Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Newbie Tuesday: Let's get ready to make conditioners!

I think conditioners are the most asked about product on this blog, so let's make one from scratch. We will first make a basic recipe, then we'll tweak it over the next few weeks for different hair types.

Which recipe should we choose? Conditioners can be made with up to 10% conditioning agent - Incroquat BTMS-50, Incroquat BTMS-25, Rita BTMS-225, or cetrimonium bromide - water, and preservative, but we will want something that contains more ingredients that we can customize to our hair type! I think we'll go with the basic liquid conditioner recipes found in this post and work our way up to making a more intense conditioner with higher levels of the cationic quaternary compounds and an oil or butter.

  • a scale that can weigh 1 gram (available at supply stores or places like London Drugs in the culinary aisle)
  • 2 heat proof containers - one for your oil phase, one for your water phase - Pyrex jugs are good for this purpose, and a 2 - two cup Pyrex jugs would be ideal. 
  • a double boiler (make one up on the stove with a pot with warm water)
  • a thermometer (a candy thermometer works really well here)
  • spoons (metal ones...)
  • mixer (with beater attachments) or a stick blender
  • a notebook and pen/pencil. Print out the lotion recipe and make extensive notes while you craft!
7% Incroquat BTMS-50 or other cationic quaternary compound of choice

92.5% water

0.5% liquid Germall plus or 1% Germaben II or preservative of choice

  • a cationic quaternary compound - Incroquat BTMS-50, Incroquat BTMS-25, Rita BTMS-225, cetrimonium bromide, and so on. I don't recommend using Incroquat CR as the primary ingredient in a conditioner as it's more of a cream rinse ingredient than a conditioning ingredient. 
  • a preservative - we don't make things around here without a preservative. 
  • a jar or bottle - for the basic conditioner, you'll want to use a bottle. For anything with a butter or oil in it, you might want to consider a jar. 
  • a jug of distilled water - we like to use distilled water to reduce contamination. 
  • a fatty alcohol - cetyl, cetearyl, or behenyl alcohol to add more moisturizing. I recommend using this if you have dry hair. Normal and oily hair don't necessarily need more moisturizing. 
  • an oil or butter - if you want more moisturizing, you might like to include an oil. Any oil, including ones from the grocery store, will do. Coconut oil is the best choice and it's really inexpensive. 
  • a hydrolyzed protein - I suggest hydrolyzed silk protein for dry and very dry hair, but not for frizzy hair. Find one you think you'll like - hydrolyzed oat protein is nice - and use that at 2% in the heated water phase. 
  • a humectant - if you have frizzy hair, don't bother with a humectant as you'll just make things worse. If you have dry hair, definitely get a good humectant in there. I suggest glycerin as it's inexpensive or something like honeyquat because it offers conditioning as well. 
  • panthenol - it's been shown to be awesome in our hair care products to help form films and offer moisturizing. (It's optional.) 
  • silicones - dimethicone and cyclomethicone are good additions to our products to help with reduction of frizzies, creating a barrier for water loss, and increasing shine. If you don't want to use silicones, leave them out or find a silicone replacement. (Check out this post for ideas for replacements.)
I recommend taking a stroll through the hair care section of the blog so you can learn more about hair products and types. Then take a look at this post on conditioners so you can get a sense of what you want to include in a product. Finally, check out this post on the process of making a conditioner. 

We are going to start with the basic recipe. I know you want to get to the modifying as soon as you can, but you really need to know how the basic conditioner feels to be able to modify it. Please please please  take my advice here - if you start with a hundred different ingredients, how do you know what is doing what?

And if all goes well, I should have a video to accompany this project! 

Now you know what we plan to make, please post whatever questions you might have in this thread and we'll address them next week on September 11th, then we'll make our basic conditioner on September 18th. You let me know how it went and I'll post your comments and suggestions for September 25th, then we'll start with the variations on October 2nd!

If you really can't wait, here's a bunch of information on the ingredients, process, and a ton of recipes


melian1 said...

would you also address the dimethicone issue? there are a lot of different ones out there. which ones are the best for hair? what do we look for in the dimethicone for hair (as opposed to skin in a lotion)? i don't understand the "weight" part of it either.

i have two on hand, one is thick (the consistency of castor oil or karo syrup), and one that is more like a normal oil. help?

canfieldfive said...

I have a long rambling question: I have the Conditioning Emulsifier from MMS (Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol) and the BTMS-50 (Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetyl Alcohol and Butylene Glycol) from Brambleberry. What will these do differently for my hair? (I plan to use Cetyl Alcohol in my conditioner as well, but no silicones.)

Thank you! -Cheyenne

Nanci Williams said...

Susan thanks for the blog
as i look to obtain my products may i use something like this Silk hydrolysate and this contains leucidal
will i need an additonal preservative for the formula


thanks for your help

Anonymous said...

Susan, humectant is not good for frizzy hair, but is good for dry hair, is there a difference? To me frizziness and driness walk hand in hand, so how do i know and if i have both, use or not use humectant. Sorry i don't understand the difference and thanks for your williness to respond.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Nancy. You will need to preserve your formula as there is only enough preservative in the silk ingredient as is necessary to preserve that ingredient.

Hi melian! Great idea! I did write a bit about the different weights in the post on dimethicone, but I could revisit it!

Dimethicone is rated by c.s. or centistrokes. The higher the c.s., the thicker you'll find your dimethicone. 350 c.s. is considered as thick as mineral oil (so thicker than shampoo, but not as thick as ketchup), whereas dimethicone 1000 c.s. is going to be as thick as motor oil (so thicker than ketchup, but not as thick as molasses). So why should you care about the centistrokes? The lower the centistrokes, the quicker surface coverage...so if you have the 350 c.s., it is going to spread quicker than the 1000 c.s.

So why use the 1000 c.s. (like I do in my hair care products)? Because it will form a nicer, more long lasting barrier for hair in humidity, for instance. I like to use the 350 c.s. in body care products; 1000 c.s. in hair care products.

Hi Canfieldfive. I will address this in a post. Good question!

Hi Rosi. I will address your question in a post. Again, good question!

Nanci said...

Thanks Susan - So if I decide to go with the oat and silk from this place (Included link) then I will just need to add additonal preservative from Formula? Is this correct? Thanks for your help. I appreciate it!


Diane said...

Oh Susan - what's the difference between a creme rinse and a conditioner? I bought a pound (!) of Incroquat CE from the HErbarie on sale and I'm bound to use it in this lifetime =)
I made a basic product from 85% water, 8% InCE and 6% BTMS CE (<1% Germall, some EO) which was overall very nice, though there was a bit of clinginess, hard to get it all out-but is that a bad thing?

questions, questions! my main question is to wonder what the essential difference is betwen the two products.
Thanks very much fr yr attn.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Diane. What's the INCI for the conditioner you bought from the Herbarie? That will help me figure this out for you!

As for creme rinse vs. conditioner, check out the hair care section of the blog for this post on conditioners: cream rinses where you can find recipes and definitions!

Diane said...

It's ceteryl alcohol and PEG-40 Castor oil and Stearalkonium Chloride

Diane said...

right - lazy me; I've got the e-book. There's even a section on it (probably how I came up with that recipe). I'm still hazy on the difference between the CR and the conditioner - isn't that what a CR is supposed to do: condition?
Thanks, Susan!

Diane said...

ok, never mind - l. m. again. Got it.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Diane. Incroquat CR is a conditioner, but it's not the great conditioner you'll find in BTMS-25, BTMS-50, or BTMS-225.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rosi! Check out your question in this post - Is frizzy hair always dry hair?

Email me so I can send you a copy of whichever e-book you want!