Cetrimonium Bromide

Does anyone here have experience working with 100% active Cetrimonium Bromide (Supplier: Merck), as an emulsifier successfully. The suggested usage rate is 0.1%. I’m not sure how using it at that rate would create a stable emulsion. Can it be used at maybe 4% with a fatty alcohol in making a conditioner? Will using it at more than 0.1% not irritate the skin?


  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    0.1% is the concentration used as preservation.
    Me personally, I wouldn't use it as emulsifier, it's smelly (stinks like rotten fish, if you ask me) and tends to cause skin irritation.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    edited July 2019
    BTW if you're intending on selling in the EU: Be careful because the amount of cetrimonium bromide in products (rinse-off hair products, leave-on hair products, and leave-on face products) is regulated (google "Regulation (EU) No. 866/2014").

  • NubianNubian Member
    @Pharma thank you. When going through the EU Regulation, what concerns me is the likeliness of skin irritation. I won’t even waste my time asking for a sample of this.
  • Almost everything with a Bromine atom is more toxic than those with Chlorides.

    Consider salt Sodium chloride is actually healthy and needed in small amounts, while Sodium bromide is toxic.

    Stick to Cetrimonium chloride or methosulfate and forget about CETAB, ill advised by online bloggers who don't seem to know anything about chemistry or toxicology.
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    With cetrimonium it's not mainly about the anionic counterpart but the QUAT itself. Sure, bromide (not bromine!) is less healthy than chloride but since you're hopefully not going to eat it... besides, bromide QUATs are "softer" much like potassium soap is softer than sodium soap.
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