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The use of quaternary amine emulsifiers for the formulation  of skin care products

THOR PERSONAL CARE, 147 rue Irene Joliot Curie- BP 90875, 60208 Compiegne cedex, France


Quaternary amine compounds, or Quats, are cationic oil-in-water emulsifiers well known for their conditioning properties in hair care applications.(1) This article presents possible skin care applications and describes Quats’ proven mildness (non-irritating to skin), their affinity for the superficial layers of the skin (thus boosting moisturisation) and covers the unique sensorial profile offered by the Quats to formulated products. A further advantage is the high level of degradability of Quats thereby offering a greener alternative in stable and attractive skin care and sun care formulations.


Cationic emulsifiers, commonly called Quats, are traditionally associated with hair care applications due to their hair conditioning properties, but they can also be the key ingredient in other cosmetic applications. Quats are able to provide non-irritating emulsions for skin care or sun care formulations combining stability, aesthetic performance and a unique sensory profile for non greasy, velvety textures with a number of benefits, including boosting moisturisation. Quats offer a real alternative to the use of classical non ionic emulsifiers for skin care products.
Quaternary amine compounds may also have strong antimicrobial properties depending on their structure and chain length and are often used as disinfectants or preservatives. The cationic emulsifiers discussed in this paper have little to no useful antimicrobial activity so formulations containing them must include a suitable preservation system.
The Quat emulsifiers referred to in the paper are commercial preparations and the results given refer only to the preparations tested. Results may vary dependant on production method, concentration of active component, st ...

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