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In the ingredient descriptions: Good means that I like to see this in a product's list of ingredients. Okay means this product appears safe for a curly person like me to use. Caution means that this ingredient may not be good in some hair care products, or for some people. Avoid means this ingredient may hurt your hair. If you see this ingredient in a hair product, it's best to put it down and walk away.

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Quat    (aka Quaternary ammonium compounds)
Okay
(Short for Quaternary ammonium compounds) Variety of ingredients that are strongly attracted to hair. Creates a temporary smooth surface that allows combs to more easily glide through the hair.
Source(s): Begoun

Quaternary ammonium compounds.    (aka Quats)
Okay
These are a diverse group of chemicals made from Ammonium chloride, used for anything from preservatives, detanglers, to cleansers. Winter pg 435. Quats have a unique structure that makes them attracted to hair. Because of their linking structure, they form a temporary smooth surface over the hair. This makes many of them great for detangling. A few examples of Quats are: Benzalkonium chloride, Quaternium 18, Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, Behentrimonium chloride, Behenalkonium betaine, Stearalkonium chloride and Cetrimonium chloride. Begoun (Hair) pg 75.
Source(s): Winter Begoun

Quaternium-15   
Caution
Preservative that has had some controversy for being a formaldehyde-releasing preservative. No tests have shown it to cause problems for people when used in cosmetics. May cause skin irritation (as all preservatives potentially can). However, this one is known as being more irritating than most. A study done by the Mayo clinic lists this as #10 of the top ten ingredients that can cause irritation. Beauty Brains pg 156.
See also: Preservatives Irritant
Source(s): Beauty Brains http://www.cosmeticscop.com/

Quaternium-18   
Caution
Okay detangler [Begoun (Cosmetics) pg 75]. Made from cellulose. Used to keep products from separating. Gives hair shine [Winter pg 435]. Conditions hair and helps reduce fly-aways due to static electricity. It works well even in low amounts. It's sold as a soft paste that's water soluble. Sometimes this is sold mixed with Isopropyl alcohol to make it easier to rinse off with water, though this isn't always put on the label because the Isopropyl is considered a processing aid [Hunting (Conditioning) pgs 356-357].
See also: Quaternary ammonium compound Film-former Cellulose Isopropyl alcohol
Source(s): Begoun Winter Hunting

Quaternium-19   
Okay
Made from cellulose. Used as a film-former and to keep product from separating. Gives hair shine [Winter pg 435]. Also used for its great conditioning properties, and to reduce the irritation that may be caused from a harsher ingredient in the product, such as sodium lauryl sulfate [Hunting (Shampoo) pg 202].
See also: Film-former Quaternary Ammonium Compound Cellulose
Source(s): Winter Hunting

Quaternium-20   
Okay
Made from cellulose. Used as a film-former and to keep product from separating. Gives hair shine. Winter pg 435.
See also: Film-former Quaternary Ammonium Compound Cellulose
Source(s): Winter

Quaternium-23    (aka Polyquaternium-11)
Caution
Made from cellulose. Used as a film-former (coats the hair) and to keep product from separating. Gives hair shine [Winter pg 435]. This is a resin that produces some build up. used for conditioning, to increase ease of combing, and to give body. It isn't found to be toxic [Hunting (Conditioning) pg 335]. —I'm putting this as a caution because it looks like it may build up in our hair and become sticky over time. That's fine in a styling aid, where you expect hold, but be cautious of it in shampoos and conditioners. Also, this is known to increase body, which is not what those of us with really curly hair needs.—T
See also: Film-former Quaternary Ammonium Compound
Source(s): Winter Hunting

Quaternium-27   
Okay
A synthetic antistatic and hair conditioner [Gottschalck pgs 2334-2335].
Source(s): Gottschalck

Quaternium-31    (aka Dicetyldimonium chloride)
Okay
Smooths hair [Begoun (Hair) pg 75, Winter pg 19]. Used for conditioning, and also to keep the product from separating. Known for being an effective and mild hair conditioner. By itself, Dicetyldimonium chloride is translucent, and kind of watery. But it does a fine job of conditioning on it's own. Often, other conditioning ingredients (such as Cetyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol or Cetearyl alcohol) are added to make it thicker and more opaque [Hunting (Conditioning) pgs 179-180].
See also: Quaternary ammonium compound
Source(s): Hunting Winter Begoun

Quaternium-32    (aka Isostearyl ethylimidonium ethosulfate)
Okay
See Isostearyl ethylimidonium ethosulfate.
See also: Isostearyl ethylimidonium ethosulfate
Source(s): Hunting

Quaternium-41    (aka Polyquaternium-7)
Good
Used for conditioning, and to make the hair more slippery so it combs better. It helps thicken a product and to keep it from separating, and to help product foam better. It isn't thought to be irritating. [Hunting (Shampoo) pgs 322, 343].
Source(s): Hunting

Quaternium-80   
Okay
Used to cut down on hair static and for conditioning. Quaternium-80 is a synthetic quaternary ammonium compound made from coconut oil [Gottshalk (12th Edition) pg 2340].
See also: Quaternary ammonium compounds
Source(s): Gottschalck



References:

Applewhite, Thomas H., ed. Proceedings of the World Conference on Lauric Oils: Sources, Processing, and Applications
AOCS Publishing, 1994.

Barel, André O., Marc Paye, and Howard I. Maibach., eds. Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, Second Edition
Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2001.

Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me. 3rd Edition.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2005.

Begoun, Paula. The Beauty Bible.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2002.

Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2003.

Bellum, Sarah, ed. The Beauty Brains: Real Scientists Answer Your Beauty Questions
New York: Brains Publishing, 2008.

Gottschalk, Tari E. and McEwen, Gerald N, Jr. PhD, eds. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, Tenth Edition 2004, Volumes 1-4.
Washington D. C.: The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragance Association, 2004.

Halal, John Hair Structure and Chemistry Simplified, Fifth Edition
Albany: Milady, 2002.

Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Conditioning Rinse Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1987.

Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Shampoo Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1983.

Johnson, Dale H. (Ed.). Hair and Hair Care, Cosmetic Science and Technology Series. Vol. 17.
New York: Marcel Dekker, 1997. Print.

Nnanna, Ifendu A. and Jiding Xia., eds. Protein-Based Surfactants: Synthesis: Physicochemical Properties, and Applications (Surfactant Science)
Madison Heights: CRC, 2001.

Quadflieg, Jutta Maria. Fundamental properties of Afro-American hair as related to their straightening/relaxing behaviour.
Diss. U of Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen, 2003.

Schueller, Randy and Perry Romanowski, eds. Conditioning Agents for Hair and Skin.
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1999.

Winter, Ruth M.S. A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Complete Information About the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients Found in Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals
New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005.

Zviak, Charles., ed. The Science of Hair Care (Dermatology)
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1986.

 

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