If you’re a fan of cleansing conditioners, I think you’re going to like this Argan Rose Cleansing Conditioner. It gently cleanses your hair, leaving it all kinds of soft and shiny with a lingering rosy, lemony scent. Luxurious argan oil and fragrant rose hydrosol star in the formulation, and I’ve also included two newer ingredients for a bit of added fun! If you don’t want a cleansing conditioner you can easily modify the formulation to be a regular conditioner, too.
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The main difference between a cleansing conditioner and a light to mid-weight rinse-out post-shampoo conditioner is the inclusion of a small amount of an amphoteric surfactant. In previous cleansing conditioners I’ve used Cocamidopropyl Betaine, but this time I’m using Sodium Cocoamphoacetate from Essential Wholesale (that’s new ingredient #1!) While Cocamidopropyl Betaine is thin and mildly acidic, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate is quite viscous and mildly basic. If you don’t have Sodium Cocoamphoacetate you can easily swap it for Cocamidopropyl Betaine, and if you don’t want to conditioner to be cleansing simply replace the Sodium Cocoamphoacetate with more distilled water.
New ingredient #2 is some daikon seed extract, which I first used in the Watermelon Mint Lotion I shared earlier this month. Daikon seed extract is a lightweight natural emollient made from daikon radish seeds. It offers a bit of silicone-y slip and a non-greasy skin + hair feel. Ariane uses it in her conditioner bars and I thought it would be a great addition here!
Our scent comes from two places; sensual and stunning Lebanese rose hydrosol, and sweet and juicy lemon slices fragrance oil. If you prefer to use essential oils rather than fragrance oils you could easily use lemon essential oil instead, but I’d use a bit more—the fragrance is strong enough to come across well at 0.25%, but I’d probably double that if you want to use the essential oil, removing the additional 0.25% from the distilled water.
The conditioning goodness comes from two ingredients—BTMS-50 and polyquaternium 7. BTMS-50 is also our emulsifying wax, so it’s doing double duty. I love the rich, soft feel BTMS-50 lends to products and it continues to be my go-to cationic emulsifying wax even though I’ve tried several others. Polyquaternium 7 is another favourite cationic ingredient of mine as it lends the most divine skin and hair feel to our products. This shaving cream is one of my favourite formulations using it. Swoon!
The finished cleansing conditioner is creamy and fragrant. It works easily into wet hair, and when you rinse it out a few minutes it’ll leave your hair soft, clean, and feeling fabulous. I find I go through cleansing conditioners pretty quickly, so the as-written batch size here is 220g, which would last me 4–5 washes. If you’re new to cleansing conditioners I’d recommend starting with a 100g batch to make sure you like it, but once you’re in love you’ll likely want to upgrade to bigger batches so it lasts you more than a week! Happy making 😊
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Argan Rose Cleansing Conditioner
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Weigh the heated water phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Weigh the entire lot (measuring cup + ingredients) and note that weight for use later. Weigh the heated oil phase into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
After about 20–30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted (if not, give it a quick blast in the microwave—I find BTMS tends to need a bit of a kick in the pants to melt) and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat and weigh it. Add enough hot distilled water to bring the weight back up to what it was before heating, and then pour the water part into the oil part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Grab your immersion blender and begin blending the conditioner, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid conditioner doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute, leave to cool for ten, blend for another minute or two, and repeat this blend-cool-blend cycle until the outside of the glass measuring cup is barely warm to the touch and the conditioner is thick and creamy.
When the conditioner is cool it’s time to incorporate our cool down ingredients. Because cool down ingredients are typically present at very low amounts you’ll need to use an accurate scale—preferably one accurate to 0.01g. As these more accurate scales tend to have fairly low (100–200g) maximum weights you won’t be able to put the entire batch of conditioner on that scale without blowing it out. So—grab a smaller dish. Add a scoop or two of conditioner, and then weigh the cool down ingredients into that, using the more accurate scale. Stir to thoroughly incorporate, and then stir all of that back into the master batch of conditioner. Doing it this way minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.
And you’re done! All that’s left to do is bottle it up—I like a tottle (tube/bottle combo thing) for this sort of project. 100g of product fills a 120mL (4 fl oz) bottle well.
To use: in the shower, dispense a solid amount of cleansing conditioner into your palm and work it through wet hair, roots to tips—you’ll need quite a lot if your hair is thick and/or long. Pay special attention to massaging the conditioner into your scalp. Rinse thoroughly. That’s it! No need for individual shampoo or conditioner.
When made as-written, this cleansing conditioner has a pH ~4.5, which is great. If you make any changes I highly recommend testing the pH and adjusting if neccessary.
Because this conditioner contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 220g, which is approximately 240mL (8 fl oz).
- To learn more about the ingredients used in this recipe, including why they’re included and what you can substitute them with, please visit the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia. It doesn’t have everything in it yet, but there’s lots of good information there! If I have not given a specific substitution suggestion in this list (panthenol, polyquaternium 7) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- If you want to use a rose fragrance oil or essential oil instead of the hydrosol, you can replace the rose hydrosol with more water and add the fragrance oil or essential oil to the cool-down phase, removing the amount from the distilled water to keep the formulation in balance.
- I’d start with about 0.5% fragrance oil. This will likely make for a more strongly scented product with a stronger lingering after-shower scent.
- The IFRA limits Rose Otto to 0.012%, Japanese Rose essential oil to 0.2%, and cabbage rose to 0.025%.
- You could also use rose wax; I’d include it at 1% in the heated oil phase.
- You could also replace the rose hydrosol with more distilled water or a different hydrosol
- Vegetable glycerin or propanediol would work instead of sodium lactate.
- You can use Cocamidopropyl Betaine instead of Sodium Cocoamphoacetate.
- You could try a different cationic emulsifying wax instead of BTMS-50 (BTMS-25 or Varisoft come to mind), but please make a small sample batch first to ensure everything works well and you like it before making a larger batch. Please look it up in the encyclopedia to learn more. As this formulation contains a secondary cationic ingredient (the polyquaternium 7) you could try using a non-ionic emulsifying wax like Polawax, but that will cause a significant drop in how conditioning this conditioner is.
- Cetyl alcohol will work instead of cetearyl alcohol.
- You could use a different liquid oil that your hair loves in place of argan oil.
- You could use dimethicone 350, a natural dimethicone alternative like LuxGlide 350, or a liquid oil of choice instead of daikon seed extract. I think Neossance® Hemisqualane would be a great alternative!
- You could use a different hydrolyzed protein (baobab, rice, silk, etc.) instead of hydrolyzed quinoa protein
- You can use a citrus essential oil instead of the lemon slices fragrance oil. You may wish to use more (~0.5%) as they don’t tend to be as strongly scented as fragrance oils; remove the additional amount from the distilled water to keep the formulation balanced.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page.
The rose hydrosol, sodium cocoamphoacetate, and hydrolyzed quinoa protein were gifted by Essential Wholesale.