making conditioners for newbie Tuesday, canfieldfive writes: I have a long rambling question: I have the Conditioning Emulsifier from MMS (Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol) and the BTMS-50 (Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetyl Alcohol and Butylene Glycol) from Brambleberry. What will these do differently for my hair? (I plan to use Cetyl Alcohol in my conditioner as well, but no silicones.)
Wow, if this is a long and rambling question, what do I write? (Insert appropriate smiley face here.) The conditioning emulsifier could be Rita BTMS-225 or Incroquat BTMS-25 and the BTMS-50 is probably Incroquat BTMS-50.
I think it's great canfieldfive has the INCI name for the product she is using because so many companies like to change the name of BTMS-25 and BTMS-50 to something like conditioning emulsifier or emulsifying conditioner or something similar. Always always always check the INCI on your conditioning ingredients so you know exactly what you're getting!
BTMS-25 will have 25% behentrimonium methosulfate while the BTMS-50 has 50% behentrimonium methosulfate, which means any product made with BTMS-25 will have less active conditioning ingredient and more fatty alcohol to make up the difference. BTMS-25 has cetearyl alcohol, which feels slightly waxier than cetyl alcohol, and doesn't contain a humectant.
If you make a conditioner with 6% BTMS-25, you'll have 1.5% behentrimonium methosulfate and 4.5% cetearyl alcohol. The same conditioner with BTMS-50 will have 3% behentrimonium methosulfate and less than 3% cetyl alcohol. A conditioner made with BTMS-50 at the same amount will mean more conditioning agent and less fatty alcohol. So if you want to have the same amount of conditioning in a BTMS-25 conditioner, you'll have to double the amount of BTMS-25 you use.
I've found that conditioners made with BTMS-25 are thicker and slightly less glidy than those made with BTMS-50 using the same amount. I wouldn't add any extra fatty alcohol to a product with BTMS-25 because it's already quite thick and has quite a lot of fatty alcohol in it. If you're the type who needs more moisturizing - dry hair types, for instance - you could add more fatty alcohol to the mix, but you might not need to with all that cetearyl alcohol in there.
What's the difference in your hair? In theory, the BTMS-25 offers less conditioning and more moisturizing through the fatty alcohol. It will make a thicker product that might be harder to get through your hair. I've also found that it doesn't emulsify oils or butters as well as BTMS-50. They will both offer a more powdery feeling when you make lotions.
In reality, I'm finding that although it feels heavy on my hair in the shower, it rinses off beautifully and leaves my really split ends in light ringlets. (My best friend and Mychelle offer their opinions in this post on Rita BTMS-225!) I honestly think BTMS-225 will be replacing BTMS-50 in a lot of my products, although I'm not sure about the conditioner bars, which I hope to try this weekend. As always, I suggest that you experiment with both and see what you like more.