Sunday, 6 March 2011

Ingredients Dictionary: Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine

Today's ingredient is quite a mouthful! Therefore, I placed a nice picture of my obscene collection of  Herbal Essences conditioners in which you can find this ingredient!.

Stearamidopropyl dimethylamine is one of the leading 'replacements' for silicones in conditioners (For Tresemme Naturals fans - this is the lead surfactant in your conditioner). I placed the word replacements in quotes because it is not always strictly a replacement, sometimes it is added in conjuction with a silicone as happens with Herbal Essences (so in short, do not think that seeing it on the ingredient list means that the conditioner is silicone free).

Anyway, here are its properties!


STEARAMIDOPROPYL DIMETHYLAMINE

Property
Notes
What is it? A cationic surfactant (a positively charged surfactant)
Where is it derived from? Vegetable oil (rapeseed)
Is it water soluble? Yes
 
ACTION IN HAIR CONDITIONER
What does stearamidopropyl dimethylamine do in shampoo and conditioner? As it is a surfactant it can to some extent help blend the oil and water components of conditioner.
How much  is added to conditioner? Typically conditioner contains less than 5% stearamidopropyldimethylamine
Is it  a major component of hair conditioner? It is usually within the top 5 ingredients if present in a conditioner
 
ACTION ON HAIR
Does stearamidopropyl dimethylamine do anything to hair itself 1. It binds (adsorbs) to the surface of  hair
2. Its positive charge helps correct the negative charge from shampooing.
3. It  gives slip to hair without causing excessive build up because it is water soluble unlike oils or silicone
4. It helps to smooth the cuticle and prevent static build up (flyaways!).
Does it penetrate hair? It is not known to.
Is it better than silicone for detangling and slip? Not necessarily. Some people may find a silicone free conditioner with stearamidopropyl dimethylamine good enough but others will not. It is up to the consumer (i.e you) to test it.

Sources  
Cosmetics and Toiletries Manufacture Worldwide, 271–276, 2000.
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 32, 246–257, 2010

21 comments:

  1. Good to know...what is that blue Herbal Essence jar?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is a dye. If you read through the ingredients you will spot it listed as CI 42090 or Brilliant Blue

    ReplyDelete
  3. The blue jar is Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Mask, I think. It's available in the UK, but I didn't see it on the US website, so I don't think they sell it in the States.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Stumbled across your blog last week and just wanted to tell you it's great. Excellent information, and not just for Type 4 folks but even a Type 2 like me. My only regret is that my university doesn't subscribe to most of the cosmetics journals, or I'd be reading the primary literature myself. ~CR

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks a bunch!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think Anon 22:47 means what type of product is the blue Herbal Essence Jar in the picture?

    ReplyDelete
  7. T is right it is a mask or deep conditioner....oops sorry didn't read the question correctly.

    CR - Many articles in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science have open access (this one I listed is free!). The Journal of Cosmetic Science is also open access

    ReplyDelete
  8. Okay, JC.I'm one o those people who have just recently fallen in love with Tresemme Naturals. You say that it is a surfactant. Now I read that link on surfactants and you used SLS as your main example, which is notoriuos for stripping hair of its natural oils blah blah and should generally be avoided as per word on the hair forums.

    My question is: Are all surfactants bad? Is it such a bad thing to banish my Tresemme just because it contains a chemical that helps bind water and oil?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Surfactants are the reason why conditioners work. The difference between SLS and the type of surfactants found in conditioner is size. SLS is small and therefore efficient at cleaning while in conditioner large surfactants do much less cleaning and more depositing.

    There are very few (possibly none) conditioners which would not have a surfactant.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great post! Keep em coming! Don't think I could learn this by myself...

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am all about my Herbal Essence - hello hydration!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for this post. Very informative. I WOULD try the Herbal Essences but I'm so in love with the products I already use. Hmm...who knows? Maybe I'll try it. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. If they're Open Access, I really need to kick Citation Linker to the curb. Awful library software! Thanks for the information -- I'll be reading (and maybe getting a login for Blogspot). ~CR

    ReplyDelete
  14. JC, so is this ingredient considered natural? Is is good for the hair? Also I get confused when surfactant are put in conditioners.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. naturally derived (i.e some lab processing required to convert natural oil into the final ingredient)

      Delete
  15. This site is a great tool thanks for putting this up.
    I wonder does Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine prevent water and moisture from reaching the hair? Does it build up like other cones and require a sulphate shampoo to remove?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is water soluble so it does not build up like some silicones.

      Delete
  16. Hi! Thanks for the good info! Random question, is this an amine? I'm trying to figure out if it would clash with DMDM hydantoin to make a carcinogenic nitrosamine. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it is an amine and you can tell from the name stearamidopropyl dimethylAMINE. It is really quite unlikely to form a nitrosamine as its chemical activity is quite low. You would typically need a nitrite to create a nitrosamine.

      Delete
    2. Whoa, really? Thanks a bunch. How do I recognize nitrites? And are nitrosamines that bad, or do we just know that if rats eat their weight in them bad things happen? I'm sort of clueless!

      Delete
  17. My hair seems to love this conditioning agent. It's a main ingredient in both products I use - Suave Naturals Conditioners (certain ones) and GVP Reconstructing Conditioner. It's also in Mane 'n Tail. I'm curious what other conditioners contain it?

    ReplyDelete

Your comments and questions are very welcome. Please do not include any links and stick to the topic. If you have a burning question unrelated to the article, please email it to me. All comments are moderated so there may be a slight delay before your comment appears on the blog. Thanks for taking the time to comment!