Conditioning Emulsifier Primer



We are very proud to be the first in Australia to introduce this amazing ingredient to you.  We have put in a lot of time and effort in order to understand this emulsifier, and to further our knowledge (and yours).  We thank Morgan Faie for her help and contributions back in 2004 - her recipes are on a separate page.

Hair Conditioner Primer

Conditioning Emulsifier is a combination of a conditioning quaternary ammonium compound which is derived from Canola Oil (Non GMO natural Colza) and Cetearyl, a fatty alcohol.

Conditioning Emulsifier behaves in the same manner as Emulsifying Wax NF in as much as it is a self emulsifying compound that can be used to make an oil in water emulsion. The inclusion of the quaternary compound is the reason why it is used as a Hair and Skin conditioner.

The amazing thing with Conditioning Emulsifier is that you can literally combine the pastilles with water you have created an extremely gentle, every day hair conditioner - there is no need to add anything else. However, because it is an emulsifier you can add other emollients and ingredients to create your own incredible, salon quality hair conditioners at home.  Conditioning Emulsifier will give your home-formulated conditioners lubricity and static control, offering excellent wet combing and detangling.  From the basic formulation, you can then start to build your own specialised hair conditioners by including

Hydrolyzed Proteins,
Herbal Extracts,
dl Panthenol
and small amounts of Fixed Oils (such as Jojoba, Coconut Oil) to make a really fabulous hair conditioner.  By choosing which ingredients you add, you can tailor your conditioner to suit your own hair.

Conditioning Emulsifier comes in pastille form, is vegetable derived and not tested on animals making it suitable for Vegans, Vegetarians and those requiring cruelty free ingredients.  Conditioning Emulsifier is also excellent at when including silicone oils such as Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone which can be difficult to incorporate into emulsions (and silicone substitute Silc-Oliv which is easy to combine).  It is however, NOT SUITABLE for use with Veg Emulse as these two ingredients are not compatible.  I have however successfully blended a Night Eye Cream with these two with a little perseverence and determination to break the chemistry!

If you wish to avoid silicones, you can substitute our Silc-Oliv which will give similar results but is entirely silicone free.

See this page for our suggestions of the best fragrances for hair products



  • Basic Hair Conditioner
  • Creamy Avocado Hair Conditioner
  • Basic Conditioner with Protein & dl Panthenol

NB:  A note on the percentage formulation with regards to preservative and Essential Oil or Fragrance usage: In order to have the formulation equal exactly 100%, we are taking into account that some people will use minimal preservative and some will like a heavily fragranced product, and others prefer a subtle scent, there is room to adjust the percentages within these formulations - just ensure you adjust the amount of water accordingly.

Conditioning Emulsifier Primer

Basic Hair Conditioner

For anyone formulating their own hair conditioner for the first time, I recommend starting with this recipe. By trying the basic Conditioning Emulsifier and water formulation this gives you a really good idea of what the product behaves like before adding any other emollients or ingredients. Also, at usage rate of 5% it is very inexpensive, and will give you an end product that rivals any supermarket bought product.

This formula makes 200g - to increase the volume use the percentage amounts to keep your formulation in balance.

Phase A

10g Conditioning Emulsifier (5%)
185g Distilled Water (90% - adjust as necessary to make formulation to 100%)

Phase B

1 - 2g Preservative of choice (0.5 - 1%)
2 - 5g Essential Oils and or Fragrance (1-3%)


  • Combine Phase A ingredients and heat to 80°C whilst stirring

  • When homogenous take off the heat and stir periodically while cooling

  • Then add the required percentage of preservative for the brand you are using at the recommended temperature (which is generally 0.5 - 1% added at around 40°C) mix well to combine

  • Lastly, add any essential oils or fragrance that you wish to, mixing well to combine

Conditioning Emulsifier Primer

Basic Conditioner with Protein & dl Panthenol

After making the initial formulation, try including some protein and Pro Vitamin B5. This formulation starts to incorporate the natural benefits of the oils we all love to include in our lotions and creams. Jojoba Oil, Wheatgerm Oil, Hempseed Oil.  Any or all of these can be combined by themselves or in a combination to impart different qualities to your conditioner.  Typically heavier oils are better for thicker or drier hair, and lighter oils are better for fine and oily hair types. You can further tailor your formulation with the inclusion of Essential Oils suited for your chosen hair type.

This formula makes 200g - to increase the volume use the percentage amounts to keep your formulation in balance.

Phase A

10g Conditioning Emulsifier (5%)
180g Distilled Water (90% - adjust as necessary to make formulation to 100%)

Phase B

3g Hydrolyzed Wheat or Hydrolyzed Oats (1.5%)
3g dl Panthenol (1.5%)

Phase C

3g Phenoserve (0.75%)
1g Essential Oils or Fragrance (0.25%) - see our list of our favourite Bramble Berry fragrances for hair formulations here


  • Heat Phase A to 75°C (cover the container to avoid evaporation)

  • Add  the hydrolyzed proteins and dl Panthenol to the hot water and stir

  • Stir intermittently during the cooling time until temperature is approximately 40°C

  • Now add Phase C ingredients and mix well until completely combined

  • Bottle when into Malibu Tubes or Stubby Shampoo Bottles and seal when cold

Conditioning Emulsifier Primer

Creamy Avocado Hair Conditioner

This is a little more complicated, but still easy to make - and is a gorgeous creamy, thick consistency as we use a combination of emulsifiers. If you prefer to use another oil, rather than Avocado, it works really well using Hempseed or Coconut Oils too.

This recipe makes 400g.

Phase A

345g Distilled Water or Floral Water (86.5%)
    1g Guar Conditioner (0.25%)

Phase B

  4g Emulsifying Wax NF (1%)
18g Conditioning Emulsifier (4.5%)
  4g Cetyl Stearyl Alcohol (1%)
  4g Vitamin E (1%)
15g Avocado Oil (3.75%)

Phase C

4g Hydrolyzed Wheat or Hydrolyzed Oats (1%)

Phase D

3g Phenoserve (0.75%)
1g Essential Oils or Fragrance (0.25%) - I really like Bramble Berry Energy in this formulation



  • Heat Phase A (Distilled Water) to 75°C (Cover the container to avoid evaporation)

  • Add  the Guar to the hot water. The Guar Conditioner needs to be hydrated, so stir well (I give it a blast with my stick blender.  Allow this to rest, covered for 60 minutes.

  • Now add the hydrolyzed protein

  • Check the temperature and gently reheat to 75°C

  • Now heat Phase B ingredients in a separate jug until fully liquid and around 75°C

  • Ensure both Phases are at 70 - 75°C and then combine Phase A and B and stir to combine.  The mixture will immediately become creamy and only needs a hand stir, or a few pulses of a stick blender, and then hand whisking

  • Allow to cool to approximately 40° C, stirring occasionally during the cooling time

  • Now add the Fragrance or Essential Oils and the Phenoserve (Preservative)

  • Bottle into Malibu Tubes or Stubby Shampoo Bottles and seal when cold

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