BTMS 50 or Cetyl Alcohol – which to use in lotions?

BTMS 50 or Cetyl Alcohol – which to use in lotions?
September 24, 2020 Aidee Erhime
Cosmetics laboratory

BTMS 50 (behentrimonium methosulfate (and) cetyl alcohol (and) butylene glycol) and Cetyl Alcohol (hexadecan-1-ol and palmityl alcohol) both act as emulsifiers in formulations.

For a lotion to be a lotion, it needs to undergo some form of emulsification. The emulsification would ensure that the oil and water phases in it, are effectively combined.

BTMS 50 is sometimes used as a standalone emulsifier and some formulators swear by it because of its conditioning properties. Many formulators prefer to use it in hair-care formulations. It contains 50% behentrimonium methosulfate which is the active ingredient for hair conditioning. It is also usually added to the oil phase of a formulation.

Many formulators prefer to use it in hair-care formulations

While BTMS50 can be used as a stand-alone emulsifier, it can also be combined with another emulsifying agent to enhance the conditioning properties of the formulation.

Purchase BTMS 50 in Nigeria here.

Cetyl Alcohol has nearly the same properties as the BTMS50 except that they do not have the exact same composition. Cetyl alcohol also acts as a thickener and stabilizer in formulations. It is derived from coconut oil and can be used as a co-emulsifier in some formulations.

Purchase Cetyl Alcohol in Nigeria here.


Nothing weird really happens when both ingredients are combined in a formulation. As always, the bottom-line is, understanding what you are trying to make and using proper ingredient percentages in your product. For hair care products, a combination of BTMS 50 and cetyl alcohol might result in a heavier product.


We recommend using the BTMS50 in hair-care formulations and using the cetyl alcohol in lotion formulations. This is because the hair-care formulations require products with conditioning properties, something that BTMS already has.

Note that BTMS also has cetearyl alcohol in it.

Cetyl alcohol, on the other hand, can be combined as a co-emulsifier, with emulsifying wax. This would give a silky feel to the lotion formulation and not result in a heavy end product.

In later posts, we will include recipes for your formulations.

Do not forget to bring down pH to about 4-5 for a hair conditioner.

Do you have any more questions about these ingredients? What topic would you like us to write about? Be sure to reply in the comments or send us a mail.


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