Today’s formulation is designed to pamper your hair and your nose! It’s a decadently thick and silky Strawberry Kiwi Conditioning Hair Treatment, made with satiny kiwi seed oil and deliciously fragrant strawberry hydrosol. I’ve been enjoying applying this Strawberry Kiwi Conditioning Hair Treatment about once a week before working out or puttering around my home in my pyjamas, and then washing it out whenever I get around to showering for ultra-silky hair! I’ve discussed different ways you could use this formulation depending on what your hair loves in both the video and this blog post—I think there’s something for everyone!
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
The oil phase stars lightweight kiwi seed oil, with some cetyl alcohol for added silky body and viscosity. Cetyl alcohol is wonderful for thickening emulsions without needing to dramatically increase the size of the oil phase, so you get a much lighter feeling emulsion than one with a similar viscosity that is due to a larger oil phase size (learn more with this video!). Cetyl alcohol also improves slip and works with our emulsifier to create a gorgeous, almost powdery finish.
I’ve used gorgeous BTMS-50 to emulsify everything together and deliver the majority of the conditioning kick for this hair treatment. The conditioning ingredient in BTMS-50 is Behentrimonium Methosulfate, present at 50% (hence the ’50’ in the name). I absolutely adore what Behentrimonium Methosulfate does for my hair (it’s amazing for skin, too!). It leaves my hair feeling all kinds of silky, soft, and richly conditioned. I’ve had a few inquiries lately about more natural alternatives to it; I’ve mentioned two that I’ve tried in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia post on BTMS-50, but in my opinion, they are nowhere near as good when it comes to hair conditioning. They are fine as emulsifiers, but I have been less than impressed by their performance in the haircare department.
We get even more conditioning from some cationic guar gum (which isn’t the same thing as regular guar gum) and some polyquaternium 7. If you don’t have either of these ingredients you don’t strictly need them, though they are lovely. There are more details in the substitutions list at the end of this post and in the Humblebee & Me DIY Encyclopedia.
Our scent (and the “strawberry” part of the theme) comes from mouthwatering, juicy strawberry distillate. Yum! If you don’t have it you could easily replace it with a different hydrosol, or use more water for an unscented product. You could also alter the formulation to scent it with an essential oil or fragrance oil; simply replace the hydrosol with distilled water and then decrease the total amount of water by 0.1–1% (depending on how much essential oil/fragrance oil you wish to include) and include the same amount of essential oil/fragrance oil in the cool-down phase. Make sure you are following safe usage guidelines for whatever you choose to use 🙂
The finished Strawberry Kiwi Conditioning Hair Treatment smells deliciously of strawberries and is luxuriously thick and creamy. So—how to use it? Much of that is up to you, and what your hair likes! My hair (a type 1B in the extended Andre Walker hair typing system) is not very tolerant of oils, so I use this as a weekly(ish) pre-shampoo treatment. I’ll apply a generous amount to wet or dry hair from my ears down to my ends, clip it up, and leave it for… a while. An hour or two, perhaps—it’ll depend on what I’m doing that day. Then I’ll wash it out (I may or may not follow up with more conditioner, depending on what sort of shampoo I used + my mood) and that’s it!
If your hair loves oils, you might prefer to use this Strawberry Kiwi Conditioning Hair Treatment without following up with a shampooing/washing. It does contain some Cocamidopropyl Betaine to aid rinse out, so you may be able to apply it and then rinse it out without the cleansing boost of shampoo. You might also find it makes a great post-shampoo conditioner, or even a good leave-in hair conditioner—it all depends on your hair and what it loves. There is no one way to use this Strawberry Kiwi Conditioning Hair Treatment—do what works for you and your hair!
Relevant links & further reading
- BTMS-50 in the Humblebee & Me Encyclopedia
- 5 Common Questions about Lotion/Emulsions on YouTube
- Science-y Hair Blog
- When Guar and Guar are Not the Same from LisaLise
- How much essential oil can I add to this recipe? from the Humblebee & Me FAQ
- Other conditioning hair formulations:
Want to watch this project instead of reading it?
Strawberry Kiwi Conditioning Hair Treatment
Heated water phase
31.69g | 31.69% distilled water
30g | 30% strawberry distillate
5g | 5% vegetable glycerine
2g | 2% Cocamidopropyl Betaine (USA / Canada)
0.5g | 0.5% panthenol powder (vitamin B5)
0.01g | 0.01% red dye
Cool down phase
4g | 4% hydrolyzed quinoa protein
0.3g | 0.3% Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)
3g | 3% Polyquaternium 7 (USA / Canada)
0.5g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada)
0.3g | 0.3% allantoin (USA / Canada)
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 or glass beaker. 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 and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat and weigh the water phase. Add enough hot distilled water to the heated water phase to bring the weight back up to what it was before heating, 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 mixture, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid hair treatment 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 hair treatment is thick and creamy.
When the hair treatment 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 hair treatment on that scale without blowing it out. So—grab a smaller dish. Add a scoop or two of hair treatment, 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 hair treatment. Doing it this way minimizes the amount of cool down ingredients lost to the secondary container.
Once the cool down phase has been incorporated, all that’s left to do is package it up!
There are lots of different ways to use this product, depending on your hair and your preferences. Please read the blog post to learn more!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this product contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative, this project may 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 formulation, 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 (allantoin, polyquaternium 7) please look up the ingredient in the encyclopedia before asking.
- You can use a different distillate/hydrosol for a different scent, or replace it with water for an unscented product.
- You could use propanediol 1,3 or sodium lactate instead of glycerin.
- If you’d like to learn more about the surfactants used and compare them to ones you might already have so you can make substitutions, check out this page and read this FAQ. I would recommend sticking with something amphoteric if you don’t have Cocamidopropyl Betaine. You can also replace it with water if you are planning on always shampooing this treatment out.
- You could replace panthenol with more glycerin.
- The dye is optional; replace it with more water if you don’t want to use it.
- You could use mica instead of dye; increase the amount to 0.5% (reducing the water to make room) and include it in the heated oil phase.
- You can substitute the kiwi seed oil with another lightweight oil like sweet almond, grapeseed, or sunflower seed.
- Cetearyl alcohol will work instead of cetyl alcohol.
- I don’t recommend substituting the BTMS-50.
- You could try a different cationic or non-ionic gum/gelling ingredient instead of cationic guar gum. Make sure you are checking the charge as some gums (like xanthan) are anionic and anionic and cationic ingredient do not always play well together.
- If you’re like to use a different preservative, please review this FAQ and this chart.
- If you’d like to incorporate an essential oil, please read this.
- You can replace hydrolyzed quinoa protein with a different hydrolyzed protein (oat, rice, baobab).