Technically, a product has to contain cationic ingredients to be called a moisturizer (leave-in conditioner).
Exactly the same ingredients go into a moisturizer as into a rinse-off conditioner. However, a lower concentration is used.
When you are formulating a moisturizer the first thing you need to decide is which cationic quaternary compound you will use or whether you will combine them.
The common options are:
- BTMS (go for BTMS-50 because it contains double the amount of active ingredients as BTMS-25 and it also contains a humectant which is awesome especially for dry-haired girls like moi)
- Cetrimonium bromide
- Cetrimonium chloride
- Incroquat CR
When you are making your own moisturizer these are all the yummy ingredients you will want to include. You can use some or all of them depending on what you are trying to achieve:
- Cationic quaternary compounds (and polymers), these are positively charged ingredients that stick to hair to moisturise, condition it and make it easier to comb. e.g. BTMS, fatty alcohols like acetyl alcohol
- Emollients - lubricate hair and make combing and detangling easier
- Extracts / Infusions / Hydrosols - add extra active ingredients from herbs/plants
- Film Formers - coat hair and make it feel smoother
- Humectants - attract moisture into hair from the environment
- Oils and butters - seal hair, boost shine
- Panthenol - nourishes hair
- Preservatives - help a product have a shelf-life longer than
- Proteins - the main component in hair, support hair's infrastructure
- Silicones - boost shine, aid detangling
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