Mon. Jul 13th, 2020

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BTMS-50 vs BTMS-25: Which one?

4 min read
btms-50 vs btms-25

A visitor to, Tiffany, posted a question on the BTMS ingredients page about using btms-50.  For those who don’t already know, there are two types of BTMS.

BTMS-25 is a self-emulsifier and cationic conditioning ingredient which makes oil and water stay together.  It forms a nice, conditioning cream which is safe to use even in leave-in conditioners.

BTMS-50 is behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetyl alcohol (and) butylene glycol.  BTMS-25 is Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol.

What BTMS-25 has is 25% conditioner (behentrimonium methosulfate) and a 75% mix of thickener/moisturizer with cetyl+stearyl alcohols.  It’s actually dispersible in hot water making it easy to use in “one pot” formulations.

BTMS-50 has 50% behentrimonium methosulfate, which in theory is supposed to make it more conditioning.

Tiffany got the BTMS-50 by accident, but was complaining that it left a white residue in her hair.  She wanted to know whether she was using too much BTMS-50 or whether the BTMS-50 itself is the problem.

I haven’t used BTMS-50 before because the regular BTMS works so well.  Feel free to comment at the end of this post to share your experiences with it.

My first question to her was what percentage of BTMS-50 did she use?  If you’re making a leave-in conditioner, in 8 ounces, as little as 2tsp of BTMS-25 seems to get the job done. That’s about 3%.

BTMS-50 contains less fatty alcohols and more conditioning substance than BTMS-25 does.  But I cannot tell you which one will be better for you or which one will feel better in your hair.  That would depend too much on the other ingredients you’ve included in you DIY mix.

BTMS-25 doesn’t contain a built in petroleum based humectant like BTMS-50 does.  I have no problem with that because I use additional humectants I like better anyway.

Either way, I have never had a problem with BTMS-25 in anything I use.  Its the most stable emulsifier I’ve worked with so far regardless of pH or any additives I add.

And BTMS is one diverse ingredient!  Its used to make leave-in conditioners, rinse-out conditioners, detanglers, moisturizing creams, cream rinses, skin lotions, skin creams, deep conditioners, and even deodorants/antiperspirants.  If you don’t have a problem with silicones, it can also emulsifier silicone-heavy emulsions too.

My advice is to experiment with BTMS-50 by making 2 ounce testers with various percentages of BTMS50 until you find something which works well for you.

Maybe start with super, super simple emulsions measured in volume:

(2oz total)

BTMS-50 2% (0.04oz = about 1/4 teaspoon)
Water 80% (1.6oz)
Any oil 18% (0.36oz = about 2 teaspoons)

See where you are with this one. Is it too thick?  Is it too watery? Is it perfect?  If you like it, then you’ve found your basic formula.

Then test:

(2oz total)

BTMS-50 4% (0.08oz = about 1/2 teaspoon)
Water 70% (1.4oz)
Any oil 26% (0.5oz = 1TBSP)

See where you are with this one. Is it too thick?  I it too watery? Is it perfect?  If you like it, then you’ve found your basic formula.

BTMS-50 by itself may not be thick enough for you. So move on to testing it with Cetyl alcohol.

(2oz total)

BTMS-50 2% (0.04oz = about 1/4 teaspoon)
Cetyl alcohol 1% (0.02oz = about 1/8 teaspoon)
Water  79% (1.58oz… just use 1.5oz)
Any oil 18% (0.36oz = about 2 teaspoons)


Is it too thick?  Is it too watery? Is it perfect?  If you like it, then you’ve found your basic formula.

The best way for me to gauge what I like is by testing, testing, testing. And come at it with a plan so you won’t waste ingredients.  Keep a scrap of paper and a pen next to you to write down what you just added AS YOU’RE DOING IT so the notes will be accurate.

Happy experimenting!

9 thoughts on “BTMS-50 vs BTMS-25: Which one?

  1. Hi there, that means I can still use your formulas above with BTMS25 it will just be less rich in a way, however if I added silk / wheat protein anyways, will still be good right?

  2. Hello! Question: Can Cetyl alcohol be used with BTMS 225? I use BTMS 50 in my lotions and hair products, but they’re so much nicer with Cetyl alcohol. Lotions seem .. I don’t know, maybe fluffier? Lighter? Silkier? Something, but I really like what it contributes.

    1. Cetyl alcohol is a thickening ingredient. If you use butter as a replacement, you have to take into consideration whether the viscosity of your product will be affected by heat. Some harder butters are more heat resistant. But if you don’t want to worry about whether the product will turn more liquid in hotter weather, stick to using a traditional thickening ingredient (like cetyl alcohol, behenyl alcohol etc) that’s more resistant to temperature changes.

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