Sunday, July 13, 2014

Weekend Wonderings: Should cationic guar smell fishy?

In this post, Thickeners: Cationic guar gum, Anonymous asks: Should cationic guar gum have a fishy smell? I think I have some that is gone bad. How do you store it?

Hi Anonymous. I'll have to delete your comment as I don't allow anonymous comments on the blog, but I thought it was a good question, so I'll answer it. 

Cationic guar gum - INCI Name: Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride
- is a positively charged version of guar gum that has been modified to be a conditioner by being substantive to your hair and skin. This means the positively charged guar gum is attracted to the negatively charged hair strand, and creates a thin film on it that makes it feel conditioned, increases combability, and reduces fly-aways. 

If you look at the INCI name, the "trimonium" part means that it has an ammonium salt attached to it. Ammonium can have a fishy smell, so this is the odour emanating from the product. Not everyone can smell it, and you if you can smell that, you'll probably detect it in other cationic quaternary compounds, like Incroquat BTMS-50 and Rita BTMS-225, amongst others. I can smell it in those ingredients, but I don't smell it in the finished product. If you do, a little fragrance will make it go away. 

Please please please, dear readers, put a name on your comments. I don't mind if it comes up as "unknown" or "anonymous", as long as we know who you are with a friendly "Bye for now, (name)" or "See ya, (name)", and so on. Anonymity makes it easier to be mean, and I've had enough of that for a lifetime. I'm applying this policy to every anonymous message because I'm a firm believer in applying to one what I will apply to all. Your comment might be lovely, but I don't want make it seem that I am playing favourites or only deleting that which I don't like. 

As a note, if you don't have a Google identity, you can't subscribe to the post, which means you won't see my comments. And often, it's pointless to answer an anonymous question because the writer never returns to see it. So that's another reason I'd encourage you to sign up for a Gmail account. You might only use it for the odd blog, but it's nice to be able to sign up for stuff. 

In this post, Using hydrolyzed proteins, Brandi asks: I have hydrolyzed wheat protein. Is it best for oily or dry hair?

This study came to this conclusion after noticing that it appears that use of hydrolyzed wheat protein impeded the loss of water during the drying of wet hair. The study concluded, "The absorption of hydrolyzed wheat proteins will increase the plasticity of hair in general by dint of their ability to retain moisture for long periods. We predict that their specific incorporation into the very components that are damaged by sunlight exposure will render the hair less susceptible to the formation of split ends." In other words, using hydrolyzed wheat protein could help hair retain moisture. Pretty awesome, eh? This study noted that the penetration of the hydrolyzed wheat protein was "extensive". So we know it can penetrate the hair strand and help the hair retain moisture. 

After all of this, I think the answer to your question is that all hair types appear to be candidates for the use of wheat protein. It seems like all hair types would benefit from retaining moisture and keeping the hair more plastic, so I'll put forth that any and all hair types could benefit from it. Having said that, it really is about what your hair likes, so I'll suggest that you use it in a small batch of a recipe - shampoo or conditioner - and see what your hair likes before you go adding it to everything you own! 

What about the gluten? If this is something that worries you, please read this paper from the Cosmetics Ingredient Review board for more information. (I'm not weighing in on this topic as I don't want to suggest anything to anyone with those kinds of sensitivities. That's for you to decide based on your knowledge of your body.) 

As a note to those of you avoiding proteins, I would encourage you to try different types as they all have their features. Some are good for film forming - like oat - and others are good for penetrating - like wheat and silk. If you don't like one, another might be a good thing. I won't make you a money back guarantee that you'll find something you like, but I do think that if you tried a few different kinds, you'd find that your hair likes protein and that it offers you something special in your homemade products! 

Please don't write mean things in the comments because you disagree with me. By all means comment, but keep it civil. Don't say anything you'd be ashamed to see your kids say online! 

For some reason, conversations about hair get very heated and I'm the one who ends up feeling pretty hurt by the names I'm being called. Lest you think I'm overreacting, the reason for the "no anonymous comments" policy above came from some seriously horrible things said to me in a post on washing one's hair with baking soda. I deleted some of the more horrible comments, I was actually called what I think is the worst swear not once, but twice, and more on top of that. There's something about hair posts that get people very upset. 

Related posts:

Join me tomorrow as we resume our series on making products with sunflower oil! 


Anders Svensson, Sweden said...

I'm sorry people are mean to you in the comment. This site is such a great source of valuable information.

Everybody got different hair and react and behaves different to different products. I wish people would remember that.

I bought just ordered your "Back to basics" book from Lotioncrafter since I don't like Paypal. Hope that's OK.

Best regards,


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anders! I'm thrilled you ordered the e-book from anywhere! All the proceeds from the books sold at Lotioncrafter goes to the youth programs, so no matter where you get the e-book, you end up supporting my youth programs! Thanks!

Bonnie in SJ said...

Thank you for mentioning the "fishy" smell in other cationic quaternary compounds, and especially why it happens. I recently got a bag of BTMS-50 (my first) and can definitely detect an overpowering fishiness whenever the bag is first opened, and it lingers on the pastilles even after they've been aired out. My initial thought was that it was a bad batch or something. Glad it's normal (and apparently, lucky me for being an ammonia detector).

- Bonnie in SJ

Anonymous said...

Congrats for your wonderful blog!
May i ask a question? I tried to add cetearyl alcohol and behentrimonium chloride (incroquat behenyl tmc 25)at my shampoo with decyl, lauryl, coco glucosides, CAB, and italian Olivoil surfactant, with other usual ingredients: glycerin, panthenol, olive oil, oat, citrus oils (0.5%).
Τhe result was the opposite of that expected. Hair became more tangling and more static. Do you have an idea what happened?
Thank you,
Scott Freeman

Pepper7 said...

Susan, I can't imagine why anyone would be so unkind to you, especially because you are doing all of us a favor by sharing your research and knowledge. I have found that the people who behave this way are generally unhappy to begin with. They are closed off to anything new and they don't want to know that they might be wrong. It's ok if they want to ignore science, it's their loss, but it's not ok to treat you that way.