Behentrimonium chloride is a waxy solid derived from colza oil. Colza oil comes from the seeds of Brassica rapa olifera, also called canola or rapeseed, which is part of the mustard plant family. The plant has signature yellow flowers. Behentrimonium chloride is quaternary ammonium salt and a straight chain alkyl trimonium.[3,4]
Behentrimonium chloride is an antistatic and hair conditioning agent; it is also an emulsifying agent. It is a type of trimonium that makes cationic chains attract to anionic charges in the protein structure of skin and hair, which creates a conditioning effect. It tends not to dissolve in water, which means it remains on the hair, making it popular in rinse-off hair conditioners.Behentrimonium chloride is present in hundreds of personal care products, including conditioner, hair coloring, moisturizers, bath soaps, mousse and other items.
Making behentrimonium chloride begins by making canola oil. Canola seeds are heated then pressed via screw presses or expellers. Solvents are usually added to the remaining “presscake” to extract the remaining oil. The solvent is later removed from the oil via a steam and heat process.Behentrimonium chloride is then made by quaternizing behenyl dimethylamine with methyl chloride in 30% dipropylene glycol.
We use behentrimonium chloride in several of our products as a hair detangler, and it is a much more natural alternative to harsh silicones. The Cosmetics Ingredient Review has deemed the ingredient safe for use in cosmetics. Whole Foods has deemed the ingredient acceptable in its body care quality standards.[12,13] In addition, behentrimonium chloride (25% in cetearyl alcohol) was reported to be an ocular irritant, though several studies show the ingredient is not a strong skin irritant.[14,15,16,17,18,19,20]