September 24, 2015

The Two Ingredients that Make Your Conditioner Work




 by Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals via Three Naturals

In a previous post we discussed the importance of conditioners to your hair care regimen. It is, in my opinion, the most important part. Given the role this product has in maintaining the health of our hair, we need to examine what we’ll likely find in conditioners that make them so important.

The main conditioning agent in conditioner is what’s called a cationic surfactant. Cations are positively charged particles and they are attracted to our negatively charged strands. They adsorb onto our hair meaning that they sit on our hair; they don’t penetrate. Additionally, they resist being washed off by water alone. They improve the hair’s softness, aid in detangling, help to seal the cuticle and make the hair more manageable.

Read On>>>

Common cationic surfactants include:
• Behentrimonium methosulfate
• Cetrimonium chloride
• Cetrimonium bromide
• Stearalkonium Chloride

Other cationic ingredients include the polymers. A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. A cationic polymer therefore is a positively charged polymer used in skincare and haircare to increase conditioning and softness. Due to the positive charge these types of polymers will adsorb to our skin and hair, forming films and resulting in the following to the hair after the product is rinsed from the hair:

• Increased moisture
• Enhanced softness
• More flattened (as opposed to lifted) cuticles
• Increased shine

Some cationic polymers are:
• Polyquaternium 7
• Polyquaternium 10
• Polyquaternium 4
• Polyquat 44
• Honeyquat

Do any of the conditioners you use contain any of the above ingredients?

How does your hair look and feel after you use them?

CN Says:

For more reading on conditioners and ingredients, check out the below:

Secrets to Super Slippery Conditioners

This article was originally published in July 2013 and has recently been updated for grammar and clarity. 

3 Weigh in!:

Anonymous said...

I have several conditioners (rinse off and deep conditioners) I have tried with behentrimonium methosulfate,cetrimonium chloride, and stearalkonium chloride. I also had some leave-ins in the past with polyquaternium 7 and 10. I like stearalkonium chloride because it makes my hair feel so darn good soft moisturized even after it is rinsed out. I remember when I pick up a deep conditioner from Ross that was 98 percent natural I read the ingredients to make sure. In the ingredient list I have several conditioners (rinse off and deep conditioners) I have tried with behentrimonium methosulfate,cetrimonium chloride, and stearalkonium chloride. I also had some leave-ins in the past with polyquaternium 7 and 10. I like stearalkonium chloride because it makes my hair feel so darn good soft moisturized even after it is rinsed out. I remember when I pick up a deep conditioner from Ross that was 98 percent natural I read the ingredients to make sure. In the ingredient list stearalkonium chloride was in the list this was my first time trying it out I loved it until it went bye-bye all gone I was sad because I picked up the last bottle I went back they do not have anymore.

Megan Montgomery

Anonymous said...

I have a few conditioners that contain at least two of Common cationic surfactants & when I rinse them out of my hair it's left feeling very soft. So now these particular conditioners I decide to leave in my hair works for my hair even better & I notice that I don't have to remosturize my hair as often.

Brooke B.

Annie L. said...

It's interesting these conditioning ingredients provide certain benefits and are positively charged and bentonite clay, which some people like and use as a cleanser and conditioner etc., is negatively charged.

I don't use conditioners anymore but my old bottle of KCKT (which is still sitting almost full in my shower $$$) has BTMS in it. Along with the other mucilaginous ingredients, it provides a ton of slip. I liked it at first but began to fall out of love with it as a leave-in and eventually even as a rinse-out. It felt somewhat drying if that makes any sense or maybe all the slip over-coated my hair and prevented moisture from getting in but I'd recommend as a rinse-out conditioner.

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