Cetrimonium chloride

Skim through

What it does: antimicrobial/​antibacterial, emulsifying, preservative, surfactant/​cleansing

Also called: cetyltrimethylammonium chloride

The science

Cetrimonium chloride is a cationic surfactant. A cationic surfactant carries a positive charge when ionized and so sticks to the surface of the hair by static attraction because the hair carries a slight negative charge when wet. The positively charged head of the cationic surfactant is attracted to the negatively charge surface of the hair. 

This makes cetrimonium chloride, and cationic surfactants in general, a great component for conditioners and conditioning products as they are not easily rinsed out. Cetrimonium chloride is also a surfactant, which means it is partly water-soluble and partly oil-soluble, allowing both oil and water to become dispersed. This means that products containing cetrimonium chloride have a good consistency and form a gentle cleansing foam.

Benefits for your hair

Prevents static and frizz

This positive charge of cetrimonium chloride is attracted to the negative charge of the damaged hair.  Cetrimonium chloride attaches itself to the hair, coating the damaged bits, which results in reduced frizz and fly aways. 

Gets rid of buildup and eliminates odor 

Centrimonium chloride prevents the growth of microorganisms. It enables water to mix with dirt and rinse away, hence getting rid of any buildup

Conditions and softens hair

Centrimonium chloride has anti-static, anti-frizz & detangling properties, and is especially effective for softening coarse hair. 


Cetrimonium chloride is an excellent conditioning agent for hair. It gets rid of static and frizz, and repairs damaged hair. It also gets rid of buildup and makes detangling easier.

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