Behentrimonium Chloride

The beauty and cosmetic industry use all sorts of ingredients to create the products we all know and love. As much as we want these products to be entirely natural, this sadly is not always the case. 

Thousands and thousands of products out there use ingredients that are synthetic, manmade, or chemicals. 

Sometimes they use ingredients that derive from natural resources but may actually be chemical….and of course, even some natural products are less than ideal for human use. 

In this article, we are going to be exploring one common cosmetic ingredient in particular and assessing its safety for use by humans, as well as in what products you may find it. The ingredient in question is Behentrimonium Chloride. 

First and foremost, let’s take a look at what exactly Behentrimonium Chloride is….

What is Behentrimonium Chloride?

Behentrimonium Chloride is an organic compound that is also known by the somewhat long-winded word ‘docosyltrimethylammonium chloride’….yep, that is a real word and not just a bunch of letters! 

This is actually shortened to BTAC-228 to make it easier. Although we still think that looks like a confusing mathematical equation. For the purpose of this article, we will be referring to it as Behentrimonium Chloride.

Behentrimonium Chloride is yellow and wax-like in terms of its appearance. The chemical formula of it is as follows: CH3(CH2)21N(Cl)(CH3)3.  This tells us it is packed full of Carbon, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, and Chlorine. 

Behentrimonium Chloride is also known as a quaternary ammonium salt. This means it is a positively charged polyatomic ion. Compounds that belong to this group are often used in the cosmetic and beauty industry, particularly in haircare. 

However, they can cause health-related issues (as we will be exploring in the final section of this article). As such, when it is used in cosmetics, its concentration needs to be controlled carefully by strict state regulations. This means that Behentrimonium Chloride is also subject to these same checks and regulations. 

Behentrimonium Chloride can be derived through synthetic means, or plant-based natural means and is used most frequently for its emollient properties, as well as its texture enhancing qualities. You will also see it being used as an emulsifier and conditioning or softening agent in products. Many companies and manufacturers also make use of Behentrimonium Chloride as a preservative, especially in hair care products. 

What is Behentrimonium Chloride used for?

As we mentioned in the previous section,  Behentrimonium Chloride is typically used in the beauty and cosmetic industry. More specifically, it is used by hair care companies. This is because of its anti-static, emollient, and conditioning properties. 

As such it lends itself well to products that are designed to tame fly-aways, reduce frizz, and soften dry hair. Products that commonly contain Behentrimonium Chloride include: 

  • Hair conditioner
  • Serum 
  • Detangling products
  • Hair color
  • Hair bleach
  • Styling gel
  • Hair mousse
  • Hair spray
  • Beard care products
  • Moisturizer
  • Hair masks
  • Styling foam
  • Shampoo
  • Hair treatments
  • Body lotion
  • ….and much more!

Out of all of the above, it is most commonly found in hair conditioners, treatments, and serums! It is particularly common to find it in hair care that is specifically targeted towards curly, wavy, frizzy, and unmanageable hair. 

What are the health risks associated with the use of Behentrimonium Chloride?

As with many additives to beauty products, Behentrimonium Chloride is not without its criticism. In fact, many people refuse to use products that contain Behentrimonium Chloride as one of its ingredients because of the supposed health risks associated with the use of it in cosmetics by humans. 

That being said, these risks are disputed, especially since it only really ever features in cosmetics in small amounts, and mild use of Behentrimonium Chloride is thought to be perfectly safe. It is only when more than .1% of Behentrimonium Chloride is used when health risks start to become an issue. 

Regardless of this, we want to keep our readers totally informed and let you all know some of the supposed health risks associated with the use of Behentrimonium Chloride. 

Take these into account before using products that contain Behentrimonium Chloride, but also bear in mind that generally, medical professionals deem it safe for use in the percentages cosmetics manufacturers use. Here are some of the main health risks: 

  • It can cause eye damage in large quantities
  • It can irritate the skin
  • It has been linked to cancer
  • There are links to nerve damage
  • Some professionals have found links between Behentrimonium Chloride and anemia
  • There are also concerns over the kidney function when Behentrimonium Chloride is used in large quantities 

It is also a flammable substance and is not biodegradable, causing other environmental and safety concerns. Of course, keep in mind that many of these risks are likely associated with the use of large quantities of Behentrimonium Chloride. In cosmetics, the quantities used of Behentrimonium Chloride will likely be small.