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
Heated water phase
95.15g | 43.25% distilled water
66g | 30% rose hydrosol
4.4g | 2% panthenol
4.4g | 2% sodium lactate
8.8g | 4% Sodium Cocoamphoacetate
Heated oil phase
7.7g | 3.5% BTMS-50 (USA / Canada)
4.4g | 2% cetearyl alcohol (USA / Canada)
11g | 5% argan oil
6.6g | 3% daikon seed extract
Cool down phase
3.3g | 1.5% Polyquaternium 7 (USA / Canada)
6.6g | 3% hydrolyzed quinoa protein
1.1g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
0.55g | 0.25% lemon slices fragrance oil
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.
Shelf Life & Storage
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.
Ooh this sounds great, I have been making your previous cleansing conditioner (lemon & rose)which I love. So will definitely try this one. Thanks Marie, stay well & safe, things are scary at the moment.
Thank you so much, Pauline 🙂 I’m mostly staying home and washing my hands a lot… fingers crossed the measures that have been put in place over the last week or so help. Stay safe!
Can I use this formula as face cleanser/cleansing cream ?
I can’t see why not! Happy making 🙂
Hello Marie! May I know does it have to be amphoteric surfactant? Can I use a nonionic surfactant instead like decyl glucoside?
I’ve found amphoteric surfactants create the most stable emulsions—it may split with decyl, so you may wish to add some sort of gum to stabilize. Happy experimenting!
You are making me want to make hair care products now!! My ingredients are taking over the fridge and basement. You need to look up how to pronounce daikon. I lived in Japan for awhile and I thought maybe it had been changed in english but they pronounce it right in both British and American english:)
Thank you so much & happy making!
Hiya! Are your hair products paraben /sulphate /silicon free?
That’s kind of like asking “is all your food nut-free”—it depends on the formulation! You’ll always have the full ingredient list as that’s a requirement for sharing a formulation, so it will always be easy for you to check 🙂 I also recommend reading this post & this post. Happy making!
So I tried this recipe twice and the mango cleansing conditioner and all three times my emulsion broke! Like it never really turned creamy and the next day they were totally separated. any tips? I’ve made lots of other recipes and never had an issue so is it maybe emulsifying the surfactants? Please help! Thank you! Sorry didn’t mean to double post I didn’t realize I commented on a comment lol
How strange! Surfactants can definitely be problematic in emulsions, but low concentrations of amphoteric ones have never split for me. You should be able to stabilize future batches by swapping out 0.3% water for xanthan gum, pre-dispersing it in the argan oil before continuing. Thanks for DIYing with me, and happy making 🙂
Mine too, I followed recipe to the T and didn’t thicken just a milky watery foamy thing .
Not giving up I will try the xanthan gum method!!!!!
It seems like the sodium Cocoamphoacetate just wants to sink instead of emulsify. I added some HP Starch aka Structure XL to it (about 2%) and it hasn’t separated again and it made it creamy. Next time I make it im going to sub for coco betaine but at least the batch i made didn’t go to waste! I’m surprised the HP Starch worked so well.
Great troubleshooting! Gums and other thickeners can be pretty dang amazing 🙂
I’m just now starting to make a bunch of your recipes and so far I’ve had good success, considering I knew nothing about most of this stuff before coming across your site! Anyway, I have all the ingredients necessary except for the Polyquaternium 7 and was wondering if I could make it without this ingredient without it ruining it? Thanks for all your great recipes and for being a major motivation to start making my own beauty products!
That’ll be fine; just use more water instead. Happy making!
Thank you for the wonderful recipes!
I am keen to make this as a co-wash but have low porosity hair which is protein sensitive. Can I replace the protein with something else for added moisture?
Definitely! A humectant would be a lovely choice 🙂 Happy making!
Hi Marie, I am in the process of making this since I had all the ingredients available. It has been a disaster so far. The stick blender fell from the beaker and there was foam all over. After cleaning up, I’ve been blending both phases but everything is very foamy and I see liquid at the bottom. How should I correct this?
Also since I lost some of hot phase stuff, I think I should reduce the cold phase quantities proportionately, correct?
Honestly, I would throw it out and start over, double-checking that you have measured everything properly and are using the correct ingredients. If it hasn’t emulsified at all it sounds like you might’ve chosen the wrong white pellets and may not have used an emulsifier 🙂 Good luck and happy making!
I formulated another batch of this and it came out great!
I let my wife try it this morning and overall she liked it.
She said she would like to see it smoother and have a waxy feel,
Can you please suggest some modifications to achieve that?
She said when she was rinsing it, it didn’t feel like it had enough emulsification and waxiness like a regular conditioner.
Commercial conditioners typically include a good amount of cetearyl alcohol—I’d try increasing the cetearyl alcohol content 🙂