Natural Cationic Polymer for Conditioner

I'm looking for a cationic polymer for hair conditioner that can be claimed as "natural". 

From reading other threads, I understand that "natural" is largely a marketing term.... And that's why I've chosen to go this direction. 

Also, what is the difference in application between a cationic surfactant vs polymer for this application? I would think you don't want a surfactant that is going to wash everything away in the conditioner. 




  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    The only truly natural cationic polymer i.e. not modified in a way that it results in something not found in nature and which is readily available is chitosan. All the others are semi-synthetic using polymer-backbones from renewable resources and adding synthetic cationic moieties to them.
  • prow18prow18 Member
    So no other cationic ingredient can be used that can be labeled as natural? 
  • PharmaPharma Member, Pharmacist
    Because 'natural' is as much a matter of definition as is 'organic', certain labels allow ingredients in 'natural' or 'organic' formulations which don't make any sense such as dehydroacetic acid (or, to begin with, cosmetics being 'organic'). Fair chance that you find a label which allows honeyquat and other quaternized ingredients such as proteins, guar, cellulose etc. or even allows biodegradable quaternary ammonium compounds derived from renewable resources and synthesised with green chemistry like Varisoft EQ 65.
  • prow18prow18 Member
    My main concern is what the FDA will say, they are the ones that oversee cosmetic claims. 
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    The FDA (and FTC) continue to have no definition for the term "natural".

    See this article.

    Now, that might make you think that you could just pick any ingredient and call yourself natural. However, in the US people file lawsuits and look to make money off of companies that are engaging in what they believe are deceptive marketing practices. So, while the FDA doesn't define "natural", there is a legal risk if you just use any old ingredient and call yourself natural.

    The bottom line is that if you are going to call yourself natural, no matter what you use you'll need to be prepared to defend your marketing practices in court. If any cationic you use requires some petroleum derived ingredient to make it, someone could argue that it is not natural. 

    I personally would argue that since the supernatural doesn't exist, everything is natural, but most courts would not find that compelling.
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