Two Phase Leave-in Hair Conditioner – Recipe

Hello there!

This is my Christmas gift: a very simple recipe for a Two Phase Leave-in Hair Conditioner!

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You need just one prince ingredient: Cetrimonium Chloride!
As you know this is a cationic surfactant with very high conditioning properties.

[if you are new to my website you can check the Index which contains all the recipes and explanations about formulating cosmetics. You will also find a list of websites where you can purchase cosmetic ingredients online!]

This Hair Conditioner is formulated for my hair-type: long and very thin, they tangle easily and they grease easily (so I added close to no grease to not make my hair get heavy).
At the end of the recipe I will add some variations so you can modify it according to your hair-type! 😉


RECIPE: 

Phase A: 
Water to 100 (explanation HERE)
Glycerin 2 
Hydrolized Milk Protein 2 (you can omit this or you can use any other kind of hydrolyzed protein. Just bear in mind that the more you add proteins the more your hair will feel strong and “hard”, therefore do not add too much).
Cetrimonium Chloride 4 (this is a very high amount but the thing is that this is a liquid hair conditioner and it needs to be sprayed on the hair. With spraying usually we use a very small amount of product so I have found this percentage of Cetrimonium C. to be just fine for me).
D-Panthenol 1 (this is the Vitamin B5 which is very good for the hair 🙂 it is not essential for the conditioner)
Hydrophilic Preservative (use at the percentage needed for your own preservative: it is important that it is hydrophilic because this hair conditioner is not stably emulsified therefore we need to preserve the water phase)

Phase B: 
Coco Caprylate 2 (this is a synthetic oil with a very light feel. I don’t use natural oils on hair because they are more likely to get rancid and therefore make the hair smell bad: you can, however, use jojoba oil because technically it is not an oil and it doesn’t get rancid!)

Phase C: 
Polyquaternium 7 – 1 (this is a conditioning agent. It is not necessary if you don’t have it, it just gives that extra conditioning property to the product)
Quaternium 80 – 0.5 (same for the above ingredient. Simply omit it if you don’t have it! The Cetrimonium Chloride already does a lot! 😉 )
Fragrance Oil (enough 😀 )
Totally extra: add some water soluble colorant 😉 (I added food coloring)
Check pH and adjust with Citric Acid

MODIFICATIONS for thick hair:
If you have very thick and undisciplined hair you can add 2% Inulin in the Phase A. If it doesn’t melt immediately you can warm up the Phase A very briefly. I would also omit the proteins because probably they would make your hair feel too stiff (and I don’t think you need them much 😉 lucky you! 😀 ), you could also add more oily phase, however I wouldn’t go over 5% of fats in a hair conditioner. If you like making things more complicated you could even gel the Phase A with 0.15% of Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (the water needs to be heated up to 70°C first… so first gel the water, then let it cool down and continue with the recipe as normal).

The original recipe (without modifications) is made “cold” so there will be no need of heating anything at all and it doesn’t even take more than 5 minutes. The result is a very liquid, spay-able hair conditioner, which needs to be shaken before use (but if I can I will add a video of how cool it looks when you shake it 😀 because it looks almost magical).
Yes: the Cetrimonium Chloride is a surfactant (cationic, precisely) and therefore it could “emulsify” a very small amount of oil… however we haven’t added in this recipe anything which could help stabilize the emulsion (I haven’t added any gelling agent nor a thickener… exactly because I want it to be liquid and I want to be able to spray it on my hair)… Therefore our emulsion won’t be stable and will separate after some time.
What is cool, though, is that the presence of this Cetrimonium C. will actually make it easy to mix water and oil once we shake the bottle!

Now to the HOW TO: 
1) Mix all the Phase A in one becher:
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2) Now add the Phase B (which in this case is very small: just one ingredient)
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3) Eventually mix with an immersion mixer and add the Phase C:
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As you can see after mixing with an immersion mixer the solution is white, but once it will sit calmly for a while it will separate in two phases again.
If you want you can now add one or two drops of food coloring 😀

Very important: check the pH! You want it to be 4.5! (Adjust it with Citric Acid or Lactic Acid)

And Tadaaa 😀
Super easy and super effective 😉
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

16 thoughts on “Two Phase Leave-in Hair Conditioner – Recipe

  1. alia says:

    oliwax (thickener & emulsifier)
    olivEmuls (co emulsifier)
    olive oil (emollient)
    silcolive (olive derived silicone)
    quinoa protein (color retention)
    rice protein (volume)
    baobab protein (nourish+recover)
    silk amino acids (silkiness+glide)
    keratin protein (protection)
    phytenso(soy phospholipid complex)-a natural relaxer from lucas meyer cosmetics

    all above 2% except EO 1% & preservative 0.5% & water to 100

    is this my recipe for hair lotion i wanna use it as leave in conditioner i dont want to use btms
    my budget is low and i cant afford experimenting so if could kindly let me know if this is correct or not ?

    Like

    • It's all in my hands says:

      Ps. A leave in conditioner can condition only if you use a conditioning agent. A conditionin agent would be BTMS, but there are others as well. A leave in needs conditioning agents that can be left on the hair.
      Any leave in will make your hair a little heavy (perfect if you want that).
      What you have thought of making is simply a very sticky cream with no conditioning properties, so imagine applying a body cream on your hair and saying it is a leave in hair conditioner…. it won’t really make it a hair conditioner, right?

      This said: I have written and explained how to make a REAL hair conditoner, you are free to not follow my guidelines but please don’t ask me to “correct” formulas that ignore what I have explained because I am just going to repeat myself.

      Like

  2. alia says:

    no no you got me wrong
    or i said it wrong
    this recipe i made is for a hair
    cream / lotion
    after cleaning my hair i dont use leave in conditioner
    i use a hair cream/lotion as a leave in product to condition my hair ?
    so what should i do to make the consistency correct?
    and how many proteins can i add in a single protein
    what if i am making a hair protein mask
    how many proteins can i add in it?

    Like

    • It's all in my hands says:

      A cream that conditions your hair needs to have an emulsifier which is a conditioning agent otherwise it is not going to condition your hair: any hair mask/conditioner is made with conditioning agents, not just any emulsifier.
      If you use any emulsifier you will get a cream that is not conditioning. It will be like applying on your hair a normal body lotion.

      You can add any kind of proteins but don’t go over 1.5-2% total

      Like

    • It's all in my hands says:

      You are using “conditioning” in the wrong manner.
      A simple lotion is moisturizing, a hair conditioner is conditionin because it contains a conditioning agent.
      If a lotion contains a normal emulsifier, it is not “conditioning”

      Like

  3. alia says:

    can i make this leave in conditioner with only rice quat as the conditioning agent? and how much should i use for fine limp hair?

    Like

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