Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Wonderings: What's the difference between BTMS-25 and BTMS-50?

In this post on turning conditioner bars into shaving bars, Melanie asks, What is the difference in usage between BTMS and BTMS-50? I see that BTMS-50 includes Butylene Glycol, but how do I choose between these two when making a shaving bar? (or anything else for that matter)

From this post, how to use BTMS-25 in place of BTMS-50:

What's the difference between BTMS-25 and BTMS-50? 
Incroquat BTMS-50 is behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetyl alcohol (and) butylene glycol. It has 50% behentrimonium methosulfate, the active ingredient for conditioning our hair, the cationic quaternary compound. It contains cetyl alcohol to boost the substantivity of the conditioner, and butylene glycol as a humectant.

BTMS-25 (sometimes found as Rita BTMS-225) is Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol. It has 25% behentrimonium methosulfate. It contains cetearyl alcohol to boost the substantivity of the conditioner. It does not contain a humectant. The cetearyl alcohol may feel a little waxier to some people.

How to use BTMS-25 in a conditioner recipe that calls for BTMS-50?
If your goal is to get the same amount of behentrimonium methosulfate in the product, then it seems logical to suggest that you would want to use double the amount of BTMS-25. A recipe that calls for 8% BTMS-50 would require 16% BTMS-25...but I think you'd end up with something with a balm consistency instead of a liquid conditioner, so I'm not totally comfortable recommending this. Instead, I recommend making the recipe how it is written, and seeing how you like it.

The short answer that in a liquid conditioner, I recommend substituting BTMS-25 for BTMS-50 at equal amounts and see how you like it. I know this contradicts what I said in a previous post, but I've learned more about our ingredients in the last few years and I've heard from readers who have successfully made products with BTMS-25, so I feel more comfortable suggesting a straight 1:1 substitution. As for the amount of cetyl alcohol, you can reduce it by half or leave it the same. It's up to your hair type. This really is a situation in which you'll have to do some experimenting to see what works best for you!

To answer your question, in the case of a shaving bar or conditioner bar, you can use either version. If you use the BTMS-25, you'll get something a little more waxy feeling thanks to the cetearyl alcohol. If you use the BTMS-50, you'll get something a little slicker feeling thanks to the cetyl alcohol. In a shaving bar, the difference will be minor.

Related posts:
What's the difference on my hair between BTMS-50 and BTMS-25?
BTMS-25 and products not emulsifying
Substituting BTMS-25 for BTMS-50 in lotion recipes
How much cetyl alcohol to use with BTMS-25?
Substitutions: What to do when you can't wait to create! 


Birgit said...

Great post, and right on time for me. I had just ordered BTMS (without paying any attention to what kind it was as the supplier only had one kind). Well, now after I read your article, I looked into the INCI: Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol. So it is BTMS-25. Which is unfortunate, as I was planning to make lotion bars, and I would have preferred the slicker feeling over the waxier. Well, you live and learn. So for conditioner I would definitely want to get the BTMS-50, right? On a bar I may be able to get away with the 25.
This goes exactly to the point you made a few posts ago about reading your INCI.

Melanie Klar said...

Thank you!

Birgit said...

So the BTMS finally arrived, and I was very excited to try it out. Well, after trying it out in a few scrubs and butters, I noticed it has a paraffin-like smell that is quite overpowering. To the point that after I have used the body scrub and dried myself, I can still smell it on my hands, but not the EO-s. I was wondering if this is in general common to BTMS, or is it just this batch/supplier?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Birgit. Some people notice a fishy smell with BTMS, but it usually goes away once you've melted and let it cool down in a product. If it doesn't, you can add some fragrance oils. It might be the essential oils aren't strong enough. Check to see if you can increase those amounts and see if that helps!