Cetrimonium Chloride

What is it? Cetrimonium chloride is a liquid quaternary ammonium salt, typically purchased as an aqueous solution with approximately 30% concentration. It functions as a conditioning agent and surfactant in our products.
INCI Cetrimonium chloride
Appearance Clear water-like liquid.
Usage rate Up to 0.25% in leave-on products as per the CIR. The CIR states cetrimonium chloride is “safe for use in rinse-off products”; I’ve found recommended usage rates for rinse-off products starting at 0.25% topping out between 4–10%.
Texture Thin liquid that foams when agitated.
Scent Alcohol-like
pH I have found a wide variation in stated pH values, from roughly 3–9 with solutions 2%–10%. I would check with your supplier for the particular one you’ve purchased.
Charge Cationic (positive)
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Cetrimonium chloride is an excellent conditioning agent for hair, with anti-static, anti-frizz, and detangling properties. It also functions as an emulsifier and surfactant, helping boost rinse-off and stabilize emulsions.
Do you need it? No, but it is very useful for hair products.
Strengths Excellent conditioning agent
Weaknesses Low maximum usage rate for leave-on products due to high potential for skin irritation.
Alternatives & Substitutions You’d need something else liquid and cationic at a bare minimum; something like honeyquat or Polyquaternium-7 could be a good place to start. Cetrimonium Bromide and Steartrimonium Chloride could also be good alternatives, but these may be harder for home crafters to source.
How to Work with It Include cetrimonium chloride in the heated water phase of recipes. It can also be cold-processed if the recipe requires no heat.

Normal safety precautions (i.e., gloves and safety goggles) should be employed when handling. Contact with the eyes and skin should be avoided. Wash thoroughly after handling material.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Cetrimonium Chloride has a three year shelf life.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Cetrimonium chloride is also known as cetyl trimethyl ammonium chloride.
Recommended starter amount 30mL (1fl oz)
Where to Buy it Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Cetrimonium Chloride


Posted on

January 7, 2019