Is Quaternium 18 a silicone? Episode 179

Welcome to the Beauty Brains, a show where real scientists answer your beauty questions and give you an insider’s look at the beauty product industry.

Hosts: Valerie George and Perry Romanowski

On today’s episode we’re going to be answering your beauty questions about

  • What are the benefits of broccoli seed oil?
  • What is the deal with California’s banning a list of toxic ingredients?
  • Can you easily remove Quaternium-18?

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Beauty Questions

Julie – I would love to hear your take on this new hero ingredient: broccoli seed oil! Fashionista is comparing it to retinol without the irritation, but I’m skeptical. What are the potential benefits? What kind of concentration should I look for?

The bottom line is that broccoli seed oil is nothing special in my view. You could see superior results by just including a standard moisturizing ingredient, a sunscreen, and specific vitamins. But the name Broccoli is more familiar with consumers and it plays well with the natural trend so it’s good for marketing.

Another reality is that you as the consumer have no way of knowing whether they’ve included 10% in the formula or 0.01%. While there is some interesting possibilities for the ingredient, it’s only marketing hype in my mind at the moment.

Camille asks – What are your thoughts on this new bill: California bill would ban sale of makeup containing cancer-causing chemicals, toxins

Sherry wants to know whether toners are really needed.

Typically, facial cleansers are formulated to have a pH of anywhere from 4.5-7, and ideally 5 -6. Of course, this is dependent upon what else the cleanser should be doing – is it advertised as gentle, or exfoliating? What are the types of surfactants in the cleanser? What is pH range the preservative system works in?

Of course, it’s in the best interest of companies to sell more products, but through personal experience, I think there is some validity to using toners, but they don’t necessarily have to do with pH of the skin. I like toners for making the skin feel hydrated


Deja says – I was told that quaternium-18 is a silicone. Will a shampoo made with Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine and decyl glucoside remove silicone buildup in hair? Specifically, quaternium-18?

No, quaternium-18 is not a silicone. It is a quaternized ammonium molecule which has two methyl groups and two Tallow groups. So, it’s not necessarily vegan. In fact, some sources of quaternium-18 come from mink. But you don’t have to worry about silicone buildup.

Next time

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