Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Blast from the past: Silicone replacements...

I've read the e-mails and the comments and I know some of you are seeking alternatives to silicones. Fortunately, you can find ingredients that will offer the same kind of conditioning, slip, film forming, and shine enhancing qualities of dimethicone to include in your hair or skin care products. (You really can't mimic the effects of cyclomethicone...)

What do silicones bring to a hair conditioner?

Cyclomethicone is a volatile ingredient that...
  • helps hair dry faster
  • increases spreading abilities
  • helps with wet combing (reduces combing forces)
  • delivers active ingredients to your hair, then evaporates, which decreases drying time
Dimethicone forms a film on your hair which...
  • improves wet and dry combing (reduces combing forces)
  • increases shine
  • increases the feeling of softness
  • reduces static charge
  • increases spreading abilities
  • resists humidity
So if you want to replace these ingredients, you need to find replacements that are going to bring the same features to the party. So you'll want something very lubricious (spreading abilities) that will form a film on your hair strands to decrease anti-static charge and improves wet and dry combing.

You can use oils and butters to help form a film on your hair strands or add shine to your hair. Unfortunately, some of these may also cause your hair to be quite greasy and limp, so consider using very light oils like fractionated coconut oil or jojoba (I realize this isn't light, but it is very good for your hair!) or camellia oil. Butters are probably right out for anyone without very coarse hair.

Seriously consider using coconut oil if you have dry hair or really trashed ends. It's amazing stuff, and study after study has shown that it has an affinity for the proteins in our hair, leaving it incredibly moisturized. (Click here for more ideas on how to use it in hair care products.) 

Hydrolyzed proteins are great for forming films, but you'll want to increase the amount to about 5% in your conditioners.

Emollient esters like PEG 7 olivate will form a film and increase shine. Something like IPM (isopropyl myristate) another ester, will reduce the greasy feeling of too much butters or oils.

And fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, or cetearyl alcohol will form a film on your hair strands and will increase the conditioning power of your cationic quaternary compound.

If you're an oily haired girl, you might want to skip the oils and esters and go straight for the hydrolyzed proteins. If you're a dry haired girl, the oils might be exactly what you want. And normal haired women - well, you can do what you want because you've got normal hair!

This is a job for Incroquat CR! It's great at reducing static charge! So you might want to include 2 to 3% Incroquat CR in every conditioner you make.

This is the goal of every conditioner, so you might want to consider increasing your main conditioning agent, or adding a secondary agent like cetrimonium chloride or a cationic polymer like condition-eze 7 or honeyquat.

C12-15 alkyl benzoate is a dry, emollient, oil soluble ester like IPM that can offer some qualities similar to dimethicone in hair care products. Use at 1 to 15% in your hair care products. (This is a great substitute for IPM in other products, but costs a lot more if you live in Canada!)

Consider also ethylhexyl palmitate as a silicone replacement. It's lighter feeling than C12-15 alkyl benzoate, so it won't weigh down your hair, and it's considered a good dimethicone replacement. (I've tried it in my conditioners. I like it, but it does make my oily hair get greasy faster.)

Croda has a product called Crodamol STS (superior to silicone INCI: PPG-3 Benzyl ether myristate). It's an ester that offers film forming, shine enhancing, and detangling like dimethicone. It should also take care of those annoying frizzies! Unlike other esters, though, it is not water soluble. It will disperse in surfactant systems if you use under 3%.

As a note, I have tried this product and for my extra frizzy hair, it didn't help as much as the dimethicone. But if you have not so frizzy hair, this might be a great option for you!

Silicone SR-5 by Preperse (INCI name : C13-C16 Isoparaffin (and) C12-C14 Isoparaffin (and) C13-C15 Alkane) is a silicone replacement derived from mineral oil. I am not sure of the usage rates, but I'm going to try it at 4% in my next conditioner! (As a note, I have no idea where to buy this. I received it as a sample!) 

I have some of this in the workshop, but I haven't had time to experiment. I'll report my results in the near future. Update: I really didn't think it measured up to dimethicone for keeping the frizzies away. 

And AquaEm (INCI: PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides (and) Dimethicone PEG-8 Benzoate (and) Di-PPG-2 Myreth-10 Adipate, The Herbarie) is apparently another good option as a silicone replacement. Suggested usage is 1% to 10%. I have not used this product, so I can't offer my opinion on how it feels or usage rates. Let me know if what you think!

To include your silicone replacements in your favourite conditioner, I'd suggest starting at 4% (to replace the 2% cyclomethicone and 2% dimethicone) and see how you like it.

So to modify a conditioner to include some of the features above...

3% Incroquat CR (for the anti-static and softness)
2% cetyl alcohol (or other fatty alcohol)
5% phytokeratin (or the hydrolyzed protein of your choice...I've used this one because it offers corn, soy, and wheat protein, some of which will penetrate the hair strand, some won't)
2% condition-eze 7 or honeyquat (dry and wet combing)
2% cetrimonium chloride (dry and wet combing)
2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative (Tinosan is not an option for this cationic mixture)
water to 100%

Boil your distilled water. Weigh the BTMS, Incroquat CR, fatty alcohol, phytokeratin, condition-eze or honeyquat, cetrimonium chloride, and water into a heat proof container and put into a double boiler. Heat and hold for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool to 45C. Add the panthenol, fragrance oil, and preservative and allow to cool before bottling.

7% Incroquat BTMS
3% Incroquat CR
5% phytokeratin
2% cationic polymer
2% cetrimonium chloride
4% liquid ester or oil or up to 8% shea, jojoba, camellia, sea buckthorn

2% panthenol
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative (Tinosan is not appropriate for this product)
water to 100%


2% Incroquat BTMS
2% condition-eze 7 or celquat H-100 or honeyquat (cationic polymer)
2% cetrimonium chloride (for detangling)
4% glycerin (humectant, makes the mixture thicker, which is nice)
1% aloe vera (I don't know if this little makes a difference, but I use it anyway)
4% hydrolyzed protein (increased from 1%)1% panthenol
4% ester or oil of choice (new addition)
OR 4% silicone replacement product of your choice1% fragrance oil
.5% to 1% preservative (I use liquid germall plus)
water to 100%

Weigh the BTMS, cetac, glycerin, aloe vera, hydrolyzed protein, ester or oil, and water into a heat proof container and put into a double boiler until the ingredients melt. Mix well and leave to stand until the temperature reaches 45C, mixing occasionally. Add the panthenol, silicone replacement (if you're using one), fragrance oil, and preservative at this time, and mix well. When the mixture is at room temperature, bottle in a spray bottle.

Link to The Herbarie's Incroquat CR Conditioner with Liprosilk (Crodomol STS).
Link to The Herbarie's Super Silky Hair Conditioner (Crodomol STS).

As always, I encourage you to play with your favourite conditioner recipe to find the silicone replacement product that works for you!


bradfield said...

I have seen a product from COGNIS, CETIOL C5 which I understand is a light emollient that they say is a natural replacement for Cyclomethocone have you tried this at all ?

Christine Higgins-Reid said...

I would also like to know more about Cetiol C5 as I have some, but unsure of the usage rate and what it actually does for the hair in practice. Could you shine some light on this?

Michelle said...

Hello Susan,

Thank you for the wonderful has a alot of information.

I had a quick question concerning where you purchase your Crodamol STS?

Thank you so much.


Fanny said...

Incroat BMTS and BTMS are the same thing?? The conditioner for oily hair use BTMS, but the dry one Incroat BTMS. You have a post with the exact procedure for the conditioners? Is like hand mande soaps? Boil water, and add a part, blend and add the remain? Thanks

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Fanny! Incroquat BTMS and BTMS might be the same thing. You can find Incroquat BTMS-50 and Incroquat BTMS-25, which aren't the same thing, and you can find Rita BTMS-225, which is the same as Incroquat BTMS-25, meaning it has 25% the active ingredient. (I go into more detail about these ingredients in their specific posts.) And yes, we use the same process for conditioners every time - heated water phase, heated oil phase, cool down phase - and the process is the same for lotions or anything that has a water phase and an oil phase.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Michelle! I got mine as a sample a while ago, so I'm sorry that I can't offer any information there. I'm putting it into this weekend's Weekend Wondering to see if anyone can help!

LAILA said...

How to differentiate frizzy hair from dry hair, also why do I have loads of fly aways!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Laila. Check out the hair care section of the blog to see the answers to your questions!

Melanie Klar said...

I make a deodorant that I love but it has cyclodimethicone in it-and lots. I don't mind it, but I would like to make some for my sister and she doesn't want to use silicones. How would the crodamol do in that situation? I use 22% triglyceride, 16% cetyl alcohol, 2% shea butter, 2% castor oil, 15% zinc rincinoleate, 8% tapioca starch, 35% cyclo-dimethicone, .5% fragrance.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Melanie. All you can do is make a small batch and try it! Let us know how it turns out!

Lizzie B said...

I found a product for sale named SABODERM CV (Coco Caprylate) which is, I quote...
'Particularly designed to offer a good alternative to volatile silicones like cyclomethicone'and'is a fast spreading emollient & emulsifier'.
It also replaces CETIOL 05 in their range (Soap Kitchen, UK)
Do you know how I may use this product and at what percentage please Susan?
I have emailed the company retailing it, but they didn't seem to know how to use it and said they would get back to me when they spoke to the makers of SABODERM CV. I'm still waiting for a reply 2 weeks later ...
Hope you can help Susan!
PS Bought & downloaded the 'Lotion 101' book from you....Brilliant indepth info, I recommend to all!!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lizzie. Here's the post I wrote on coco caprylate caprate. I don't have a ton of information on this specific ester, and I don't know the specifics of how to use it instead of a silicone. I would suggest trying it at 1:1 substitution for the silicone and seeing if you like it. Have you heard back from the supplier?

Lizzie B said...

Hi Susan,
I decided to purchase both Cyclomethicone & Saboderm CV and try them side by side.
The supplier states the usage rates for SABODERM CV is 2-25% for a more natural alternative to cyclomethicone and to create dry hair/body oils, etc.
My simple recipes were for body/hair oil were :
88% fractionated coconut oil,
10% Saboderm CV
2% fragrance.
This felt really silky soft on skin with no greasy residue, just a pleasant glistening effect. It spread into the skin easily.

Silicone recipe:
92% fractionated coconut oil
6% Cyclomethicone
2% fragrance oil
This rubbed in very well and was very quickly absorbed but personally for me felt a little 'too dry' on the skin. My winter parched skin needs more nourishment!
It was however, ideal as a hair gloss as it was so light.

I definitely preferred the feeling of the Saboderm version of dry body oil overall.
Saboderm costs around twice the price of cyclometicone but its well worth it. (around £3.35 for 100ml ~ I'm in the UK)
I also purchased pumpkin seed oil & sesame oils as they seemed like a good choice for winter parched/dry skin.
Could you suggest a percentage so I could add them to my dry body oils for extra moisturising properties but without feeling too heavy?
Thanks Susan & Happy New Year!!

Patricia Solis said...

how would you replace Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer in a dry product?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Patricia. I'd need to know what kind of product this was and the full ingredient list to help.

Natasha Sheppard said...

Hi Susan,

I tried to replace the silicones (2% cyclomethicone and 2% dimethicone) in my recipe by doing the following:
- increase water by 1%
- increase hydrolyzed protein by 1%
- addition of fractionated coconut oil at 1% (reading your blog, I saw this has the same HLB value of 5 like dimethicone)
- increased BTMS-25 by 1%

Water phase = 81% (71% water & 10% aloe)
Emulsifier = 4% total
Oil phase = 15% (Remainder)

By removing the silicones in the cool-down phase, it has made my leave-in conditioner even thinner! I didn't think that would be possible even when increasing the emulsifier. Note: BTMS25 was only 3% before and was the perfect consistency.

1) Why did it get thinner?
2) Is it better to just replace the silicones with water? Will that keep the same consistency (as water does not have an HLB value)?
3) Is there anyway I can thicken a conditioner after it has reached the final cool-down phase?

After writing this, I have kept EVERYTHING the same except replaced 2% dimethicone with fractionated coconut oil (same HLB) and replaced cyclomethicone directly with water. I'll see how this goes *fingers crossed*

Would still like to know your feedback to my questions however, thank-you!

- Natasha

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Natasha! Without your complete formula in percentages and your exact process, I can't really offer much help. Leave in conditioners are supposed to be thin, able to be sprayed out through a mister. If you want a thicker product, may I refer you to the hair care section of the blog for formulas with more BTMS-50?