Do I need an emulsifier to turn this conditioner bar into a cream conditioner?

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Feb 1, 2018
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Hi everyone :)

I have a conditioner bar that is made from:

Theobroma Cacoa Butter (Cocoa Butter), Behentrimonium Methosulfate (Emulsifying Wax), Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifying Wax), Vitus Vinifera Oil (Grapeseed Oil), Prunus Dulcis Oil (Almond Oil), Argania Spinosa Oil (Argan Oil), Panthenol Powder, Plant Keratin, Citrus Sinensis Oil (Sweet Orange), Limonene, Linalool, Citral (Within The Essential Oils)

I would like to turn this into a conditioner cream, as it would be easier to use. I was told I would need an emulsifier, but whether or not that is true, and if so what type, eludes me after doing some research.

Was hoping to get some guidance here.

Thanks in advance.
Without knowing amounts of each ingredient, this will be a science experiment.

I would melt it down and stickblend with double its weight in distilled water (heated to 170F) until emulsified. Keep blending occasionally as it cools. If it stays emulsified when cooled, you are good to go. If it separates, then you know you need more emulsifier; my first choice would be to increase to BTMS 50.
Hmm. Do you realize this conditioner bar already has an emulsifier -- the Behentrimonium Methosulfate which is BTMS? The cetearyl alcohol acts as a thickener and co-emulsifier. If you add water to this product, which you do when you use the bar in the bath, you'll end up with a lotion.

I'm not sure why the maker is saying the Behentrimonium Methosulfate and cetearyl alcohol are "e-wax" because they're not. E-wax is a different emulsifier entirely.

Be aware you'll need a good broad-spectrum preservative, if you convert this product from a solid form into a cream/lotion format. By adding water, you're turning this into a great diet for microbes.

You can use BTMS or e-wax, but I'd not use both -- just one or the other. BTMS offers the advantage that it is an oil-free hair conditioner, while e-wax doesn't function as a conditioner for hair. In a lotion/cream format, the cetearyl alcohol will add thickness and stability to the emulsion, which is good.

Honestly, hair conditioners are essentially lotions. If you can make lotion, you can make hair conditioner.
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I think Ali's suggestion to dissolve the bar in water might work okay, but you may find you'll need more than 2 times the weight in water. That only gives a 66% water content, which will be very thick. That might suit your preference, but just bear in mind you might prefer more water.

At the risk of being repetitive, please also use a preservative if you do this.
Many people do not realize hair conditioner is a lotion. I use an oil-free lotion I make to double as my hair condition with a silicone-based lotion. Some conditioners have added vitamins and extracts as some lotions and some do not. Dove conditioner does not have added vitamins. Remember like soap most conditioners are rinsed off so they are mostly made to coat and smooth the hair. Unless you are doing a heat treatment with hot towels or a cap and leaving the conditioner on for a while you do not get much benefit from all the fancy additives or the high cost of some expensive conditioners.
Thanks a bunch for the replies.

Will try the D.water idea, and see how it goes.

re: preservative. Why does adding water create a great diet for microbes? Does that hold true even if stored in a tightly sealed glass jar? Also, which preservative to try/use?
Most microbes that will contaminate conditioner require water to grow. It mostly has to do with the way they move oxygen across their cell membranes to “breathe.” Once they have water (and oxygen), components in the conditioner, like cocoa butter, can be used as food.