Hair Conditioner Recipe (and THEORY)

Hair Conditioner Recipe


Hello ๐Ÿ˜€
Today I would like to show you a basic recipe for a good Hair Conditioner ๐Ÿ™‚
The formulation for a lotion and an hair conditioner are similar but not same: there are some basic differences that, if not followed, might make you fail.

There is still a Phase A and a Phase B BUT! while in the making of a lotion you add the heated Phase B to the heated Phase A… here you MUST do the opposite!
You must pour the Phase A into the Phase B. This is very important!

The second difference is that there is not a proper Phase C because every extra ingredient (which should be added when the Phase A and B are already emulsified and at room temperature) has to be added singularly… ONE BY ONE! ๐Ÿ™‚

Apart from these two big differences, however, everything else is quite same! ๐Ÿ™‚

Phase A:
Water to 100ย (explanationย HERE)
Glycerin 3
Guar Hydroxypropultrimonium Chloride 0.1 (this is a very good ingredient in a hair conditioner or even in a shampoo, but don’t use it at higher concentration than 0.1-0.15% – However if you don’t have it, you can use instead a water where you had infused Mallow or Flax Seeds)
Heat this phase up to 75ยฐ (absolutely check the termometer!)

Phase B:
Esterquat 8 (this is a CATIONIC emulsifier, therefore it is different from the emulsifiers which we have in our lotions. It is important that you use an emulsifier specifically for hair conditioning ๐Ÿ™‚ this substance in the specific is very good because it is eco-friendly ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
Jojoba oil 2
cetyl alcohol 3.5
stearic acid 1.5
Heat this phase up to 70ยฐ

“Phase C” (but remember you have to add them one by one and in this order)
Hydrolized wheat protein 3
Panthenol 1
Poliquaternium-7 2 (this enhances the conditioning ability. If you don’t have it you can skip it)
Preservative 0.5-0.6 (or whichever concentration the preservative you are using needs to be!)
Fragrance oil or Essential oil depending on your taste ๐Ÿ˜€


Have a great day!!! ๐Ÿ˜€



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34 thoughts on “Hair Conditioner Recipe (and THEORY)”

  1. I like read your blog.
    Please hely me! I can’ t understand how to calculate quantity of the emulsifier in the skin care product ( eg conditioner and lotion)? I understand the HLB system.
    But I want to use self- emulsifier.
    Thank You


    1. The HLB system works for non-ionic emulsifiers. For a conditioner you use cationic emulsifiers ๐Ÿ™‚

      If you want a formula using a self-emulsifier ingredient the best thing you can do is to follow the producer guidelines. They usually say the suggested percentage of use, the phase and so on.
      I find that most of the times the best thing to do is to simply experiment! For example: you have a self-emulsifying ingredient that you add to the oil phase B. If they suggest a percentage of use 3%-6% with oils 10%-25% of the formula and you want a lotion with 10% oils… You could try using 3% of emulsifier.
      The best thing would be keeping the oil phase stable and changing the emulsifier percentage in order to get a feel of the difference the emulsifier makes. ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. there are so many types of proteins
    oat protein soy protein wheat protein silk protein lupin protein jojoba protein rice protein etc…
    my question is
    how each of these should be used for different hair types ?
    can any of these make hair straighter?
    how each is different in its function for different hair types?
    can more than one type of protein be used when formulating a single hair product?
    which proteins would make a good combination?
    how would i formulate a protein treatment for different hair types?


  3. Hi I’m new to hair conditioner making. Few things I’d like to ask:
    1) how would you make the mentioned flax seed infusion?
    2) I’m just wondering whether these cationic emulsifiers can cause clogging to hair follicles at all, since from my understanding it can form cluster into the damaged cuticles. Or it doesn’t matter as long as I don’t use silicone based ingredients?
    3)after researching a few different websites, some suggested to adjust the ph to 3.5 for a more acidic solution which apparently can smooth out cuticles better, others say it is better to go within ph 5.5 to 6.2. Furthermore, I’m not sure what’s the best way in adjusting it. I tried in a recipe by adding citric acid powder, but the tiny bit of what I added already was strong enough to bring it down to ph 3…. I used it anyway just to try. It’s actually not bad!
    I also got told to add lye solution to it if I wanted to readjust the ph back to more alkaline. Although not quite sure how to do it, really. And confused with the % of solution and amount used for this. Not sure if you tried it or not? Your suggestion is greatly appreciated! Thx you!


    1. Flax seed infusion: boil them in a pan keeping them in a muslin and squeezing the gel out after few minutes.

      Hair follicles are on the scalp and cationic emulsifiers don’t clog the scalp. If you mean the protein strands, they cannot be clogged but coated. Silicons coat very well and sometimes build up, so that’s why they are considered bad from some people… but in all honesty they don’t damage the hair.
      Anyway cationic emulsifiers are something else and get washed off as long as you rinse them out well. But to have the conditioning effect you don’t want to rinse them out completely or you take away the purpose of applying them in thefirst place.

      An acid conditioner helps the cuticle of the hairs go down so make them more shiny. 3.5 sounds a little too acid (but it shouldn’t damage), pH 4.5-5 seem better to me.

      Adjust pH with citric acid but, specially if the quantity you made is small, a little goes a loooong way. Consider doluting citric in a small amount of water and add one drop at a time to be able to control the pH.
      Yes you could have adjusted with sodium hydroxide BUT this is even stronger. Make a 20% solution in water and add one drop at a time.
      However it is always best to never have to double adjust the pH because this creates salts in the formula.


  4. Hi while you are there hope u don’t mind me asking, why is that important adding phase A to B and not B to A? I have done both once with everything mixed in and heated altogether and still came out fine. Are you able to explain please? This again!


  5. Thank u so much for your reply!
    By the way, whats the % I should use if I was to make a citric acid solution?

    And are you saying that is more stable: making lotion is best to add B to A
    Conditioner is A to B?


    1. Citric is not as “strong” as sodium hydroxide (actually technically they are both a weak acid and a weak base) so just do by the eye. Having drops allows you to add less at a time than a tip of a spoon. That’s all.

      Also for lotions would be more stable to add A to B a little at a time until the phase inversion but because of the small quantities we make this cannot happen and it would risk becoming more unstable.
      For conditioners it is more likely that there will be less stability issues if we do so, so that’s why.
      I am afraid I made you more confused now ahahah ๐Ÿ˜€


  6. Haha u r right! Hahaha more confused with the A to B… or B to A… Hahaha… but thank u for clarifying the citric solution. I will try.


    1. What do you mean by “natural”?
      Nowadays there are some conditioning agents that are acocert approved but the best ones are not very well biodegradable (but that’s because of their way to work: if they work well as conditioning agents, they cannot be too good once they are in nature).


  7. by natural i mean naturally derived
    like btms is derived from vegetables and honeyquat is honey given a positive charge
    are there any conditioning agents derived from olives/olive oil???


    1. Everything is naturally derived and everything is chemical ๐Ÿ˜€
      I have heard something about an olive oil derived conditioning agent but it doesn’t work as you think. Maybe if you do a google search you find it. Sorry but I am at work now.
      Anyway, it is still valid what I said before: a good conditioning agent won’t be good in nature, whatever the process of making it.


  8. I have Cetyl alcohol – stearic acid – citric acid – cetrimonium chloride – glyceryl monosterate – silicon fluid – Emulgen
    What are the best % of these ingredients for formulation of creamy hair conditioner (hair conditioning creams) especially for split ends??
    Thanks alot


    1. Hello, well the % you can take them from my formulas here. It doesn’t really change much for split ends… Just have a pH around 4.5 (using the citric acid) and that’s it.
      I don’t know what’s in “silicon fluid” so I cannot help with that: just follow the msds guidelines to find the %.
      Glyceryl monostearate and emulgen… Not sire if they are needed?


  9. hello! i love your blog, its helping me a lot!!! i have a question regarding the hair conditioner, iโ€™d like to add ingredient such as raw fruits etc in it, at which point should/can i put them in?


  10. Hi,
    Thanks for this helpful post. If I wanted to formulate 16 ounces of this conditioner or more, then how would I calculate this?


  11. Your blog has been very helpful. Please I read somewhere that glycerin doesnโ€™t work well for African kinky hair. I will like to know your thoughts. Also you mentioned how fruits tamper with the stability of the conditioner. I will like to know about herbal glycerites or floral waters.


    1. Always any fruit extract or floral water can tamper with stability.
      You can work with them, but just be sure the preserving system will work well with the ingredient (you will know this only by doing lab tests).
      About glycerin, it doesn’t “work well” in the way that it attracts water and this might go against the aim of the product.
      Ethnic air don’t tend to work well with styling products that attract too much water. A low amount might be fine, but I wouldn’t add too much.
      For ethnic hair Polyquat 10 works well.


      1. So for ethnic hair I should leave out glycerin and add pq-10 as well as the pq-7? Whatโ€™s the best way to add aloe Vera? Can I use the powder? Iโ€™ve tried formulating with aloe gel and aloe juice but none have been very effective in terms of stability. Also can I add more emollients since it is for curly dry hair? Like shea butter and canola/castor oil? If so, at what percentage?


      2. You can add glycerin but maybe lower the percentage.
        For ethnic hair pq-10 is great!
        Aloe vera makes the formulation unstable whatever form you use of it. It is the organic components of aloe vera that make it this way.
        You can add more emollients but I wouldn’t go above 2%. However, do your trials and choose what’s best for your head ๐Ÿ™‚ maybe you would love it at 4%! Just be aware of possible build up.


    1. These products haven’t been tested so the rule of thumb is to make a small enough batch to be able to finish whatever you make “fast”.
      If you want to know the shelf life of a product, you must send it for testing in a lab. ๐Ÿ˜‰


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