Friday, January 16, 2015

What's important in a conditioner? Part two...

As we discovered yesterday, we can make a conditioner with only a few ingredients - the cationic emulsifier like Incroquat BTMS-50, water, and a preservative. We can make it a little more substantive and emollient by adding a fatty alcohol like cetyl alcohol

Let's take a look at another conditioner recipe (taken from this post)!

7% Incroquat BTMS-50
3% coconut oil
2% cetrimonium chloride

78.5% distilled water
2% quaternized rice protein

2% pisum sativum peptide
2% dimethicone
2% panthenol
0.5% liquid Germall Plus (or preservative of choice)
1% fragrance oil (white chocolate, as usual!)

We start with the Incroquat BTMS-50, which is our positively charged ingredient. It also behaves as an emulsifier so we can add oils, silicones, and other oil soluble ingredients.

Coconut oil is an emollient, and it's there as a moisturizer. You can use any oil you like in a conditioner, but I prefer to use coconut oil as there are many studies showing that it has an affinity for hair's protein, and that it can penetrate the hair strand. It's one of the least expensive oils you can buy, and it has a shelf life of two years, which is awesome.

Cetrimonium chloride is another postively charged ingredient that offers great detangling and combability to my hair. I use it because my hair tangles easily. I use it at 2% because it seems to be the optimal amount for detangling my hair. I can use more - up to 5% - but it seems like I don't need more than that.

Quaternized rice protein is a cationic polymer or another positively charged ingredient. This one isn't an emulsifier, but will still be substantive to our hair. Why include this when I have already included two other positively charged ingredients? Because it offers another level of film forming on my hair strand, and it will help reduce combing and electrostatic forces and increase lubricity of our hair, leaving it easier to comb, less likely to tangle, and less likely to break. You can use any cationic polymer you like in this application.

Pisum sativum peptide is a hydrolyzed protein from a type of pea. It works like other proteins in that it is a film former and moisturizer, It is supposed to hydrate hair as well as wheat hydrolysate (hydrolyzed protein), it behaves as an anti-oxidant, and it increases your hair's diameter. If you don't have this one, use another hydrolyzed protein, like silkoat, Phytokeratin, and so on.

Dimethicone is a silicone that I have included as it improves wet and dry combing, helps with shine, improves hair feel (softness), reduces static charge, and works as a humidity resistor. It is a great ingredient to reduce frizz.

Cyclomethicone is another silicone that is deposited at the surface of the hair or skin and spreads uniformly over the surface, coating the hair shaft or skin. It's going to bring the other ingredients along for the ride, which means your products will glide nicely and coat the desired area with a thin film.

Panthenol is a fantastic addition at 2% to 5%. It builds a thin moisture film on the surface of your hair (film former) and makes it shine without oil or greasiness. In addition, it can penetrate the cuticle of your hair and brings moisture to the cortex! This means you get good manageability and pliability of your hair, and it is better able to cope with brushing, wind, and other non-hair friendly things. Finally, it could give your hair more body! Studies have shown that 2% left on for 2 minutes can actually swell the hair shaft, making it seem thicker! (So use it up to 5% in your conditioner or leave in conditioner!)

Liquid Germall Plus is my preferred preservative, included because any time we have water, we have to have a preservative. You can choose any preservative that is suitable for positively charged, oil-in-water emulsions.

What does this all mean? It means that you have to figure out for yourself what kind of conditioner you want to make. As we saw yesterday, you can make a very basic, good conditioner with the cationic emulsifier, water, and preservative, but you might make something better with a few extra ingredients. You don't need to use all of these ingredients to make a great product for your hair - I like these ingredients, but you might like other ones - and knowing what they bring to the party means you can include them or not. It really is up to you!

Make a conditioner with nothing but the basics and a protein, if you wish. Make a conditioner with loads of oils, proteins, cationic polymers, and silicones, if you wish. Make a conditioner with all the things or none of them - it's really your choice. The key is to learn what each ingredient brings to the party so you can decide what you want and what you don't want!

Related posts:
Hair care section of the blog - loads of conditioner recipes there!
Making a coconut oil liquid conditioner
Making a coconut oil and pisum sativum liquid conditioner


Elizabeth said...

Hi Susan
Thanks for the great information. Can I please ask are there any formulation differences needed to make a conditioner suitable for a professional salon? I was just curious about what separates everyday-type conditioners from higher end lines.

With kind regards

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Elizabeth. The short answer is hype. There are no differences between salon and drug store brands in terms of formulation.

Anonymous said...

hello Susan,
What is the difference between using cetac at 2% or 5% will it affect how the hair feels. let's suppose, african american hair tangles more because it is drier and frizzer would you recommend using more cetac up to 5%?

Anonymous said...

I had the same question in mind because i am attending cosmetology school and the teachers swear that redken whatever is better than the one from a drugstore or walmart.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Rosi! I would suggest starting at 2% CETAC and seeing how your hair likes it. It's hard to make a generalization that all hair types need more or all hair types need less as some people don't like it at all!

As for whether salon products are better, you will find it hard to find someone who will say they are similar. But they really are. I'm not saying every drug store product is great, but then again, not every salon brand is great.

The people in the salon are educated by the product manufacturers and told that these products are "better" than store brands, but how are they better? Ask your instructors to tell you how they are better than the drug store brands. Are they more concentrated? Do they contain more ingredients? Do they contain more botanicals? Do they contain more conditioning agents? Do they clean your hair more effectively? And, if so, how does the shampoo work differently than the one in the drug store? And even if they do have more conditioning agents, does this make the product better? What does better even mean? And so on...

Look at Wen. There are people who swear by this product as the only one that works to "cleanse" your hair. But you can use any other conditioner you want. It has a similar make up to a Suave product that costs $3. So why does it cost so much? Hype! (Check out my comparison between Wen and Neutrogena in this post.)

Claire said...

Hi Susan,
I guess I'm a bit too late for this conditioner discussion. BTMS is bar none my favorite ingredients in conditioner. Will you discuss on how to make this into solid bar, instead of liquid conditioner? Would a regular recipe, sans the addition of water, and perhaps with the addition of soild-at-room-temp waxes/oils/butters, work? Many thanks in advance!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Claire. You're never too late to a discussion! We're having lively discussions on posts from 2009!

Have you looked at the posts I've written on conditioners bars, which can be found in the hair care section of the blog? I've written pretty extensively about them, and have included a visual tutorial as well. Was that the information you were seeking, or did you want more? Let me know!

Bunny said...

Thanks for answering my simple shampoo question!

So I have a second question, and/or a new ingredient I'd like to know about! I just ran out/placed an order for new supplies, and in the interim picked up some conditioner from the store-- Herbal Essences "The Sleeker The Butter" which advertises "the botanical cure-all from the depths of the Amazon, cupuacu butter". (Yeesh, what a statement!) But I've always wanted to try cupuacu butter, so I bought it...

...and when I get home I realize it's only SCENTED like cupuacu, it doesn't actually have any in it! DOUBLE YEESH. It's a pretty simple formula: stearyl alcohol, BTMS, cetyl alcohol and-- what I glanced at in-store and misread as cupuacu-- coffee fruit extract. What exactly is coffee fruit extract and what purpose would it serve in a conditioner?

Thanks for continuing to be super awesome! =)

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Bunny! Could this be the information you seek - Paula's Choice information. It seems like it's an anti-oxidant?

Anonymous said...

It's always a pleasure to read your posts! What an enjoyable way to learn about chemistry! A subject that I used to hate at school and now am trully fascinated by! Thank you!

Selena said...

Hi Susan! :) Thank you so much for all of your lovely help and advice <3

Could you please tell me if this coconut oil recipe would work as a co-wash (every other day to every 2 days) on normal to slightly oily hair?

Heated oil phase:
3% coconut oil

Heated water phase:
62.8% distilled water
20% rose hydrosol
2% hydrolyzed oat protein

Cool down phase:
2% panthenol
3% advanced aloe leucidal
0.2% citric acid

Thank youu! - Selena

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Selena. I'm afraid I don't know. It'll depend upon your hair type and your desired hair feeling after using it. If I used this instead of shampoo, I'd have an oily mess on my hands beause I have oily hair. All you can do is make a small batch and try it.

As a thought, why aren't you wanting to use shampoo on normal to slightly oily hair? Just curious...