and skin have different needs, and it seems a pity to have an okay product for both hair and skin when you could make two awesome products instead. I like things to do double duty, but not at the expense of their awesomeness!
The second concept is that we need to keep our water above 50%. We want to make an oil in water product - meaning that we have droplets of oil suspended in water - rather than a water in oil product - meaning we have droplets of water suspended in oil. I'm making a generalization here, but we keep our product as an oil in water product by having more water than oil in the product. Which means that our oil phase must be no more than 49% of the product!
this recipe or this recipe. I'd keep the BTMS-50 at no more than 10%, the cetyl alcohol or other fatty alcohol at 5%, and add maybe up to 30% oils (although that's still really high). I'd also add some coconut oil! Study after study is showing this to the best oil for our hair, which is awesome because it's plentiful and cheap with a great shelf life.
I really encourage you to check out the hair care products section of this blog for all the information I have, then check the emollients (oils, butters & esters) section for some ideas about what emollients you might add!
If you've never made a product, please don't start by making something from scratch. Please find a good, proven recipe for something that sounds interesting and make it. Then at least you have an idea of where you want to start. I don't have time to help you make something from scratch, but I could have time to help you tweak something when you know what you've made and what you want to change! (Please read this post - why are you trying to come up with your own recipe the first time you make something? - for my philosophy on this topic!)