Article by: Perry Romanowski

Another installment of our Dissecting the Label series. In these blog posts we dissect a lable and discuss what each of the ingredients do in the formula and ponder why they are added. Last time we did a skin self-tanning prodcut. This time we’ll look at a hair conditioner. Organix Conditioner

Organix LOI

Here’s the ingredient list.

Aqua/Water/Eau (Water), Cetyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Parfum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (Jojoba), DMDM Hydantoin, Panthenol, Silk Amino Acids, Cocos Nucifera Extract (Coconut), Albumen, Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut), Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) (Vitamin E), Tetrasodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Coumarin

The 1% Line

Our first challenge as a cosmetic chemist is to figure out where the 1% line might be. This can give us a clue as to what are the most important ingredients in the formula.

In this product there are two likely spots for the 1% line. Either right after the Behentrimonium Methosulfate or after the Dimethicone. My gut belief is that it is right after the Dimethicone. They certainly aren’t adding the jojoba oil at levels above 1%. I’m just a little surprised that the Parfum (Fragrance) would be used at a level above 1% but Cetearyl Alcohol most likely is so that’s what I’m going with.

You can see that figuring out this 1% line is not a precise science.

What the ingredients do

As always, we’ll group common ingredients and describe what they do.

Emulsion ingredients

These ingredients make the formula look and feel appealing.

Water – The solvent. Probably makes up 85-90% of this formula.
Cetyl Alcohol – Opacifying / emulsifier
Cetearyl Alcohol – Opacifying / emulsifier
Cetearyl Glucoside – Emulsifier
Glyceryl Stearate – Emulsifier

Conditioning ingredients

These are the things that make the formula work.  It’s why people use the product.

Behentrimonium Methosulfate – Hair conditioning. For anti-static, detangling. Makes hair easier to comb.
Dimethicone – Hair conditioning for shine & slickness
Cyclopentasiloxane – Hair conditioning
Glycerin – Some moisturizing effect but likely rinses down the drain.

Claims & Puffery ingredients

These ingredients are added to make the product sound more appealing.  If these raw materials were left out of the formula, it is unlikely that anyone would notice a difference in performance.

Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil
Panthenol – Some evidence this could effect hair but I remain skeptical
Silk Amino Acids
Cocos Nucifera Extract (Coconut)
Cocos Nucifera Oil (Coconut)
Hydrolyzed Milk Protein
Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E)

Preservative system

Since microbes can grow in the environment created in this formula, preservatives have to be added to ensure they don’t.  This conditioner uses two classic preservatives that have a broad spectrum of organisms that they will kill.

DMDM Hydantoin – Preservative
Tetrasodium EDTA – Helps to losen cell walls & make preservatives more effective.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone – Preservative
Methylisothiazolinone – Preservative


Parfum – In US this should be labeled Fragrance.

This is a pretty standard conditioner formula with lots of claims ingredients added to give the Marketing department something to talk about. Using both silicones and a cationic surfactant is a good idea as it provides a nice effect that the ingredients separately can’t achieve. Overall, a nice formula.


  1. Avatar

    Why do you call the hydrilled proteins puff ingredients? Do they not actually have a substantial affect on hair, or is it that at the amount they are using it you won’t see much of a affect? I use wheat protein at 2% in my conditioner formulas and I feel that it makes a difference then before when I wasn’t using it.

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Well, you might feel it makes a difference but we are easily fooled. The only way to know if it is actually making a difference is to do a blinded test with and without the ingredient. It has been my experience having done this test in the past that proteins in rinse-off hair products have limited effect.

      1. Avatar

        Thanks I will try this. I guess most proteins are also added to conditioners for a marketing angle. Are there any other ingrdeients in a conditioner that are actually shown to make a difference, other than the cationic (BTMS 50)? I add about 10% oils to my conditoner for dry hair, is that too much?

        1. Avatar
          Perry Romanowski

          Oh lots of ingredients work. Cationic surfactants like the BTMS or Cetrimonium Chloride or things like that are great. Silicones like Dimethicone or Cyclomethicone are also effective. And polymers like Polyquaternium 10 work great. Oils, are ok but if you put too much they weigh down the hair and make it greasy.

          1. Avatar

            Thanks for your reply I will keep this in mind!

  2. Avatar

    Hi Perry, great article! I want to to know the difference between trademark combination of (Cetearyl alcohol and Behentrimonium Methosulfate i.e Croda BTMS-25) having 25% BTMS and the standalone Behentrimonium Methosulfate (80% active without any added fatty alcohol). My question is can we achieve the same efficacy from the later if we combine it with cetearyl alcohol during the formulation instead of using trademark combination?

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Yes, you can achieve the same effect. The blend is just easier for some people which is why Croda sells it. Buying a blend allows you to have fewer ingredients in your inventory, but it also limits your formulation options.

      1. Avatar

        Thanks a lot Perry!! You are the best 🙂

        1. Avatar

          I have to agree with perry as well. I have substituted 4% (25% btms – croda ) with 3% cetearyl alcohol and 1% (genamin btms by clariant) – formulation exactly same. I think is cheaper this way. Croda only contains 25% active and cost same price as genamin.

          1. Avatar

            @ADE, Besides the Cetearyl Alcohol, do you add any other emulsifier with the BTMS. What percentage oils will 1% BTMS/3%Cetearyl emulsify?

  3. Avatar

    Hi perry, am a graduate of industrial chemistry in a known University in Nigeria. I really Love all you’ve been doing through this site. it interests me a lot because I want to have my own production line especially in the area of hair care products. please I need your special help. I want you to be my mentor. thanks. My name is Agbo Daniel.

  4. Avatar
    Nancy Swankie

    Could you please do one on salicylic peels? 30% pH about 2.2. I own a spa and pay SO MUCH, and I know it is so inexpensive and easy to make, but want professional advice. Thanks!

  5. Avatar

    Hi perry, am a graduate of industrial chemistry in a known University in Nigeria. I really Love all you’ve been doin through this site. it intrests me alot because I want to have my own production line especially in the area of hair care products. plaese I need your special help. I want you to be my menthor. thanks. My name is Agbo Daniel.

  6. Avatar

    I loved the post – pls do more of these.. I’m shocked at the number of puffery ingredients & more so because I fall for them very often 🙁

    1. Avatar

      Thanks! We will certainly do more of these. Maybe once a week.

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