Varisoft® EQ 65 (Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol)

What is it? Varisoft® EQ 65 is a natural, biodegradeable cationic emulsifier/surfactant. It is both ECOcert and COSMOS certified. It contains approximately 65% active matter.
INCI Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride, Cetearyl Alcohol
Appearance White/slightly off-white pellets
Usage rate 1–10%
Scent A bit fishy
Approximate Melting Point 80°C (176°F)
pH 3.0–6.0 (5% solution)
Charge Positive
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Varisoft® EQ 65 gives our products “conditioning” power (slip, improved comb-through & detangling, improved hair feel), though not as much as less natural alternatives like BTMS-50 and behentrimonium chloride (BTMC). It also functions as a complete emulsifying wax.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? Varisoft® EQ 65 only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Natural, relatively easy to use cationic emulsifier/surfactant.
Weaknesses I find it does not perform as well as less natural alternatives like BTMS-50 and behentrimonium chloride (BTMC).
Alternatives & Substitutions You’ll need to use something else that is both a complete emulsifying wax and conditioning/cationic. BTMS-50 would be a good, easy alternative. Behentrimonium Chloride (BTMC) can be a good alternative; pure BTMC does not contain any stabilizing ingredients so if a recipe calls for 5% Varisoft® EQ 65 I would recommend using 3% each BTMC and 2% cetearyl alcohol. The maxiumum recommended usage rate for BTMC is 3%.

Non-cationic emulsifying waxes (Polawax, Emulsifying Wax NF, Olivem 1000, Ritamulse, etc.) are not good alternatives for Varisoft® EQ 65 as they are not going to bring that conditioning element to your formulation. They’ll emulsify the product, but that’s it. This is likely not going to ruin the product, but it will definitely negatively impact the performance. If it’s a hair conditioner you will definitely notice a decline in detangling and the silkiness of the hair. If it’s a conditioning body butter, there’s really no reason to use something Polawax in place of the Varisoft® EQ 65; the Varisoft® EQ 65 was included primarily for the conditioning element, not the emulsifying element, so using a non-cationic emulsifying wax in its place is somewhat useless. In an anhydrous application I’d probably try replacing Varisoft® EQ 65 with 50% cetyl or cetearyl alcohol and 50% soft or liquid oil (more of whatever is in the recipe). That will likely require some tweaking for proper consistency, though. You would likely be better off looking for a body butter recipe that doesn’t use Varisoft® EQ 65.

You could try incorporating a different cationic ingredient like a polyquaternarium into your formulation to replace the conditioning part of the Varisoft® EQ 65, and then using a non-cationic emulsifying wax. You will need to watch solubility and usage rates, though.

How to Work with It Include Varisoft® EQ 65 in the heated oil phase of your concoctions; I find it typically does not fully melt in water baths, so I usually have to finish melting my oil phase in the microwave.

The pH of the final product needs to be below 5 as Varisoft® EQ 65 breaks down in higher pH environments. General recommendations for final products are in the 4–4.5 range.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Varisoft® EQ 65 should last at least one year.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks I find Varisoft® EQ 65 creates funny little transparent pellet blobs when I try to melt it in a water bath.
Recommended starter amount 100g (3.5oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Some Recipes that Use Varisoft® EQ 65

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