How to Make Hair Conditioner


As a sufferer of fine, fly-away and frizz-prone hair, I struggle to find conditioners that do enough without being really heavy.

So, I decided to make my own.

First, I needed to combat the static and add in a good conditioning agent. Cetrimonium Chloride is the key to this, but I was a little confused about usage rates. They varied from site to site, but on reading a little more about it, it seemed that a max of 1% was appropriate to give enough of the benefits without causing irritation. Note that in some countries, depending on the active matter, you may be required to use a lesser amount. Check your suppliers' information.

Then I wanted frizz control, volume and detangling properties. I found the perfect 3 additions.

Phytokeratin – a vegan keratin make from Hydrolyzed soy, corn and wheat proteins that smooth the hair, prevents frizz and makes it softer and more manageable. It’s great for chemically processed hair and also works to plumb and give volume to fine hair when paired with Pseudo Collagen.

Pseudo Collagen is a vegan alternative to natural collagen, best paired with Phytokeratin in the cool-down phase to fill in the hair for more volume whilst keeping it silky soft.

My third choice was D Panthenol as it coats and protects the hair aiding in moisture retention whilst adding shine and helping to detangle.

As well as my lovely 4 actives, I wanted to add in some oils that would benefit the hair. I chose Fractionated coconut oil as it is lovely and lightweight and easily absorbed, and vitamin e for its antioxidant properties and ability to help with moisture retention and damage repair.

Of course, we have our emulsifier – I chose Ecomulse as it helps to detangle, soften and nourish hair. You could also use BTMS-50 if you wish.

I added Cetyl Alcohol as it improves the feel of the products and aids in the spreadability and slip of the product, helping to detangle.

To thicken I used Xanthan Gum, hydrated in our humectant Vegetable Glycerine.

The formula requires a finished pH of around 5.5 for the phase D actives to be effective. When I made this, it came out spot on, but if you need to adjust it down, you can use a stock of water and citric acid and add a little at a time until the desired pH is reached.

Formula and Recipe for 100g Batch

Phase A

74% (74g) Distilled Water
1% (1g) Cetrimonium Chloride

Phase B

4% (4g) Vegetable Glycerine
1% (1g) Xanthan Gum

Phase C

5% (5g) Fractionated Coconut Oil
5% (5g) Ecomulse
2% (2g) Cetyl Alcohol

Phase D

2% (2g) Phytokeratin
2% (2g) D Panthenol
1% (1g) Pseudo Collagen
1% (1g) Vitamin e
1% (1g) Fragrance Oil
1% (1g) Preservative Eco


· Clean down workspace and equipment as per GMP.

· Weight out all ingredients.

· Add Cetrimonium Chloride to Distilled water in a beaker and put to one side.

· Add Xanthan Gum to Vegetable Glycerine in a beaker and put to one side.

· Add Fractionated Coconut Oil, Ecomulse and Cetyl Alcohol to a beaker and put to one side.

· Weigh water phase.

· Heat all the above beakers until the Ecomulse and Cetyl Alcohol has melted.

· Take off the heat and weigh the water phase.

· Add any water that evaporated during heating.

· Add the oil phase to the Glycerine and Xanthum gum.

· Add the water phase to the above mixture.

· Blend with a shear mixture until it thickens into an emulsion.

· Leave to cool to 40 degrees C

· Add Phase D ingredients.

· Stir, then blend with your sheer mixture until thoroughly combined.

· Dispense into squeezy bottles or jars.

· Use as frequently as you like as a hair conditioner.

Changes and additions – remember to recalculate percentages if adding or taking away ingredients.

· You can add some colour using mica if you wish.

· Reduce the Xanthan gum for a thinner product.

· Change the fragrance oil for a hair-beneficial essential oil if you wish, but check the IFRA for the allowed percentage in rinse-off hair products.

· You can substitute the Ecomulse for BTSM-50 if you wish. Try different percentages of BTMS-50 to Oil for the perfect consistency for you.

· You can substitute the Preservative Eco for Phenoxyethanol EHG if you wish.

· Try different Oils – For a heavier more repairing conditioner you could add castor oil or argan oil.

I’d suggest experimenting, but don’t forget to read up on your ingredients so that you know the safe percentages for them, their effectiveness at what temperature and pH and how they work best.

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