I can hardly believe it, but I don’t think I’ve ever shared a formula for a leave-in hair conditioner before. I’ve had plenty of requests, but somehow such a thing has slipped through the cracks—until now! This lightweight Rosé Leave In Hair Conditioner helps hydrate, smooth, and re-vitalize hair between washes, and it smells delightful to boot!
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This lovely Rosé Leave In Hair Conditioner marks the start of a new series—Rosé! I thought it was a theme perfectly suited to late spring/early summer, so you’ll be seeing formulas with these theme roll out over the coming months. The core ingredients are both from Plant’s Power; their rich, juicy rose hydrosol, and their unique green cognac essential oil. The rose hydrosol will likely be familiar, but I’m betting the green cognac essential oil will be new to many of you, as it was new to me. It’s the essential oil made from green cognac grapes, and to me it smells of crisp, fresh white or rosé wine. It doesn’t have the weight of red wine, and doesn’t smell boozy—just fresh, crisp, and lovely. Paired with rose hydrosol and some citrussy grapefruit we end up with a scent blend that is beautifully reminiscent of mid-afternoon picnics in a beautiful French jardin with a bottle of rosé, a baguette, and a punnet of freshly picked strawberries. J’adore!
Because this is a leave-in conditioner, I’ve kept the oil phase quite small—just 4%, equal parts beautiful argan oil and conditioning BTMS-50. I have type 1B hair, which isn’t very tolerant of oils, but if your hair loves oil more you can double or even triple the oil phase, removing the extra amount from the distilled water. This will result in a richer, thicker end product (that would also work really well as a rinse-out conditioner for hair like mine).
In our cool down phase you’ll find our essential oil blend and some super cool hydrolyzed rice protein. Hydrolyzed rice protein contains both positively and negatively charged proteins, which means they repel one another—giving our hair volume! How cool is that?! You can learn more about hydrolyzed rice protein in the encyclopedia here.
This Rosé Leave In Hair Conditioner comes together just like a lotion, but because of the small oil phase it doesn’t thicken up like you might expect a lotion to thicken. It does thicken a wee but, but if you’re using an immersion blender to blast your emulsion together I think you’ll find it’s still pretty splatter-prone, so be careful!
I chose to store mine in little 30mL (1fl oz) squeeze bottles with turret tops (gifts galore from a 100g [3.5oz] batch!). I found a 100g (3.5oz) batch filled three 30mL (1fl oz) bottles perfectly. Because of the low viscosity of the end product I’d recommend something well suited to dispensing small amounts of runny product, like a treatment pump or a bottle with a small opening.
I love how the finished conditioner makes my hair feel—it tames flyaways beautifully and leaves my hair feeling soft, super comb-able, and generally well behaved. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
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Rosé Leave-In Hair Conditioner
Heated water phase
37.95g | 37.95% distilled water
50g | 50% rose hydrosol
2g | 2% panthenol powder (vitamin B5)
0.8g | 0.8% cetrimonium chloride (30% solution) (USA / Canada)
2g | 2% sodium lactate (60% solution)
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 BTMS-50 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.
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.
And you’re done! All that’s left to do is bottle it up. I used three 30mL (1fl oz) HDPE bottles with turret caps and gifted the other two to friends.
To use, spread a few drops of the conditioner across your palms and work into your hair, repeating as necessary.
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 100g.
- 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 please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can use a different hydrosol in place of the rose hydrosol, or more water. Keep in mind this will impact the scent of the end product.
- You could try glycerin or sodium lactate instead of the panthenol.
- A different conditioning ingredient like polyquaternium 7 or honeyquat could work in place of the cetrimonium chloride.
- I don’t recommend swapping out the BTMS-50. BTMS-25 will work, but it has half the conditioning power and there’s already such a low amount of BTMS in this formula that halving it will have a very noticeable impact. You could try Varisoft EQ 65, but I don’t find it to be a very strong conditioner (be sure to meet its pH requirements if you use it).
- You can use a different liquid oil your hair loves instead of argan oil.
- You can use a different essential oil blend.
- You can use a different hydrolyzed protein instead of hydrolyzed rice protein.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this page.
The rose hydrosol and green cognac essential oil were gifted by Plant’s Power.