As we discovered yesterday, we can make a conditioner with only a few ingredients - the cationic emulsifier like Incroquat BTMS-50, water, and a preservative. We can make it a little more substantive and emollient by adding a fatty alcohol like cetyl alcohol.
Let's take a look at another conditioner recipe (taken from this post)!
COCONUT OIL HAIR CONDITIONER
HEATED OIL PHASE
7% Incroquat BTMS-50
3% coconut oil
2% cetrimonium chloride
HEATED WATER PHASE
78.5% distilled water
2% quaternized rice protein
COOL DOWN PHASE
2% pisum sativum peptide
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or preservative of choice)
1% fragrance oil (white chocolate, as usual!)
We start with the Incroquat BTMS-50, which is our positively charged ingredient. It also behaves as an emulsifier so we can add oils, silicones, and other oil soluble ingredients.
Coconut oil is an emollient, and it's there as a moisturizer. You can use any oil you like in a conditioner, but I prefer to use coconut oil as there are many studies showing that it has an affinity for hair's protein, and that it can penetrate the hair strand. It's one of the least expensive oils you can buy, and it has a shelf life of two years, which is awesome.
Cetrimonium chloride is another postively charged ingredient that offers great detangling and combability to my hair. I use it because my hair tangles easily. I use it at 2% because it seems to be the optimal amount for detangling my hair. I can use more - up to 5% - but it seems like I don't need more than that.
Quaternized rice protein is a cationic polymer or another positively charged ingredient. This one isn't an emulsifier, but will still be substantive to our hair. Why include this when I have already included two other positively charged ingredients? Because it offers another level of film forming on my hair strand, and it will help reduce combing and electrostatic forces and increase lubricity of our hair, leaving it easier to comb, less likely to tangle, and less likely to break. You can use any cationic polymer you like in this application.
hydrolyzed protein from a type of pea. It works like other proteins in that it is a film former and moisturizer, It is supposed to hydrate hair as well as wheat hydrolysate (hydrolyzed protein), it behaves as an anti-oxidant, and it increases your hair's diameter. If you don't have this one, use another hydrolyzed protein, like silk, oat, Phytokeratin, and so on.
Dimethicone is a silicone that I have included as it improves wet and dry combing, helps with shine, improves hair feel (softness), reduces static charge, and works as a humidity resistor. It is a great ingredient to reduce frizz.
Cyclomethicone is another silicone that is deposited at the surface of the hair or skin and spreads uniformly over the surface, coating the hair shaft or skin. It's going to bring the other ingredients along for the ride, which means your products will glide nicely and coat the desired area with a thin film.
Panthenol is a fantastic addition at 2% to 5%. It builds a thin moisture film on the surface of your hair (film former) and makes it shine without oil or greasiness. In addition, it can penetrate the cuticle of your hair and brings moisture to the cortex! This means you get good manageability and pliability of your hair, and it is better able to cope with brushing, wind, and other non-hair friendly things. Finally, it could give your hair more body! Studies have shown that 2% left on for 2 minutes can actually swell the hair shaft, making it seem thicker! (So use it up to 5% in your conditioner or leave in conditioner!)
Liquid Germall Plus is my preferred preservative, included because any time we have water, we have to have a preservative. You can choose any preservative that is suitable for positively charged, oil-in-water emulsions.
What does this all mean? It means that you have to figure out for yourself what kind of conditioner you want to make. As we saw yesterday, you can make a very basic, good conditioner with the cationic emulsifier, water, and preservative, but you might make something better with a few extra ingredients. You don't need to use all of these ingredients to make a great product for your hair - I like these ingredients, but you might like other ones - and knowing what they bring to the party means you can include them or not. It really is up to you!
Make a conditioner with nothing but the basics and a protein, if you wish. Make a conditioner with loads of oils, proteins, cationic polymers, and silicones, if you wish. Make a conditioner with all the things or none of them - it's really your choice. The key is to learn what each ingredient brings to the party so you can decide what you want and what you don't want!
Hair care section of the blog - loads of conditioner recipes there!
Making a coconut oil liquid conditioner
Making a coconut oil and pisum sativum liquid conditioner