Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Why do conditioning agents smell fishy?

Have you ever caught a whiff of a positively charged conditioner like Incroquat BTMS-50 or honeyquat and wondered why it smelled fishy? There's nothing wrong with the product: You're smelling the ammonium salt in the cationic quaternary compound! (That N in the molecule above...) Some people can smell it, some can't. It's hard to know if you'll be a smeller or not until you get a nose full of the ingredient. 

It shouldn't remain in the finished product, although there are some very sensitive noses that might still notice it. If you do, consider scenting the product at 0.5% to 1% to mask it. 

10 comments:

Rachel said...

Ahhhh, I have had a couple of people tell me they thought their lotion must have "gone bad" because it smelled "fishy". I was at a complete loss as I have never experienced this and was wondering what could have caused the odour. The lotion was fragranced, but perhaps not enough to mask it. Thanks for the info.

Susan said...

I used Honeyquat in an under eye cream and could smell it. I thought I did something wrong, but I always can smell the honeyquat in anything I use. Although I like the benefits of Honeyquat, I hesitate to use it in some products because of the smell. Just my sensitive nose I guess!
I store dry supplies like BTMS-50 in glass mason jars. Every time I open the BTMS-50 jar, I can smell the fishy/off smell. Fortunately it does not come through in the finished product.

Sabrina K. said...

You made my day : I am not crazy! I can smell it even with EOs or fragrances up to 1%, but it does not bother me! Thank you!

Kim V said...

Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine and poly10.... I love both of these. The poly10 being my absolute favourite. But they both smell absolutely horrendous. Btms50 smells like roses in comparison (yes, I'm exagerating). I haven't noticed it in honeyquat though... I really love what poly10 does in my leave-in conditioner but I keep smelling it. I once added so much fragrance i scented the entire house when I had the product on my hair. And I still smelled it... I wish there was a way to get rid of that smell...

Kelly Stevens said...

I used Honeyquat in a facial lotion and couldn't use it because the smell bothered me so much. :( I can smell it in the BTMS-50 when I open the container but it doesn't seem to come through in the finished product - thank goodness.

Maria said...

I no longer use Honeyquat in lotion because the smell bothers me-I smell it in the finished product. Hydrolized wheat also has this smell, but not as bad. I don't use it in most lotions either though. I still use it in shampoos and I do not smell it there.

Maria said...

Also--I could not mask it with fragrance. I could smell it every time I used the lotion. Honeyquat was the worst. I seem to be able to mask the hydrolized wheat, but if I do put it in, it is not going to be more than 1 percent (I think the stats say you can use it up to 4 percent--there is NO way I'd use that much because I know I'd smell it!)

Kelly Stevens said...

Does any have any suggestions on what to use instead of Honeyquat in a facial lotion?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

If you're looking for quat that don't smell, I haven't noticed anything from polyquat 7 or polyquat 44. (I get the former at Voyageur Soap & Candle, the latter from The Personal Formulator.)

If you're looking for something to substitute for honeyquat, you can use polyquat 7 or polyquat 44 if you're looking for conditioning properties. If you're looking for a humectant, then consider glycerin, sodium lactate (no more than 2.5%), and other humectants. (Check out the humectants section of the blog. I can't link at the moment, unfortunately.)

Belinda Karst said...

I notice the fishy smell in polyquat 10 but have never noticed it in BTMS 50 or any products I make with it. I make a shampoo with the polyquat 10 but have not noticed the fishy smell in the final product. Maybe the rosemary and chamomile hydrosols I used in the recipe mask it, since they both have a pretty strong smell. I don't think I could use it if I had to smell that fishy smell every time I shampooed! Gag!