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Trying to understand the term cationic and how it applies to lotion emulsions


Candybee
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I keep coming across the term cationic when researching ingredients for my lotion and cream making. I understand in simple terms it means its a cation; an ion with fewer electrons than protons giving it positive charge. But what does this mean in terms of my lotion making? Does this mean my lotion is a cationic emulsion? or are specific ingredients cationic? Do I want a cationic emulsion? If so, why? Trying to find out if its a good thing to strive for. I also keep coming across questions on websites from other bath & body makers asking if an ingredient is cationic.

 

So I would like to understand it a little better. Can anyone describe this to me in simple terms I can understand. I want to know some of the the science behind what makes an emulsion cationic but I am not great with chemistry.

Edited by Candybee
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  • Candybee changed the title to Trying to understand the term cationic and how it applies to lotion emulsions

While learning surfactants for hair products, cationic became super important as the positively charged cationic ingredients “stick” to negatively charged damaged hair strands. Cationic Guar became my new best friend. But I digress.
 

with surfactants (which emulsifiers are a type of surfactant) blending negatively charged/anionic with cationic in the wrong proportions can cause separation.  This is true for lotions too.  For instance too much sodium steroyl lactylate (part of the popular Ecomulse/RitaMulse SCG ) can cause lotion curdling and separation. 

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Can't say I understand that completely but it does help a bit. I had been thinking it may have some bearing on how emulsions might work well together in the end product. I'm not into hair conditioners or liquid shampoos but started working on developing my own solid conditioning and shampoo bar recipes. Right now I am definitely getting more knowledgeable in developing my own lotions and creams and honing my recipes.

 

If the term cationic comes up again will pay more attention. I guess it may help more to know which ingredients are carrying either a cationic or anion reaction/charge to produce a better product and the why and how behind. 

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