Monday, December 27, 2010

Substitutions: Figuring out what's important in a conditioner

If you want to make a recipe, but don't have all the ingredients, substitute...with one exception - the cationic quaternary compound or conditioning agent.

Identify the cationic quaternary compound (usually Incroquat BTMS-50, but sometimes Incroquat BTMS-25, cetrimonium bromide, or cetrimonium chloride) and make sure you don't substitute that for something else. A conditioner is not a conditioner if it lacks the cationic quaternary compound.

For instance, I made my first conditioner with 7% BTMS-50, 0.5% preservative, and water. That's it! And that qualifies as a conditioner!

You cannot substitute Incroquat BTMS-50 for Polawax or e-wax in a conditioner recipe. The emulsifying waxes are non-ionic or neutrally charged; the cationic quaternary compounds are cationic or positively charged, which is what makes them conditioners. If you use an e-wax in a conditioning recipe, you've made a lovely lotion but it's not a conditioner.

You cannot leave the cationic quaternary compound or conditioning agent out of the recipe. I know it's hard to find cetrimonium chloride, but if you have a recipe in which it is the only conditioning agent, then leaving it out means you don't have a conditioner. Find another conditioning agent - a cationic polymer would work for things like light leave in conditioner or use another cationic quaternary compound - but don't leave it out entirely.

For instance in this recipe (click here for full post), if you leave out the cetrimonium chloride you have water with some preservative and fragrance. Instead, find another cationic ingredient like BTMS-50 (for a thicker leave in conditioner) or use a cationic polymer in its place.

3% cetrimonium chloride
95% water

0.5% to 1% preservative
1% fragrance oil

You can substitute the silicones for other ingredients - click here for that post - and the hydrosols with water and one protein for another (or leave it out entirely), but the positively charged conditioning agents are vital!

Join me tomorrow for more fun with cosmetic chemistry!


papi said...

Hi Susan! Thx 4 all the insiration u give us :*
unfortunatelly I can't find BTMS here and I'm wondering if there's anything else t use, maybe something more naturall?! I have to say that I liked the idea of a solid conditioner and when I first saw your post I tried it immideatlly with ewax!! I don't know why but I liked it on my hair..of course it doesn't conditions like the others.maybe it's just my idea...!
I also want to know why grapfruit seed extract cannot used as a preservative, I make creams for me and my friends and I make small batches using GSE and vit E. I know that vit C is a preservative essential oils and ethyl alcohol too, what's your opinion? If we use all or some of them can't we succed a preservation for a self like of 3 months at least??
Last question!! I make liquid soap can I use something in it so it can be used as a shampoo? I sometimes use it but I have to use vinegar rinsed and conditioner. Is citric acid solution the solution?! Or I can use some cream in the liquid soap to make it more "soft" for hair?
Too many questions, I hope there are not all stupid!
Thnx for your time ;)
I wish you and your family all the best for the new year! :)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi papi. You can try another cationic quaternary compound like Incroquat BTMS-25 or cetrimonium bromide. There is nothing more natural that can take the place of the cationic quaternary compound - they don't occur naturally, so they are synthesized ingredients. (Click here for the discussion on "what does natural mean?")

E-wax is not a substitute for the cationic quaternary compound as it is neutrally charged or non-ionic and doesn't condition your hair. It might feel nice if you are making a lotion for your hair with it, but it isn't adsorbing to your hair strand. (Click here for the post on adsorption and substantivity.)

GSE is not a preservative for a number of reasons. The only preserving power seems to come from the preservatives they use to preserve the GSE. It can behave as an anti-oxidant, but not a preservative. I've written a post on the topic here.

Vitamin C is not a preservative, it is an click here for that post) because the pH is too high. I don't make soap, so I can't give you ideas on how to reduce the pH, but if you read the post, you'll see my argument on why not to use it.

papi said...

Thank u Susan :)
As for the "natural" preservatives I have alredy read the links but I thought that it could be a nice idea if we use everything I mention. Or even if we use citricidal as the only preservative it can preseve as the others(ie.germaben) but with the corporation of some natural ingredients.
I can't follow your last link(the one with soap)but I'm gonna look for it.
Thaaaaanks again! :)

Linda H said...

Hello, just wanted to let you know that I noticed that the Conservatorie also started to carry centrimonium chloride now.