Hair conditioner with borage oil

Apr 12, 2022 | Formulations, Hair care

As far as I remember I have always had trouble to comb my hair. This is why l have been experimenting with different formulations of hair conditioner. I am not super happy about this formula, but I hope you will learn from my mistake including unrefined borage oil to this hair conditioner.

Formulating a hair conditioner

1. conditioning ingredient BTMS-25

I wanted to keep this formula fairly light so I have kept the oil phase quite low. The star ingredient here is BTMS-25 (INCI cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium methosulfate) which brings the conditioning effect.

It is a cationic emulsifier that smooths hair fibers and can be used in a variety of formulations: lotions, deep conditioning hair masks, leave in conditioners, cleansing conditioners.


This ingredient makes the hair soft, very easy to comb and reduces static electricity. What is even better – we don‘t need much of it to make lots of hair conditioner.

2. Oily phase – borage oil

I have also chosen borage oil which is actually a greasy oil, but with many benefits. It is packed with ceramides that stick to hair fibers and smoothen them. This is what we need in our hair conditioner.

Not so good part about unrefined borage oil is that is has a very distinct scent. It smells like egg yolk which is not a pleasant scent. This is why I wanted to mask it with some passionfruit fragrance oil. However, this fragrance oil was too weak for the borage oil scent and other fragrance or essential oils should be used instead of it. 


Also, if you looked up a borage oil fatty acid profile, you would see that it has a lot of unsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids are sensitive to the heat and should not be heated at all. But don’t worry – we will not heat it for a long period of time, just a couple minutes and that won‘t do much harm.

If you want to pamper your hair even more – check my other hair care recipes. Both of these are very simple and easy to make.

3. formula and recipe

Phase A

82.9 g | 82.9 % Distilled water

Phase B

5 g | 5 % BTMS-25

5 g | 5 % Borage oil

Phase C

2 g | 2 % Provitamin B5

4 g | 4% Phytokeratine

0.5 g | 0.5 % Passionfruit fragrance oil

0.6 g | 0.6 % Cosgard (preservative)

This makes 100 g of the product.



  1. Weigh water into a beaker and heat it up in a water bath till it reaches 75-80°C / 167-176°F.
  2. Weigh BTMS-25 and borage oil into a beaker and heat it up in a water bath till it reaches 75-80°C / 167-176°F .
  3. Pour one phase into another and blend them. You should see a white thin emulsion forming.
  4. Wait a bit and blend once again.
  5. When the mixture has reached 45°C / 113°F add the rest of ingredients. Mix well after each ingredient.
  6. Test the pH – aim for 4.3-4.5. Originally this formula has a pH 4.08 and I have used 10% NaOH solution to bring the pH to 4.3.
  7. Cover the beaker with a plastic wrap and leave for 24h to set up.
  8. Pour the conditioner into package of your choice.


  • You can use another oil that your hair loves instead of borage oil.
  • You can substitute BTMS-25 with BTMS-50, just lower the amount twice, as BTMS-50 has double the amount of conditioning agent.
  • You can use other type of vegetable keratin or hydrolyzed rice/quinoa/etc protein instead of phytokeratine. Or just use water instead.
  • You can substitute provitamin B5 with water.
  • You can use a different fragrance oil or essential oil of your choice. It is also posible to leave the hair conditioner unscented.
  • Preservative is a must. Just make sure that you use recommended amount of it. And if it is pH dependant – correct the pH.

6. application and perception

Apply the hair conditioner after washing your hair with shampoo. Leave for 1-5 minutes and rinse the hair well.

Another time I would definitely look for a refined or deodorized version of borage oil because the scent is too overwhelming. Or I would try to find some fragrance or essential oil combination that would mask/compliment that scent.

I definitely feel that my hair is very well conditioned, but this conditioner is probably more suited for oil loving hair. 


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