After sharing my Mango Mango Shampoo Bar formula there were questions about a Mango Mango Conditioner, and I’m excited to share this cheery orange and oh-so-fragrance Mango Mango Cleansing Conditioner formula with you today! You can use this as both a cleansing conditioner or a normal conditioner—I find it works well as a sole cleanser most of the time, but if I’ve been using more hairspray or gel than usual it can be nice to start with a shampoo bar sudsing up and then follow that with a palmful of this conditioner from the ears down. However you decide to use it I think you (and your hair) will really enjoy the smooth, creamy consistency and gentle conditioning of this happy orange conditioner 😊
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
Something new/different about this cleansing conditioner formula is the use of a natural cationic emulsifier/surfactant called Varisoft® EQ 65 (INCI: Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol). The conditioning agent, Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride, is biodegradable and ECOcert-certified, so if you’re looking for a natural alternative to BTMS-50, this just might be up your alley.
I’ve been testing a variety of formulas using Varisoft® EQ 65 and I’ve found it to work fairly well, but I definitely don’t find it to be as potent of a conditioner as BTMS-50 or behentrimonium chloride (BTMC). If you need super strong, ultra-slippy conditioning for your hair I’m not sure you’ll be entirely satisfied with the performance of Varisoft® EQ 65. For this reason I’ve amped up the conditioning power of this cleansing conditioner with the inclusion of two other cationic ingredients—polyquaternium 7 and cetrimonium chloride. I wouldn’t class either as particularly natural, but I have provided a more natural alternative in the substitutions section below the formula.
Products made with Varisoft® EQ 655 need to have a pH below 5 as it tends to break down in higher pH environments. We generally want haircare products to be in the 3.5–5.5 range, and with this emulsifier we are aiming for something above 3.5 and below 5. Please watch the video to see the testing and adjusting in action!
I’ve kept the oil phase of this cleansing conditioner fairly small as my hair (type 1B) is not hugely tolerant of oils—a large oil phase means this conditioner isn’t likely to be getting my hair cleaner! The liquid oil part is entirely vibrant orange sea buckthorn fruit oil, and then we get some added thickening from some cetearyl alcohol. Since the oil phase here is so small without a thickener like cetearyl alcohol the end product would be pretty prone to being runny— cetearyl alcohol helps contribute some lovely body and additional richness. I’ve also included a bit of LuxGlide N350, a natural dimethicone 350 alternative. If you don’t have it, please refer to the substitutions at the end of the formula.
Another awesome-for-hair ingredient I’ve used in this formula is hydrolyzed quinoa protein. Hydrolyzed quinoa protein has been found to have some unique hair benefits, including reduction of hair dye wash-out, protecting and strengthening the hair, and improving shine and hydration.
In keeping with our ongoing mango theme we’ve got some beautiful mango natural fragrance oil giving this cleansing conditioner its stunning, mouth-watering scent. Some Cocamidopropyl Betaine gives this cleansing conditioner its cleansing power, boosting rinse-out of both the conditioner and the stuff you’re looking to get out of your hair. This conditioner comes together just like a lotion, so if you’ve made lotion before you’ll be off to the races in no time. Happy conditioning!
Want to watch this project instead of read it?
Mango Mango Cleansing Conditioner
Heated water phase
172.698g | 71.96% distilled water
9.6g | 4% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
2.4g | 1% panthenol powder (vitamin B5) (USA / Canada)
2.4g | 1% polyquaternium 7 (USA / Canada)
4.8g | 2% cetrimonium chloride (USA / Canada)
Heated oil phase
9.6g | 4% Varisoft EQ 65
4.8g | 2% sea buckthorn fruit oil
6g | 2.5% cetearyl alcohol (USA / Canada)
7.2g | 3% LuxGlide N350 (USA / Canada)
Cool down phase
7.2g | 3% hydrolyzed quinoa protein
9.6g | 4% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
0.102g | 0.04% Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
1.2g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
2.4g | 1% mango natural 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 the Varisoft EQ 65 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 heat and hold, 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.
While it’s cooling, we’re going to get set up to adjust the pH. Be sure to read this great article on the importance of diluting solutions when pH testing them—we’re doing that here! Prepare at least two small bowls by weighing 9g of distilled water into them (you’re going to want a scale that’s accurate to 0.01g for this). To make your citric acid solution, weigh 5g of citric acid into a small beaker and add 5g of distilled water. Stir to combine; you’ll probably a couple quick microwave bursts are required to get the citric acid to dissolve as this is a pretty concentrated solution.
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 lotion 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 lotion. Doing it this way minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.
To test the pH, add 1g of product to one of the bowls containing 9g of water to create a 10% dilution, and pH check that. If necessary, add a drop of the citric acid solution to the parent batch, stir, and re-test. Continue until the pH is in the 4–4.5 range. Please watch the video to see this in action!
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. A 240mL/8oz tottle is a good choice.
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.
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 260g.
- 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!
- You could use a different humectant instead of the glycerine, like sodium lactate or propanediol.
- If you don’t have the Polyquaternium 7 or cetrimonium chloride you can use all of one (the maximum wash off usage rate for both is 10%). You could also use honeyquat (USA / Canada), though I have found it has a much stronger fishy smell. The maximum usage rate for honeyquat is 5%, so you could use it instead of either or both the Polyquaternium 7 or cetrimonium chloride. If you don’t have any non-fatty conditioning ingredients you can replace the Polyquaternium 7 and cetrimonium chloride with more water, but this will reduce the conditioning level of the end product.
- I do not recommend swapping the Varisoft EQ 65 for a non-cationic emulsifying wax. Because we do have some other conditioning ingredients in this recipe you won’t be completely removing the conditioning element from the recipe, but I’d still consider it a pretty substantial loss to the end product. You could use BTMS-50 instead.
- You can use a different orange oil (like buriti or sea buckthorn seed oil) instead of the sea buckthorn fruit oil, or you can replace it with a different liquid oil (this will eliminate the orange colour).
- If you replace the sea buckthorn fruit oil with a non-orange oil you can try using 0.75% non-orange liquid carrier oil and 0.25% orange mica to keep the colour.
- You can use cetyl alcohol (USA / Canada) instead of cetearyl alcohol.
- You can replace theLuxGlide N350 with dimethicone 350 (USA / Canada), or with a different liquid oil (I probably wouldn’t use more seabuckthorn fruit oil as that might be getting orange enough to stain the skin).
- You can try a different hydrolyzed protein, like hydrolyzed oat protein or hydrolyzed silk (USA / Canada) in place of the hydrolyzed quinoa protein.
- You can replace the Cocamidopropyl Betaine with more water, but this will decrease the wash-off of the end product and it will no longer be a cleansing conditioner (it’ll just be a conditioner, which is still nice!). You can increase the cleansing strength by increasing it to 6%, removing that extra 2% from the distilled water. You could use a different amphoteric surfactant for the Cocamidopropyl Betaine, but I haven’t had much luck finding any that are easily available to homecrafters. Les Âmes Fleurs sells babassuamidopropyl betaine, and Essential Wholesale sells sodium cocoamphoacetate. Both should be good alternatives, though if you use sodium cocoamphoacetate you will definitely need to test and adjust the pH downwards.
- You can use a different essential oil blend or fragrance oil if you prefer.
The natural mango fragrance oil and hydrolyzed quinoa protein were gifted by Essential Wholesale. The sea buckthorn fruit oil was gifted by SIBU. The Varisoft EQ 65 was gifted by Windy Point Soap Making Supplies.
Hey Marie! This cleansing conditioner sounds so so lovely!!! I need to research that LuxGlide and see how it differs from a regular silicone. I usually avoid silicones in my hair products, being a follower of the Curly Girl Method, so I’m wondering if it will wash off without the need of a sulfate shampoo. I bought some LuxGlide to try in lotions but now you’ve got me thinking about it’s use in a conditioner….. I want to make this now and test it out!!! Thanks for all the hard work you put in to create such wonderful recipes for us!! I, for one, as deeply appreciative!
Pssst! Hey other B!
Wanna be my mule for some of this mango natural fragrance oil? It’s like 90USD for delivery to Ireland! So need to move.
And I need some sea buckthorn fruit oil. I miss that oomph-bright- happy- smack your face up- colour it gives to mango and citrus scented products! I need to carve some time out to make some stuff!
Marie, awesome stuff as always! Have you noticed a big difference between the oat or quinoa protein? I truly never noticed a difference between the liquid proteins I’ve bough in the past and keen to hear others opinions on the matter!
Barb, I commented in another thread but I will post it here as well: I have friends who will be in Dublin for about a month from mid June to mid July. I commented in another thread but I will post it here as well: I have friends who will be in Dublin for about a month from mid June to mid July Don’t know where you are in Ireland but I am sure they could transport for you. I’m on my 3rd natural mango fragrance—so yummy!
Three! Wowza 😀 I’ve emailed Barb about your offer, too, just to make sure she can’t miss it 🙂
I still have some of the SBO you sent me from China! It was such a huuuuge bottle given the usage rate, ha!
When it comes to the liquid hydrolyzed proteins I feel like I can tell a difference with the rice protein, but I’m not sure I notice much of a difference between the other ones. Perhaps I would if I had less “anything goes” hair?
That sea buckthorn fruit oil I sent you was wicked! I truly miss the awesome (not to mention insanely cheap) ingredients I used to get! Have you ever tried sea buckthorn fruit juice????
I’m actually hoping to hit up a whiskey distillery next weekend (or a museum- not sure which yet), want to pop over and go with me? I need a fellow tester! Lol!
I haven’t tried the juice but oh my goodness I’d like to try the whiskey 😀 After that maybe you can pop over to Calgary and I can tour you around our craft breweries?! 😛
I look forward to hearing what you and your curly hair learn/decide! Thank you so much for your ongoing support and encouragement <3 And of course, thanks for DIYing with me and happy making 🙂
I’ve been looking for a formula to use my VariSoft, so thanks! Barb, I have friends leaving for Ireland June 15 and they could be a mule for you. They’ll be in Dublin for the month. Does that work for you?
OOoh I love this developing ingredient delivery network 😀 And I hope you enjoy the conditioner!
YES! Oh yes! That works amazingly well! Thank you so much Barbara! It’s Ireland. Everything is just down the road from everything (by a North American standard that is). I’ll get in touch!
Marie, I know! It was actually through your blog that I got to know The Amazing Belinda, and the ingredient swaps with her have been truly fantastic. Not to mention the few I did in China and the couple I’ve since done here. I am at the point where I would much prefer to just do an ingredient share than a wholesale supplier buy! And on that note…. I might have found one of the rarest finds of all through a customer at work. And it might just be the epic jackpot. I’ll tell you more soon!
Love it! Lived in Dublin on and off and Ireland is truly such a village! Just let me know quantities you need and we will get it sorted.
You’re a gem! I’ve dropped you an email! Thank you so much!
OOoooh, colour me intrigued! 😀
Thanks for sharing.. Please could you show any baked makeup compact powder.
I will keep it in mind, thanks for the suggestion.
This isn’t related to this post. I came across a Paula’s Choice product which is a on-the-go shielding powder that only has zinc oxide 19.24% as sun protection. I’m wondering whether or not I can just add this percentage of zinc oxide to your airbrushing powder from the book? This isn’t to replace sunscreen but to add a bit more protection for reapplying throughout the day, especially at the beach where I can’t wash my hands and don’t want my dirty hands on my face haha . Thanks
Hello Marie’s Fan!
Nope. At the end of the day, DIY sun screen in any form is just not that good idea. Marie’s posted on it a few times. You would run the risk of splotchy/streaky potential tanning! Wide brim hats for the win!
I guess I should just get the product to be safe haha:) Thanks
Whipped up a test batch this morning with some subs. Was looking for something more two in one and now can’t wait til shower time! I’ve been using cp shampoo bars and solid conditioner, but wanted to switch it up. Thanks!
I look forward to hearing your thoughts 🙂 Thanks for DIYing with me, and happy making 🙂
I made this yesterday with 3 substitutions. Coconut oil instead of sea buckthorn fruit oil, hydrolyzed oat instead of hydrolyzed quinoa, and orange essential oil instead of mango fragrance oil.
I followed the method exactly, including a zap in the microwave followed by a stir to incorporate the oil phase. My end product had all these chunkies/blobbies start to form though. Any ideas why this is happening?
I wouldn’t expect any of those substitutions to be problematic, so I’d suspect you didn’t blend the cool down phase in well enough. I’ve noticed the same blobs/lumps/chunks form while I incorporate the cool down phase and can imagine they’d stick around if I didn’t keep stirring. This does seem to be more prone to happening with cleansing conditioners. Perhaps try a whisk to incorporate if a spatula isn’t working well for you. Thoroughly pre-blending a smaller amount of lotion/conditioner into the cool down phase before incorporating it into the master batch also helps 🙂 It’s an easy thing to try for a first round of troubleshooting, at least! Happy making!
I’ve followed your blog for years and on Facebook too. I was wondering if I could turn this into a cleansing conditioner bar or maybe use one of your conditioner bar recipes and make it mildly cleansing too. I have sometimes severe allergies to preservatives and have a method to keep bars dry in between uses. A bar used this way would make it possible to avoid having to use preservatives.
Thank you so much!
It is possible, but it’s going to depend a lot on your hair type. By their very nature, solid conditioner bars feature a lot more solid, fatty ingredients. For my hair, if a product has that much, it’s not going to get any cleaner. You’ll notice my cleansing conditioners typically have an oil phase of 10% or less, while the oil phase of a solid conditioner bar is usually upwards of 70%! Your hair may thrive with more oily, though—you’ll have to experiment and see!
Personally, I’d just use a solid shampoo bar and a solid conditioner bar as two individual things if the aim is to create solid things that may not need preserving 🙂 Happy making!
This is my first time commenting but I’ve been following your blog for years, since the post on how to remove sticky labels from glass.
Have you ever tried CleanLocks from Ingredients to Die for in cleansing conditioner? I’ve had it for a while but idk exactly how to use it.
Also, have you considered duping Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask? I love it but it’s so expensive. I’m going to try but I’ve used agave for anything before.
Hi Ana! I’m afraid I haven’t tried CleanLocks, though it does look like a lot of fun to play with 🙂 I haven’t ever seen it for sale in Canada.
This is the only lip mask I have out at this point 🙂 I’ll keep the Bite one in mind, thanks for the suggestion!
I made this formulation a few months ago, and found that I wanted more cleansing…..so I adjusted the surfactants: 10 grams of coco betaine and 10 grams of foaming apple.; subtracting the added liquid from the water. First time with Varisoft it completely separated and was super watery. I assumed I had messed with the PH too much, so I remade it with BTMS-50 and the same thing is happening. Do I need more emulsifier because of the increased surfactants? Can I save the bottle by adding more? Or have I completely screwed up?
Hey Laura! I think the problem here is that you have introduced an anionic surfactant, which has an opposing charge to the cationic emulsifiers you’re using. Opposing charges can cause instability. I’d try dropping the anionic surfactant and seeing if that works better 🙂
(First off, I love your blog and YouTube so thanks for always inspiring me ❤️)
I’ve been dabbling with the idea of a 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner bar or cleansing conditioner bar. Using btms 50, btms 25 (wanted more hardening), cetyl alcohol, Coco betaine, and some polyquat 7 (I’ve also added some oils and cocoa butter but I don’t think that’s relevant to my problem). After the initial melting and pouring, there’s this booger like substance at the bottom of my mixed melted product. Is that the polyquat 7? Whatever it is, is also inhibiting the hardness of the bar.
Please let me know if this isn’t a thing and that I’m crazy or that I’m actually on to something 😀
I promise I watch your YouTube ads haha.
It’s hard to know, honestly. It could be PQ7 separating out, it could be a reaction between two or more of the ingredients in the bar. The easiest way to find out would be to make the bar again without the PQ7 and see what happens! Good luck & happy making!
I wonder if one of the pre-blended surfactants would work in this to increase the cleansing power or if the anionic part of the blend would make it separate. Otherwise, maybe increasing the coco betaine and adding some cc glucoside? What do you think?
It’s worth a try—I’d incorporate a gum to increase your chances of success 🙂 Happy making!
Marie, what would be the purpose of the gum in this scenario?
Added emulsion stability 🙂
Oh so good to know! Those little details mean so much! I made it this morning with 1% tara gum and 15% of the iselux. Awesome! I love these conditioning shampoos!
Hooray! Fingers crossed it remains stable 🙂