Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Experiments in the workshop: Behenyl alcohol in a conditioner (part 1)

I do love my conditioners, and I thought I'd experiment further with one I experimented with last October - my intense conditioner with all my conditioning agents! - by adding a little behenyl alcohol to the mix.

Point of interest: Adding a fatty alcohol to a cationic quaternary compound - like BTMS, BTMS-50, cetrimonium bromide, and others - boosts the substantivity of that compound by up to 50%. So it's a good thing to add a fatty alcohol - like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol, or lauric alcohol - so you get a more conditioning product!

If this all sounds like gibberish to you, I really encourage you to visit the hair care section to learn more about the chemistry/biology of our hair and how to make hair care products! Or better yet, spend some time with the hair care e-book! Yeah, it's a shameless plug, but all the proceeds go to fund our youth groups, and that's a great cause! 

70.5% water
2% hydrolyzed protein
2% cetrimonium chloride

7% Incroquat BTMS
3% Incroquat CR
4% cetrimonium bromide
4% ethylhexyl palmitate
3% behenyl alcohol (or other fatty alcohol of choice!)

2% panthenol
2% dimethicone
2% cyclomethicone
2% cationic polymer
1% fragrance or essential oil
0.5% to 1% preservative

Use the general conditioner making instructions for this recipe.

You'll notice that I added 3% behenyl alcohol to the heated oil phase and removed 3% water from the heated water phase. That's not normal...in a lotion. In a lotion, we'd have to recalculate the emulsifier and so on and make sure that we don't mess it up. We do have an emulsion going on here - both cetrimonium bromide and BTMS-50 are emulsifiers, and we are mixing oils and water together into a oil-in-water emulsion - but we don't have to be as worried as we would be with a lotion. If you look at the oil phase in this product we see we have about 15% oil phase and about 11% emulsifiers (cetab and BTMS-50), so we're more than fine. Plus, Incroquat CR and cetrimonium chloride are okay emulsifiers, so we have an emulsifier festival going on here! So we can add some oil based ingredients to this product without it separating!

If you don't have all the ingredients listed here - and, let's be honest, who would? - then try adding it to your favourite conditioner recipe. Add up to 50% of your cationic quaternary compound amount in fatty alcohol, and remove 3% water. (Click here for the conditioner recipes on this blog!)

So what do I think of this product? Unfortunately, my hair doesn't like fatty alcohols in a conditioner! I have really oily hair, and adding another emollient to the mix isn't helping that condition. However, it did feel really nice when I used it. It feels more slippery to the touch, and there was a silkiness that felt really nice. My hair really seemed to like it - my frizz felt more tamed and I even got a few ringlets! - but I was oily by the next morning, and I can't be washing my hair every other day!

If you have dry hair, I think you'll really like behenyl alcohol in your conditioners. If you haven't tried making a conditioner with cetyl alcohol, do that first to see if your hair is happy before ordering behenyl alcohol. If you've been using cetyl alcohol, I think you're in for a treat!

Join me tomorrow for another conditioner with behenyl alcohol!


Dawn said...

How in the world do you retain all the science in your head! I want to learn more, but just reading that post I'm way out of my league. I find it fascinating when I'm reading it and then I want to apply it and I can't remember why.......grrr. Just frustrating being 56??

But keep them coming! I'm still learning a ton and having fun with your less complicated recipes....only because my cupboard is full (I'm running out of room for my hobby :( ) Keep the knowledge coming. Thanks!!

magoo said...

I have to say that I've made this formula with cetyl alcohol and now gonna try with behenyl. It is my favorite so far. My hair is fine and dry and this is the perfect conditioner after washing it with a homemade shampoo with shikakai, aritha, amla and a few other herbs. Also, using it after henna and indigo treatment is wonderful. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.