I’ve finally taken the plunge and have created my own leave in Conditioner from scratch. My previous leave-in conditioner was a mix of store bought conditioner, herbal tea, oil and BTMS (a conditioning emulsifier). This time i wanted to make my own leave-in with no one else’s product in it. So i did my research on natural leave-in conditioners to see what ingredients they had in them. I put together a list of all the beneficial ingredients in all of them and used that to put together my own recipe. I found a very basic conditioner recipe online and used that as the basis of formulating my own. Once i had all the ingredients, formula and my trusty pH strips i got stuck in. I tried to take pictures at every stage but my camera died on me, which i had to quickly charge up again, so i missed out some of the steps. Sorry.
Here is my carefully put together recipe
Ingredients – Total weight 450g
Aloe Juice – 180g
Herbal Tea – 149.9g
Glycerin – 11.25g
Honeyquat – 9g
Lamesoft – 9g
Guar Conditioning Gum – 4.5g
Citric Acid – 4.5g
Silk Amino Acid Powder – 0.9g
Panthenol – 13.5g
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein – 9g
BTMS – 22.5g
Avocado Oil – 9g
Coconut Oil – 9g
Olive Oil – 4.5g
Vitamin E – 4.5g
Essential Oils – 4.5g
MicroKill – 4.5g
Herbal Tea Is Infused With –
- Marshmallow Root
- White Willow Bark
- Blue Malva
- Burdock Root
- Rose Petals
These herbs combined are good for conditioning and detangling, naturally preventing dandruff, soothing scalp irritation, adding body, sheen and lustre, promoting healthy hair growth and preventing breakage and split ends. For more on herbs for hair check out Anita Grant’s Website.
Essential Oils –
My Equipment, minus the scale and cup. I put it all in the dishwasher to clean and sterilise.
The Ingredients, minus the herbs.
1. Start by making the herbal tea infusion. One tablespoon of each herb in a pan of boiling filtered water (about 500ml, as the herbs will absorb some). Bring back to simmering then take off heat and put a lid on. Leave to infuse till needed.
2. When ready strain out the tea through a muslin cloth or similar to remove all the bits of herb. Measure out the desired amount in a jug. Add that back into a clean pan and place that back on the heat to warm gently.
Some of the tea
3. Measure out the Aloe Vera Juice into a jug
4. Add in the Honeyquat.
5. In a cup measure the Glycerine and Guar Conditioning Gum and mix together to form a paste
6. Add the Glycerine and Guar paste to the Aloe Juice and stir, stir, stir until it thickens well. It is suggested to stir it for 15 mins (but I didn’t, more like 3, I was going to blend it again anyway)
Mix is all gloopy.
7. Measure the Lamesoft into the Aloe juice mix and stir some more
8. Measure pH of mix and if needed add in the Citric Acid*.
9. In a cup measure out the Hydrolysed Wheat Protein, Hydrolysed Silk Powder and Panthenol. Mix together and set aside.
10. In a bowl measure in your BTMS, Avocado, Coconut and Olive oils and place in the microwave or over a pan of boiling water to melt.
11. Add the hot tea to the blender along with the Aloe mix and turn on. The mixture will thicken rapidly.
12. Whilst on, add in the Protein and Panthenol mix and keep blending
13. Once fully melted, drizzle the oil phase into the blender and keep blending until fully emulsified (be quick or it will set in the bowl, if this happens then re-melt). Switch off the blender and allow to cool slightly.
14. In a cup measure out the Vitamin E, Essential Oils and MicroKill, stir together
15. Turn on the blender again and add your finishing phase. Keep blending until fully incorporated.
16. Whilst still warm and easy to pour, transfer the conditioner into your container of choice. Leave the lid off until mix has cooled to room temperature.
* I measured the pH of the mix and it was at 4 so I didn’t add in the citric acid.
It filled one 500ml bottle and there was a little left over.
- The conditioner ended up being really thick, so i added another 100g of Aloe Juice into the blender.
- The consistency was a bit gummy
- Next time i will reduce the amount of Guar conditioning gum from 1% to 0.5%. Hopefully this will solve the thickness and consistency issue.
The final pH of the conditioner was an acidic 4.5. NICE…
Where To Buy
I bought the BTMS, Lamesoft, Guar Conditioning Gum, Silk Protein, Hydrolysed Wheat Protein, Panthenol, Honeyquat, Citric Acid, Vitamin E and MicroKill from Of A Simple Nature
The Avocado Oil and Aloe Vera Juice are from Naturally Thinking
The herbs are from Luminescents and Woodland Herbs
Breakdown of Key Ingredients
Here is a list of the key ingredients in my recipe, the descriptions and how to use them.
BTMS (Behentrimonium Methosulphate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol)
Quaternary ammonium compound (Behentrimonium) blended with a fatty alcohol. Derived from Colza (rapeseed) oil. Contains 25% active quaternary conditioning agents.
A highly effective yet mild cationic self-emulsifying wax. Has outstanding conditioning properties. Substantive to skin and hair. Provides excellent wet hair comb-through and detangling. Confers reduced irritation potential. Leaves a soft, powdery after-feel. Thickening agent and stabilizer. Ideal for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
How To Use – 1-10%
BTMS is oil-soluble and should be added to the oil phase whilst it is being heated. Ensure that it is completely melted prior to combining both water and oil phases.
Recommend 3-5% plus 3% oils for a light lotion and 5-8% for a thicker cream formulation.
Lamesoft (Coco-Glucoside (and) Glyceryl Oleate)
Lamesoft is 100% plant-derived (Coco Glucoside from Coconut and the fatty acid Glyceryl Oleate from Sunflower Oil) and is gentle enough for use in baby care products.
Lamesoft is a mild, water-soluble emollient used to thicken liquid surfactant products such as shampoos, body washes and bubble baths.. It can also be incorporated into lotions, creams and conditioners.
It is also a lipid layer enhancer and thus replenishes the skins’ moisture barrier function.
It helps the hair retain its natural oils and moisture and assists with detangling.
How To Use – 0.5-5%
Add to the water phase and stir until dissolved. To achieve optimum thickness the pH should be adjusted to around 5
Guar Conditioning Gum – (Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride)
Guar conditioning gum is a water-soluble cationic powder derived from guar gum. It is substantive to the hair and has softening and conditioning benefits, without leaving build-up. It forms a protective barrier on the hair and helps control flyaway and frizzy hair. It also promotes shine to the hair.
It adds viscosity and stability to products such as gels and serums.
How To Use – 0.5-1%
Add to water at room temperature and stir well to agitate the water. Mix until dispersed. Adjust pH to 7.0 with citric acid, if required. Continue mixing for 15 minutes until full viscosity is reached. Guar may also be mixed with glycerine prior to incorporating into the water phase or into a water-based product.
Citric acid is commonly used to make fizzing bath products such as bath bombs. Use in the ratio of 3 parts sodium bicarbonate to 1 part citric acid.
It can also be used to adjust product pH and for de-scaling.
How To Use
Add to water phase to adjust the pH as needed
Silk Amino Acid Powder
Produced by the hydrolysis of pure silk fibres. Silk amino acid powder contains 100% fibroin, which consists of eighteen amino acids and trace elements.
Silk amino acids are of low molecular weight, allowing them to penetrate deep into the skin and hair shaft. They have excellent water-binding properties and thus maintain moisture levels in the skin and hair. Silk amino acids help retain elasticity in the hair and impart a soft and smooth feel to the skin and hair.
Silk powder is water-soluble and is compatible with most ingredients, including surfactants. It can be used in lotions & creams, hair conditioners, surfactant-based products, toners, gels and dry formulations such as masks, scrubs and bath powders.
How To Use – 0.05 – 0.2% (0.2% recommended)
Add to the water phase and allow to dissolve completely prior to combining the oil and water phases. When using silk powder in cold-mix formulations, add to the water and allow to dissolve completely, mixing constantly, then add the other ingredients.
Panthenol (Pro-vitamin B5) penetrates deep into the skin and hair shaft and has excellent water-binding abilities. It creates a protective film, thus aiding moisture retention. It helps strengthen the hair shaft by imparting an elastic film inside and out. This also helps thicken the hair and leaves the hair (and skin) feeling soft and silky.
Panthenol 75% solution is water-based. It can be used in lotions & creams, hair conditioners, surfactant-based products, gels, toners and other water-based products.
How To Use – 5% (in hair care products and 2-3% in other)
When using Panthenol in lotions and creams, add to the water phase just before combining the water and oil phases – this retains its efficacy.
Hydrolysed Wheat Protein – 0.5-5%
Hydrolysed Wheat is a pure fraction obtained from natural wheat gluten. It consists of two oligosaccharides, gliadin and glutenin, both of which act synergistically to improve the condition of the skin and hair.
Gliadin exhibits excellent film forming properties and can absorb up to twice its weight of water. It is thus ideal for retaining water levels and thus moisturising the skin and hair.
Glutenin is highly elastic and helps strengthens the skin and hair.
When used in skin care products, the addition of Wheat Protein helps improve skin tone and moisturisation. With the addition of Wheat protein in hair care products, porosity of the hair is reduced, the hair feels smoother and softer and shine and lustre are improved.
How To Use
Add to the water phase just before combining the water and oil
MicroKill (Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl Glycol (and) Chlorphenesin)
Broad spectrum Parabens-free and Formaldehyde-free preservation system. Active against Gram postive and Gram negative bacteria, yeasts and moulds.
– Phenoxyethanol is a widely used, versatile preservative
– Caprylyl Glycol provides synergy and has moisturising and wetting capabilities
- Chlorphenesin is a known broad spectrum preservative
Microkill COS is effective in difficult to preserve formulations, such as water/silicon emulsions. It is compatible in a wide range of skin, hair and suncare products. It has a well-documented safety profile. Stable in a wide pH range (3-8). Water insoluble. Can be integrated into the pre- or post-emulsion stage, at or below 60C.
How To Use – 0.75 – 1.5%
It is added to either the oil phase, just before both water and oil phases are combined, or preferably during the cool-down phase at or below 60C.
In cold-mix water-based products, blend Microkill COS with an equal amount of Polysorbate 20 or 80 then add the rest of ingredients.
We recommend that the optimum usage rate for Microkill COS is 1%. However, all personal care formulations will have different requirements.
Honeyquat (Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey)
Honeyquat is a naturally derived quaternized conditioning agent made from honey, exhibiting excellent moisture binding capabilities, far more than that seen with glycerine.
It is substantive and, due to its low molecular weight, can easily penetrate the hair shaft to provide moisture to dry, dull hair. It also helps restore shine and lustre.
Honeyquat helps reduce static build-up and improves wet combing.
How To Use – 1-5%
Add to the water phase