Despite its name, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (more commonly known as BTMS) is completely sulfate-free: it is NOT a sulfate! It is very CGM (curly girl method) friendly.
BTMS is derived from vegetable oils and acts as a mild conditioner, moisturizer, and detangler, among other things. You will find it in a wide variety of hair products, including conditioners and deep conditioners. It is an emulsifier in lotions and a conditioning add-in for some body products. BTMS acts as a non-irritating, mild conditioner, reducing static and frizz, encouraging moisture retention, detangling, adding more volume, and thicken hair without causing build-up or heaviness on hair strands.
BTMS has a lot of benefits for hair. It is an excellent frizz fighter and anti-static agent. It reduces frizz by smoothing your hair cuticles down, creating a flatter surface without weighing them down like pure oils do.
When using products with behentrimonium methosulfate (BTMS) in them, hair looks shinier and feels sleeker. It also helps hair not get poofy in humid weather, which is great for naturally curly hair as it helps regulate moisture retention. Another benefit is it helps to visually thicken thinning hair. It may not give dramatic results immediately, but you’ll notice results over time. In addition to all these benefits, there’s more! BTMS is extremely gentle to the hair, causing no detectable damage over time. It washes out easily and doesn’t cause any buildup. It’s also hypoallergenic.
BTMS isn’t produced in its pure form, but it often cut with other agents so that it can be easily added to formulas. Our BTMS is called BTMS-50 since it is contains 50% BTMS cut with cetyl alcohol and butylene glycol.
Cetyl alcohol is a gentle fatty alcohol used as an emollient (moisturizing ingredient), emulsifier, thickener, and carrying agent for other ingredients.
It is common for Cetyl Alcohol to be wrongly understood as the type of alcohol that has drying effects on the skin, such as rubbing alcohol; however, on the contrary, Cetyl Alcohol is skin-friendly with hydrating, conditioning, and softening properties that benefit both skin and hair. It is an alcohol that is derived from a fat, such as a vegetable oil. Not to be mistaken for Ethyl Alcohol – the main ingredient in alcoholic beverages – Cetyl Alcohol receives its name from the Latin word cetus, meaning “whale oil,” as this was the substance from which Cetyl Alcohol was first obtained.
When Cetyl Alcohol is added to natural cosmetic preparations, it functions as an agent that helps homogenize components that naturally separate (emulsifier), as a soothing lubricant (emollient), as a thickener, as an opacifier, and as a carrier for other ingredients in a formula. These stabilizing properties ensure that the oils and water remain combined, thus promoting an ideal, smooth texture that ultimately gives the final product an easy glide on the skin or hair.
Butylene glycol is a versatile ingredient present in many skin care products. It acts as a solvent for ingredients and enhances their stability, texture, and absorption. Manufacturers add butylene glycol to a vast range of skin care, hair, and beauty products. They often use it instead of a similar compound called propylene glycol, because it may be less irritating to the skin.
Butylene glycol is an organic alcohol, or diol, derived from distilled corn and sugarcane. It is a colorless, viscous, water-soluble liquid that many manufacturers add to skin care products. Chemically, butylene glycol refers to a structure with four carbon atoms and two alcohol groups.
Skin and Hair Benefits
Butylene glycol has humectant properties. Humectants attract and bind water, often from deeper layers of the skin into the top layers. They help keep the skin hydrated and moisturized. Aside from drawing moisture to the skin, butylene glycol is also an emollient. It coats the skin’s surface, creating a barrier that prevents water loss. It also conditions and softens the skin and hair.
According to an older study, butylene glycol is an ingredient that manufacturers commonly use in anti-acne moisturizers. While butylene glycol has no direct action against acne, its antimicrobial and moisturizing properties may help treat associated symptoms in acne-prone skin.
Butylene glycol’s primary role in most skin care products is to act as a solvent to help maintain product texture. Solvents help ingredients stay suspended in formulas, preventing them from clumping together or becoming gritty. Butylene glycol helps reduce the product’s viscosity, stopping other ingredients from sticking together. This is important to maintain the smooth consistency of products so that a person can effortlessly and evenly apply them to their bodies.
Butylene glycol also acts as a stabilizer, preventing active ingredients and volatile compounds from losing their flavor and aroma. Moreover, it prevents products from crystallizing and drying out.
Butylene glycol has antimicrobial properties, which helps boost the effectiveness of preservatives in formulations. It also helps protect against spoilage due to contamination by microorganisms.
Experts consider butylene glycol safe for use in skin care and cosmetics. The Environmental Working Group gives it grade 1 on a 1–10 scale, with 10 being the most harmful.
In 2011, the Cosmetic Ingredient Review board, a panel overseeing the safety of skin care ingredients, determined it safe to use. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it safe as a food additive.
We use BTMS in our liquid lotions, conditioner bars, foaming mousse spray, and leave-in conditioning spray.
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