Monday, June 21, 2010

Conditioners: Special considerations for fine hair

If you're a fine haired girl, oils and moisturizers don't tend to be your friend. They can weigh your hair down and make your normally non-frizzy hair frizzy. You want a lot of light conditioning that rinses off easily! Consider using cream rinse type products over intense or rinse off conditioners, and consider using detanglers over leave in conditioners. If your hair is really fine, you might be able to use a leave in conditioner as a regular conditioner (you can use it outside of the shower and use before combing!).

Humectants may or may not be your friend - you'll have to decide that for yourself - and you'll probably find you like the hydrolyzed proteins that film form rather than penetrate, so you'll want to stock up on oat or soy protein instead of silk. (My best friend has fine hair and she hates silk, but anecdotes do not make data, so I can't say for sure what your hair will like!)

When making any of the recipes I've posted, always leave out the cetyl alcohol - it's way too moisturizing for your hair - and replace it with water. Although my fine-haired best friend finds the 7% BTMS recipes work well for her, you might want to reduce the BTMS or cetrimonium bromide to 3% or so and replace that missing amount with water. (Having said this, if you add cetrimonium chloride to your conditioner recipes, it will thin out dramatically, so I do suggest using 7% in that case.)

I have included low levels of silicones in this recipe as even fine haired girls like the gloss, sheen, and lubricity silicones have to offer. If you don't like them, then remove them and add 2% water to the heated water phase.

90% water or a combination of hydrosols, aloe vera, and water
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% humectant

3% BTMS-50 or cetrimonium bromide

1% cyclomethicone
1% dimethicone
0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance oil

You can use the alternate instructions for conditioners for this recipe as we don't have a very large oil phase! And I realize this is very close to being a leave-in conditioner - a little more BTMS in this recipe - so you can follow those recipes and add a little more BTMS or cetrimonium bromide if you wish.

Feel free to add all kinds of wonderful extracts and hydrosols if you choose. And if you have cetrimonium chloride, add it at 2% in the cool down phase and take out 2% water.

As for leave in conditioners, I'd suggest using a detangler if you really need to get rid of knots! Join me for fun formulating leave in conditioners and detanglers over the next few days!


Daniel said...

Hi Susan!

I was considering incorporating some Incroquat CR to this recipe. What do you thnk a good starting point would be 3-4%? Could I leave the BTMS-50 at 3% as well, or do you think that it would become too heavy for fine hair? Thank you in advance!!!



Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Daniel! I encourage you to check out the posts on fine hair that you can find in the hair care section of the blog. I've written about using Incroquat CR in that section.

Ruth said...

Hi Susan! Is this conditioner supposed to be very thin, like a spray on? I made this replacing BTMS with behentrimonium chloride (hard to source BTMS in Australia!), without the hydrolysed protein, and added 2% centrimonium chloride. I started with 3% behentrimonium chloride before reading your comment to try 7% as the centrimonium chloride thins it out. But both of them come out very liquid. Just wondering if I've done something wrong or whether my substituted cat quat compound is an issue... am new to making hair products! Thanks in advance. I love your blog!

Ruth said...

Hi again
As an update to my previous comment, the conditioner using 7% did thicken a little but is still quite runny. I looked up supplier info re the behentrimonium chloride I used to replace the BTMS and notice it includes alcohol and water - I'm thinking I will try to find BTMS and try again!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Ruth. Using cetrimonium chloride and BTMS together results in a much thinner product than using just BTMS. The original recipe at 3% is intended to be quite thin. I'm not sure what emulsifier you are using - I've never heard of one with water - but that might make a difference. Most behentrimonium chloride/methosulfate blends contain a fatty alcohol as that boosts the conditioning power of the cationic ingredient.

Ruth said...

Thanks Susan.
This is the behentrimonium chloride I used:

CaribbeanBlue said...

Dear Swift Crafty Monkey,

The first time I made the Light Conditioner for Fine Hair, it turned out very well; but the second time, I added some Fractionated Coconut Oil, and it not only took longer to thicken and emulsify, but remained more watery – like a slightly thickened liquid. Last time it thickened enough to not drip off your finger.

I was wondering if you've any idea what went wrong? (I wondered if I should've increased the BTMS-50...)

Here's my recipe:

74% distilled water
10% aloe vera
2% hydrolyzed quinoa protein
2% glycerin
3% BTMS-50
5% Fractionated Coconut Oil
1% cyclomethicone
1% dimethicone 350 cs
1% Optiphen
1% Lavender essential oil

Here's my process:

I weighed the Heated Oil Phase in a small Pyrex container. Then I boiled the measured Distilled Water, and mixed it with the Heated Oil Phase.
Then I added the Heated Water Phase ingredients into the Pyrex container, and put the container in a small pot filled with water to create a double-boiler.
I heated and held the mixture at 70C for 20 minutes, then I removed it from heat and mixed it well. I let it cool to 38 C to 41 C before I added the Cool Down Phase ingredients (to prevent the Optiphen from destabilizing the emulsification). Then I mixed it well again, and set it aside to cool to room temperature.

I was also wondering if the conditioners effectiveness will remain the same whether it thickens or not?

Thank you so much!
~ CaribbeanBlue

Holly Dunaway said...

Would love to know if you have any advice for turning this recipe into a bar? I'm very new to the chemical composition of hair products and your blog is amazing!! (Even if it makes my head spin.) I've looked at your other bar recipes but got confused as to what I should and shouldn't use and what's available in my area. Any advice for a basic conditioner "bar" that's not too complicated?