I am looking to replicate the function of this hair product

Hi there,

I am interested in formulating a product with the same function as Bumble and Bumble's Tonic Lotion, described as a "hair primer". I have their list of ingredients, but I was wondering if ya'll could help me narrow it down to the functional ingredients in layman's terms.

Also, I know you all hate this question, but are there any natural alternatives to some of the functional ingredients here?

Water\Aqua\Eau, Isoceteth-20, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Menthol, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Cymbopogon Scho¬enan¬thus (Lemongrass) Extract, Humulus Lupulus (Hops) Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycerin, Dimethicone Copolyol, Styrene/Vp Copolymer, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.


  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Let me start breaking it down a little (more help from others will be needed):
    Water: it's just water.
    Isoceteth-20: Solubiliser mostly for the essential oils. A more natural alternative might be polyglyceryl-10 laurate.
    A lot of essential oils and menthol: Replace menthol with essential Japanese mint oil which consists of mostly (natural) menthol.
    A lot of plant extracts: They may or may not show effects but they are natural.
    Tocopheryl acetate: Likely doesn't do anything. Replacing it with (natural) tocopherol could even result in increased formula stability (degradation-wise).
    Glycerin: Maybe comes as part of one of the extracts? Likely too small quantity to add much effect. It's natural, though.
    Two polymers: Main "active" ingredients. May be replaced with natural polymers but likely to be less efficient/nice.
    Distaryldimonium chloride: A Quat, the other main "active" ingredient. No natural alternative but so called ester-quats (such as Varisoft EQ 65 or Varisoft EQ 100) would at least be biodegradable and from renewable feedstock.
    Disodium EDTA: Chelate, might be replaced by phytic acid or add more citric acid.
    Phenoxyethanol & chlorphenesin: Preservatives. There are eco-friendly/sustainable and even natural alternatives available.
  • JarJar Member
    Thanks for such a great reply @Pharma
    I am glad you mentioned Varisoft EQ 65, as I was planning on using that anyways, as I have some available.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    What does this hair primer do?  How is it supposed to be used?

    It looks to me like it is a leave-in hair conditioner with some styling hold possible.

  • ngarayeva001ngarayeva001 Member
    edited August 2019
    @Perry, it's leave on conditioner in a sprayer bottle. Very thin, applied on damp hair and doesn't really do much.

    @Jar, Are you specifically looking to recreate this product? The reason why I am asking is that I tried many of Bumble and Bumble products, and it's definitely not the best one. There is another primer they sell: https://www.bumbleandbumble.co.uk/product/19055/31247/style/pre-stylers/hairdressers-invisible-oil-heatuv-protective-primer#

    Water\Aqua\Eau, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, PEG-12 Glyceryl Dimyristate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Gardenia Tahitensis (Tiare) Flower Extract, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Dimethiconol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, BHT, Fragrance (Parfum), Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Limonene, Coumarin, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol.

    Look how many more real detangling and conditioning (bold) ingredients are there.
  • JarJar Member
    Hmm. I haven't tried that product @ngarayeva001 but it looks like there is a lot more in it. I'll have to do some research on some of those ingredients. The Tonic Lotion doesn't do a whole lot, but it does do a little and feels nice. 

    I wonder how much of these oils are in the product. Wouldn't that make your hair look greasy?
  • The way it feels, not too much. I would guess 10% all together at the max. And probably it's more like 8% of the grapeseed oil and 2% all other together. Almond, Macadamia and Coconut are all quite greasy. I must still have it somewhere. I will have a closer look at it again and give you a better guess later today.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    If that is the case, you could probably recreate the product with the following ingredients

    Dimethicone Copolyol
    Styrene/Vp Copolymer
    Disodium EDTA
    Citric Acid
    (Plus ingredients to change the odor)
  • JarJar Member
    I am having trouble finding anywhere to buy some of those ingredients, and they wouldn't work with my goal of using "natural" ingredients

    How does this sound?

    varisoft eq 65
    sodium phytate

    I am not sure what to use as a solubilizer, there seem to be very few options. I have read about NatraGem S140 NP, but it doesn't appear to be available in small quantities.

    I should note, I plan to include rice ferment filtrate and hydrolyzed rice protein in my formula.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    It sounds like a completely different formula.

    Without Styrene/VP copolymer you won't get any hold.
    Without the silicone you won't get much glide or shine

    Honeyquat and Varisoft essentially do the same thing so putting both in is a bit of a waste (except for marketing reasons)
    Tocopherol isn't going to provide any benefit.  Rice ferment won't do much

    Rice protein might provide some film forming or humectant effect but not as good as glycerin plus the Styrene copolymer.

    At this point, you're not trying to copy the formula anymore. It might be better if you list what benefits you're trying to get rather than a formula you are trying to copy.
  • JarJar Member
    I didn't realize that honeyquat was an emulsifier. Tocopherol was added as an anti-oxidant, why would one not be needed in this formula? I like and use a lot of products with rice, and, I do believe it can be substantive. 

    But, I mentioned in the title that I was looking to recreate the effects of the product using more naturally derived materials. I don't need it to be an exact replica.
  • @Jar I think what Perry is saying is that the main ingredients that are contributing to the effect of the product are ones you've eliminated therefore you are creating a completely different product, not a copy. It would be best to describe what benefits you want and shape the formulation around that since you aren't actually trying to copy a formula - just create one with similar benefits.

    There are no direct 'natural' ingredient alternatives to the main ingredients used in the benchmark product - that really is the challenge.

    Jonah Ray | Owner & Founder

    build (skincare) | buildskincare.ca

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Honeyquat isn't an emulsifier, it's a quaternized (positively charged) molecule.  But Varisoft isn't primarily an emulsifier either. It is made up of Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride which is primarily a cationic surfactant that acts as a hair conditioning ingredient.  
  • ozgirlozgirl Member, PCF student
    According to this website (https://cosmetics.specialchem.com/product/i-lonza-honeyquat-50-pf) and my supplier Honeyquat has been discontinued by Lonza. As far as I am aware there is not another manufacturer so I would be probably look for a different raw material if you plan to make this formula again. 

  • I've purchased honeyquat from Lotion Crafter before. It was a "paraben free" one though. Not sure if that makes a difference.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @TriciaLynne - paraben free makes no difference 
Sign In or Register to comment.