Cones, polyquats, ions, and removal of buildup
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Join Date: Dec 2003
: Cones, polyquats, ions, and removal of buildup
I've been getting a deluge of PMs about cones and buildup, so I thought I'd share this in a central place.
Water-insoluble means water doesn't dissolve it, but negative-charge ions can remove it.
Water-soluble means water dissolves it.
Soluble means soluble in the bottle.
Dispersible and dilutable in water are generally used to reflect that they are soluble in the solution in the bottle and water breaks down the bond (ex. OneCondition has amodimethicone which is soluble in the bottle but become dispersible in water once on the hair which means the amodimethicone breaks apart from the solvents and is dispersed and deposited on the hair because the water carries it there.)
Many water insoluble cones like amodimethicones (and the other really common one is phenyl trimethicione that's in PM the Cream and Aveda Be Curly) can be removed by sulfates
cocomidopropyl betaine. I know that there needs to be some ionic charge to remove these cones--whether via a gentle or harsher surfactant. Other ionic-charged surfactants (whether with a negative-only charge or a negative-positive combo) would be effective under the same logic. And ionic-charged surfactants also remove polyquats which are positively charged.
A note worth making: some product lines are positively charging just about anything these days. For example, go to
and click on technology (it's flash-driven so I can't link to the specific page).
ISO writes, "The nutrient filled Tri-Active Technology takes vitamins, proteins and moisturizers and
positively charges them
to work more effectively by
penetrating far more deeply into the hair shaft
Opposites attract. In its
natural state, hair carries a negative charge
The more severely hair is damaged, the more negative it becomes
. ISO's Tri-Active Technology, with its positively activated proteins, vitamins and moisturizers, works on multiple levels of the hair's structure, delivering the best care directly where it is needed most, and
naturally bonds there for longer-lasting results
While this is a positive and admirable concept for getting hair-happy ingredients to penetrate deeper, the result of "longer-lasting results" is frequently buildup since your hair isn't alive to absorb all these positively-charged ingredients.
Nonionic surfactants, such as sorbitol, decyl glucoside, laureths, and decyl polyglucose, which contain no positively or negatively-charged groups do not remove cones. They do not have any way to attract the cones away from being attached to the hair shaft. They are effective cleansers for natural stuff (like dirt, dead skin cells on your scalp, etc).
PEG/PPG silicones (the PEG/PPG process does this)
Lauryl methicone copolyol
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane (or any other cone in the easily removed list that is chemically combined in a Hydrolyzed process--that's the key)
EASILY REMOVED BY IONIC SURFACTANT BECAUSE THEY BOND WITH A LIGHTER IONIC BOND
Amodimethicone (soluble in the bottle with Trideceth-12 (and) Cetrimonium Chloride but makes NO DIFFERENCE on the hair relative to solubility, just better distribution on the hair because the amodimethicone will be better dispursed in the product's solution, still easier to remove)
BORDERLINE--NOT SUPER-EASY or SUPER-HARD TO REMOVE, CAN USE IONIC SURFACTANT OTHER THAN SULFATE WITH SCRUBBING MOTION AND LEAVING SURFACTANT ON HAIR FOR FEW MINUTES TO REMOVE
Trimethicone (not common without the Phenyl that makes it easier to remove)
HARDER TO REMOVE, TAKES HARSHER SURFACTANT LIKE SULFATE BECAUSE THEY BOND WITH A STRONGER IONIC BOND
Also, keep in mind the purpose of your sources when researching cones. The GE website is telling about products' solubility in a product
so product companies will buy them
, and they are not necessarily for use on the hair. Their endless possibilities are mindnumbing. And if you combine a water insoluble cone with another water insoluble cone, it's water insoluble. In addition,GE and other marketing-based websites are giving data for material safety datasheets, not for how these products would be removed from hair, because it's about stability in the bottle, not solubility once it's used.
Finally, the porousity of your hair can make a product and its ingredients more difficult to remove or a lack of porousity can make even a cyclo-cone easier to remove than most.
Everyone's hair is different!
So one person may have a horrible time with even easier to remove cones. Another person may be able to use cyclopentasiloxane and get the frizz-taming results that the cone was designed for (a note: most straighties are loving this stuff).
Therefore, the relative easy of removal for cones is just that--relative. I can state that x cone is harder to remove than y. How much harder depends on the individual, his/her product choices, and climate (where it's super-humid and hot, ingredients seem to take advantage and be able to penetrate further into the hair shaft, even on the same head of hair).