Polyquaternium 10

What is it? Polyquaternium 10 is an ingredient that adds conditioning to our formulations and also thickens them. It is made from hydroxyethylcellulose.
INCI Polyquaternium-10
Appearance Soft, slightly clumpy off-white powder
Usage rate 0.05–2%

Start with less than you think you’ll need; Polyquaternium 10 is a very effective thickener. Making Cosmetics lists 2% as an upper range, but many manufacturers list an upper range of 0.3–0.5%.

Scent Fishy, though I don’t find the scent to be noticeable in finished products as the effective usage rate is so low.
pH 5–8 (Check with your supplier for specifics on what you have)

The manufacturer Nouryon recommends a range of 4–8 is recommended for finished formulations, but I have seen Polyquaternium 10 used in professional formulations that almost certainly have a pH lower than 4.

Charge Cationic (positive)
Solubility Polyquaternium 10 is water soluble
Why do we use it in formulations? Polyquaternium 10 thickens and adds conditioning properties. It is useful for haircare and skincare products in both rinse-off and leave-on applications.

In hair products (both wash-out and leave-in) it improves comb-through, improves the feel and appearance of the hair, reduces breakage, improves curl retention, and gives the hair a really lovely, substantive feel.

In skincare products a small amount (~0.05%) boosts viscosity, improves slip, and gives the overall product a rich, elegant feel: it makes serums feel more serum-y. A little goes a long way, though! Too much can feel a bit snotty.

Do you need it? No, but it is very useful, especially if you’re interested in formulating haircare.
Refined or unrefined? Polyquaternium 10 only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Potent and highly effective conditioning ingredient that leaves hair and skin feeling amazing.
Weaknesses It isn’t widely available.
Alternatives & Substitutions As always, begin by determining why Polyquaternium 10 is included in a formulation. It will add both thickening and conditioning, but are both functions essential to a formulation?

Cationic guar gum can work nicely as it is also a powder that conditions and thickens.

Polyquaternium 7 can also work nicely as an alternative. It is a very viscous liquid that is 8–10% active, so you can generally assume it’s about 1/10th as potent as Polyquaternium 10. If a formulation calls for 0.3% Polyquaternium 10, I’d try replacing it with 3% Polyquaternium 7, reducing the water in the formulation to make room for the extra 2.7%.

Depending on the formulation, you may be able to replace the conditioning benefits of Polyquaternium 10 with a fatty conditioning ingredient like BTMS-50 or Behentrimonium Chloride.

If the primary reason for including Polyquaternium 10 in a formulation is thickening, you can look at replacing it with a non-cationic thickener like hydroxyethylcellulose or soft xanthan gum. I recommend choosing something that creates smooth, clear gels.

You can also generally leave Polyquaternium 10 out of formulations (replacing it with more water to keep the formulation in balance). It’ll be a loss, but the formulation likely won’t fail. As always, make sure you understand why Polyquaternium 10 is in the formulation and what it’s doing for the formulation. If you’re making a hair conditioner and Polyquaternium 10 is the only cationic ingredient in the formulation, you’ll be losing the conditioning part of hair conditioner. If it’s a facial serum that includes a tiny amount of Polyquaternium 10 to boost viscosity and skin feel, removing the Polyquaternium 10 will result in a thinner and less luxurious feeling formulation, but it will still work.

How to Work with It Pre-disperse Polyquaternium 10 in a non-water liquid in your formulation (glycerin, liquid oil, etc.) before adding water to the formulation. Stir and allow to hydrate; this can be sped up by blending with a powered mixer like an immersion blender or a Mini Mixer.

In emulsions, Polyquaternium 10 can be included in the oil phase to prevent clumping.

Polyquaternium 10 can be hot or cold processed.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Polyquaternium 10 should last at least 2 years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Despite its positive charge, Polyquaternium 10 is “compatible with anionic, nonionic, cationic and amphoteric systems.” (source)
Recommended starter amount 30g (1.06oz)
Where to Buy Polyquaternium 10 Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier. Mine is from Making Cosmetics.

Some Formulations that Use Polyquaternium 10

Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer

What is it? Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer is a film-former that brings waterproof, smudge-proof, and transfer-proof characteristics to our formulations.

There are four products with this INCI on UL Prospector that are sold by Nouryon. TKB Trading sells Dermacryl® 79. I believe the one sold by Making Cosmetics is also Dermacryl® 79 (the other three are marketed for hair applications rather than skin/cosmetic applications).

INCI Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer
Appearance Fine white powder
Usage rate 0.5–10%, depending on usage. 1–10% is suggested for colour cosmetics, 0.5–3% for creams and lotions.
Texture Can make formulations tacky depending on usage level and overall formulation.
Scent Nothing noticeable
pH Not stated
Charge Anionic
Solubility Alcohol, isopropanol, and fatty alcohols. It is soluble in water with neutralization using a base; the manufacturer recommends triethanolamine (TEA), ammonium hydroxide, or potassium hydroxide.
Why do we use it in formulations? We include Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer in formulations for improved wear-time and film-forming awesomeness.
Do you need it? No, but I highly recommend it if you are interested in making water or alcohol-based long-wearing cosmetics.
Refined or unrefined? Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer is excellent at making products long-wearing and waterproof.
Weaknesses It’s hard to find—I’ve only found it in the USA.
Alternatives & Substitutions I don’t know of anything that is available to home crafters. If you can access them, ingredients like Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Acrylates Copolymer, Ammonium Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, and Ammonium Acrylates Copolymer look promising—just be sure to research the specific product you’re looking at as the INCI won’t necessarily tell the entire story. The manufacturer should list waterproofing and film-forming properties in the product description. Nouryon’s entire “Dermacryl®” line is different waterproofing film-formers.

Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane (Flake Resin) and Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer (TKB Film Fix) are also great film formers, though you will likely need to re-formulate to create a high performing end product.

How to Work with It How you’ll want to incorporate Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer depends a lot on what else is in the formulation.

If your formulation contains quite a lot of high-proof alcohol, I find it mixes into that very easily when making small batches. I will pre-disperse the powdered Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer in another liquid that’s in the formulation (preferring something fatty or a humectant) and then add the alcohol and use my Micro Mini Mixer (Badger Paint Mixer) to combine.

If you wish to disperse the Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer in water, the water will need to be neutralized with a high pH ingredient. “The polymer becomes water soluble/dispersible by neutralizing the carboxyl groups with a suitable water soluble base, such as triethanolamine, 2-amino-2-methyl-1-propanol (AMP), ammonium hydroxide, or potassium hydroxide” (Source: Nouryon data sheet for DERMACRYL 79). Making Cosmetics recommends including 0.5% triethanolamine (TEA) to neutralize 2% Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer. If the water is not appropriately/fully neutralized the Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer will not fully disperse/solubilize. Nouryon recommends 80–100% neutralization. “To simplify addition of DERMACRYL 79 polymer into the water phase, pre-slurry together the neutralizing agent, glycol or glycerin, and DERMACRYL 79 polymer” (Source).

You can find a lot more information on how to work with Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer here.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer should last at least 3 years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer is the film-former in LipSense lip colours that makes them very long-wearing and transfer-proof.
Recommended starter amount 50g (1.76oz)
Where to Buy it You can purchase Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer from TKB Trading and Making Cosmetics, both in the USA.

Some Formulations that Use Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer

Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer (TKB Film Fix)

What is it? Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer is a film former that imparts non-transfer and water-resistant properties to our cosmetics. The active ingredient is Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer in a base of isododecane. The volatile isododecane base means Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer dries down quickly, leaving a sturdy protective film.

Innospec and Shin-Etsu Silicones of America both manufacture a product with this INCI. The Innospec product is called Specsil K-50; the Shin-Etsu product is called KP-550. Both manufacturers state their product is 40% active (60% isododecane).

Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer does not appear to be as popular as Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane (Flake Resin) in commercial cosmetics. It seems to be primarily used in waterproof sunscreens, but I have found it in products like Revlon’s ColorStay Satin Ink Liquid Lipstick, Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Hydrating Tint, Mented’s Lip Liners, and e.l.f. cosmetics’ 16hr Camo Concealer. I’ve noticed that most commercially available products that include Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer also include trimethylsiloxysilicate.

INCI Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer
Appearance Viscous clear liquid
Usage rate 0.5–10%

I have not found anything from Cosmetics Info/the CIR indicating that this is a safety-based limit; it appears to be more of an efficacy-based range.

Texture Clear viscous fluid
Scent Nothing much.
Solubility Oil, isododecane.
Why do we use it in formulations? Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer helps extend the wear time of our formulations by forming a durable, clear film that imparts water, wash-off, and transfer resistance.
Do you need it? I recommend it if you are interested in making long-wearing cosmetics.
Refined or unrefined? Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Effective, easy-to-use film former for imparting water and transfer resistance to cosmetic formulations.
Weaknesses Lack of global availability.
Alternatives & Substitutions A solution of Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane (Flake Resin) and isododecane would be a good place to start.
How to Work with It Include Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer in cosmetic formulations. It should not be heated much as isododecane is volatile and heat sensitive.

I recommend pairing Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer with other adhesion boosting ingredients like magnesium myristate and magnesium stearate for the best results.

Film-formers like Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer are broken down by oil—that’s why oil cleansers work so well to remove waterproof makeup! With that in mind, it’s not a good idea to put oil in formulations that rely on film-formers to perform well. The oil will diminish the effectiveness of the Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry,  Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer should last at least three years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Both Innospec and Shin-Etsu Silicones of America sell Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer in a variety of different bases/solvents, including dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane, and butyl acetate. There are no entries on UL Prospector for Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer as a standalone ingredient.
Recommended starter amount 30mL (1fl oz)
Where to Buy it I have only found  Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer for sale to home crafters from TKB Trading.

Some Formulations that Use Isododecane (and) Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer (TKB Film Fix)

Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane (Flake Resin)

What is Flake Resin? Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane is a product made by Dow chemicals; they call it “DOWSIL™ MQ-1640 Flake Resin”. TKB Trading sells it as “Flake Resin”.

Dow describes this product as “a unique combination of MQ and T propyl silicone resin. This combination of resin technologies has been especially developed to provide both excellent transfer and wash resistance combined with a flexible film and comfort of wear in skin and cosmetics applications. Even with stretching and washing the film formed by this product remained smooth and undamaged. In sunscreens it enhanced the SPF wash off resistance.” (source)

You can find Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane in tons of different long-wearing cosmetic products where it improves wear time and rub-off resistance. Examples include Fenty’s Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer, Sephora’s Lip Last Matte Lipstick, ITEM Beauty’s Air Hug Clean Lightweight Full-Coverage Concealer, Kaja’s Don’t Settle Concealer, Tarte’s Quick Dry Matte Lip Paint, and KVD’s Cake Pencil Eyeliner.

Trimethylsiloxysilicate is also manufactured and sold as a stand-alone ingredient (DOWSIL™ MQ-1600 Solid Resin). Trimethylsiloxysilicate (without Polypropylsilsesquioxane) is very commonly used in long-wearing cosmetics for its film-forming and long-wearing properties. Examples include Bobbi Brown’s Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, Urban Decay’s Primer Potion, Laura Mercier’s Caviar Stick Eye Shadow, Anastasia Beverly Hills’ DIPBROW™ Pomade, and NARS’ Powermatte Lip Pigment.

Both Trimethylsiloxysilicate and Polypropylsilsesquioxane are also available as components of other blended products. For instance, DOWSIL™ 593 Fluid is Dimethicone (and) Trimethylsiloxysilicate and DOWSIL™ 670 Fluid is Cyclopentasiloxane (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane, and Specsil K-75 is Isododecane (and) Trimethylsiloxysilicate.

Grant Industries Inc. manufactures several solutions of Trimethylsiloxysilicate and Polypropylsilsesquioxane in different solvents: isododecane (Granresin MQI-T50), cyclopentasiloxane (Granresin MQC-T50), and dimethicone (Granresin PHQ-Fluid).

INCI Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane
Appearance Dusty, translucent flakes/chunks
Usage rate 1–50% (though you shouldn’t need 50%!)
Texture The flakes are a bit tacky
Scent Nothing noticeable
Solubility Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane is soluble in quite a few different liquids including:

Different solvents perform differently; which one you choose will depend on your formulation needs. If you’re unsure, take a look at some commercially available formulations that are similar to what you are planning on making. In my research, I have found that isododecane and cyclomethicone + other cyclo-siloxanes are the most popular choices.

Why do we use Flake Resin in formulations? Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane improves the wear time and rub-off resistance of our formulations.
Do you need Flake Resin? If you want to make long-wearing cosmetics I highly recommend it.
Refined or unrefined? Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane only exists as a refined product.
Strengths Fantastic film former, great rub-off and water resistance.
Weaknesses I think limited global availability is its biggest weakness. It’s also prone to tackiness if used at high concentrations.
Alternatives & Substitutions for Flake Resin You’ll need another excellent film-former; I’ve had good results with TKB Trading’s Film Fix.
How to Work with It You’ll need to dissolve the Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane in a suitable solvent before you can include it in your formulations. Which solvent you choose will depend on your formulation needs.

If you read through the reviews for Flake Resin on TKB Trading you’ll see most users prefer isododecane as their solvent of choice, and TKB Trading also recommends isododecane for the best performance. I have seen products for sale that use cyclomethicone as the solvent. I have yet to find any products for sale that use isopropyl myristate (IPM), C12-15 alkyl benzoate, or MCT as the solvent for Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane.

I make my own version of Grant Industries’ Granresin MQI-T50 by weighing equal parts isododecane and Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane into a bottle (50% isododecane, 50% flake resin) and work with that. A reviewer named “Astarie D.” on TKB shared that they use an 80/20 mix of Isododecane and flake resin. Remember that isododecane is volatile, so if that’s your solvent you need to be careful heating it.

Film-formers like Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane are broken down by oil—that’s why oil cleansers work so well to remove waterproof makeup! With that in mind, it’s not a good idea to put oil in formulations that rely on Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane performing well. The oil will diminish the effectiveness of the Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane.

For a great starter formulation, try TKB Trading’s free Liquid Lipstick project! It can also be adapted into eyeliners, cream eyeshadows, blushes, and more.

Luisa True Skincare also has a very helpful post on formulating and making liquid lipstick that you can find here. This formulation uses just trimethylsiloxysilicate but does mention polypropylsilsesquioxane as a potential ingredient to include.

Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks As wonderful as Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane is for improving the wear time of our cosmetics, it’s not the only ingredient you’ll need in formulation to ensure it is long-wearing. Just because something has excellent rub-off resistance when you scrub at it on your arm doesn’t mean it will wear well on your eyes or mouth for hours 😊 I have had great results pairing it with ingredients like magnesium stearate and magnesium myristate.
Recommended starter amount 30g (1.06oz)
Where to Buy it  TKB Trading sells it as “Flake Resin“. Making Cosmetics sells it as “Silicone Resin“.

Some Formulations that Use Trimethylsiloxysilicate (and) Polypropylsilsesquioxane (Flake Resin)

Lipomoist™ 2036

What is it? Lipomoist™ 2036 is a specialized blend of hydrolyzed proteins (wheat and soy) and amino acids (serine, arginine, and proline) that boosts the moisturizing powers of our formulations.  Lipomoist™ 2036 is manufactured by Lipotec and is part of their Lipomoist™ line of products (Lipomoist™ 2013 and Lipomoist™ 2022 also exist, so make sure any research you’re doing is on the correct product).

According to Lipotec, Lipomoist™ 2036 “forms a moisturizing protective film on the skin, increases the cellular protein levels, [and] induces formation of collage IV”.

INCI Aqua, Xanthan Gum, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Pectin, Proline, Serine, Arginine, Glucose, Butylene Glycol, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin.
Appearance Off-white cloudy, wobbly gel
Usage rate 3–10%
Texture Slippery, wet.
Scent Faint and unremarkable.
pH 6–7.5
Solubility Lipomoist™ 2036 is water-soluble.
Why do we use it in formulations? Lipomoist™ 2036 is an excellent addition to moisturizing skincare and haircare formulations.
Do you need it? No, but it is nice to have, especially if you have dry skin.
Refined or unrefined? Lipomoist™ 2036 only exists as a refined product.
Strengths It’s an easy and effective way to amp up the moisturizing powers of your formulations.
Weaknesses It is not super widely available.
Alternatives & Substitutions I’d try a hydrolyzed protein or two (silk, quinoa, oat, baobab, quinoa, rice, etc.), possibly combined with a humectant like sodium lactate or vegetable glycerin. If a formulation called for 5% Lipomoist™ 2036 I’d try replacing it with 3–4% hydrolyzed protein(s) of choice and 1–2% humectant. It won’t be quite the same, but you’ll still get some good moisturizing in your formulation.
How to Work with It Include Lipomoist™ 2036 in the cool-down phase of your formulations, incorporating at or below 40°C (104°F).
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, Lipomoist™ 2036 should last at least 18 months.

According to the product datasheet from Lipotec, Lipomoist™ 2036 is preserved with Phenoxyethanol (1.035%), caprylyl glycol (1%), ethylhexylglycerin (0.5%), and butylene glycol (0.11%)

Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Lipotec lists two different INCIs for this product, depending on where you look. The shorter INCI listed on UL Prospector is “Aqua (and) Xanthan Gum (and) Pectin (and) Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (and) Serine (and) Arginine (and) Proline”. This shorter INCI does not specify which proteins are included or include the ingredients used to preserve the product. Your supplier may use either INCI.
Recommended starter amount 30g (1.06oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Some Formulations that Use Lipomoist™ 2036

Hydrolyzed Oat Protein

What is Hydrolyzed Oat Protein? Hydrolyzed oat protein (or hydrolyzed oats; the names seem to be used interchangeably) is a liquid cosmetic ingredient made from oat protein that has been modified to be water-soluble.

It boosts the moisturizing & hydrating properties of our formulations while improving skin feel. I love it in skincare and haircare products!

INCI Hydrolyzed oat protein
Appearance Thin amber liquid
Usage rate 0.5–8%
Scent Nothing noticeable in finished products
pH 4–6
Solubility Water
Why do we use it in formulations? Hydrolyzed oat protein helps boost the moisturizing properties of our products by helping hold water to the skin.
Do you need it? No, but it is a good starter hydrolyzed protein.
Strengths Excellent moisture retention with improved skin feel.
Weaknesses Those with severe wheat allergies may wish to avoid hydrolyzed oat protein due to possible cross-contamination concerns.
Alternatives & Substitutions A different hydrolyzed protein would be the best substitution for hydrolyzed oat protein. Try hydrolyzed silk, baobab, quinoa, rice, or wheat proteins.
How to Work with It Include it in the water phase of your recipe; it can be hot or cold processed. If I can put it in the cool-down phase of a formulation, I will.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, hydrolyzed oat protein should last 12–18 months.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Hydrolyzed oat protein will typically contain preservatives as it is an aqueous product; check the spec sheets from your suppliers to find out what preservative is in the one your purchase if that matters to you.

I love to combine hydrolyzed oat protein with colloidal oatmeal and oat oil for lovely oat-themed formulations!

Recommended starter amount 30mL (1fl oz)
Where to Buy it Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Some Formulations that Use Hydrolyzed Oat Protein