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This is part of our ongoing series helping consumers better understand chemicals, chemistry, and product formulations. We translate the science, bust the myths, and give you an honest assessment, so you can make informed choices for your family!

Ingredient:

Behentrimonium Chloride

What it is:

A cleaning/conditioning agent (known in technical terms as a “cationic quaternary ammonium compound”) made from colza oil obtained from the seeds of Brassica rapa, var. oleifera (oilseed turnip).

What it does:

Conditions, detangles, fights static, softens, and helps strenghten hair (1,2,3). Since it’s plant-based and not petrochemical-based, it doesn’t coat but penetrates the hair shaft for potent conditioning effects. In some applications, it also acts as a preservative (1,3).

Why we use it:

Not only is this particular conditioning agent plant-based and especially effective at doing its job, it’s also Whole Foods Premium Body Care approved. And, their standards, developed by a team of scientists over the course of years, are some of the strictest available. If they give it a thumbs-up, we do, too.

References:

  1. Cameron, D. M., Donahue, D. A., Costin, G. E., Kaufman, L. E., Avalos, J., Downey, M. E., … & Simion, F. A. (2013). Confirmation of in vitro and clinical safety assessment of behentrimonium chloride-containing leave-on body lotions using post-marketing adverse event data. Toxicology in Vitro, 27(8), 2203-2212.
  2. Kortemeier, U., Langer, S., Schwab, P., Yang, B., Howe, A., & Facuri, S. (2013). Ingredients for ethnic hair care products: ethnic care. South African Pharmaceutical and Cosmetic Review, 40(3), 18-22.
  3. Cameron, D. M., Donahue, D. A., Costin, G. E., Kaufman, L. E., Avalos, J., Downey, M. E., … & Simion, F. A. (2013). Confirmation of in vitro and clinical safety assessment of behentrimonium chloride-containing leave-on body lotions using post-marketing adverse event data. Toxicology in Vitro, 27(8), 2203-2212.

This post was revised as of 11/25/2015.