Monday, February 16, 2015

A few thoughts about conditioners for an extremely warm Monday in February...

If you are making rinse off or leave in conditioners, you want to use an emulsifier that is positively charged or cationic. This means using ingredients like Polawax, polysorbate 20, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil or Caprol Micro Express as the main ingredient isn't the best idea. Why? We use positively charged or cationic ingredients in a conditioner as the emulsifier so it will adsorb or form a film on our hair. This process is called substantivity. (Click here for a longer description on how conditioners work!) These ingredients are non-ionic or neutrally charged, and anything you make using them will be more like a lotion than a conditioner. This means you might get some moisturization from the emollients, but you won't get any conditioning.

Instead, you'll want to use cationic emulsifiers like like Incroquat BTMS-50, Rita BTMS-225, Incroquat CR, or cetrimonium bromide as your main ingredient in a conditioner. You can add loads of non-ionic or neutrally charged ingredients into the conditioner - things like panthenol or aloe vera or glycerin and so on - but you want the main emulsifier to positively charged.

You don't need to lower the pH of a conditioner when you've made it. Conditioners made with the positively charged ingredients I mention above will be a pH 6 or lower.

Can you substitute BTMS-25 for BTMS-50? Yes, most of the time. Check out this post for more information!

Related posts:
Hair care section of the blog
Conditioner: What's that then?
Conditioner: Defining our conditioners
Conditioner: The basic recipes
What's important in a conditioner? Part one
What's important in a conditioner? Part two
Back to the very basics: Conditioner
Leave-in conditioner with kera straightening and lycopene
Coconut oil and pisum satvum rinse off conditioner

1 comment:

Me said...

Hi Susan,
Does the substantivity of cationic emulsifiers hinder the absorption of the 'goodies' in a conditioner, such as panthenol, proteins etc.? Or does it actually allow for a steadier, slower absorption due to the fact that it remains on the hair?

Erin