Skip Nav

Why Is Quaternium-87 in My "Herbal" Conditioner?

Why Is Quaternium-87 in My "Herbal" Conditioner?

I made the switch to all-natural shampoo and conditioner a few years back. Not only do I like the fact that they're made with "a perfectly balanced blend of botanicals," as the bottle states, but I also like that they're made without animal testing. As I was washing my hair the other day, I went to pour some Nature's Gate Herbal Conditioner in my palm, and I saw Quaternium-87 in the list of ingredients. To me that sounds more like a show on the SciFi channel canceled after one episode than a "botanical" ingredient to me.

To find out what it is,


With a little exploring on the Internet, I discovered that Quaternium is the name for a category of chemicals, and there are many varieties including Quaternium-15, 18, 24, 27, 80, and so on. As the various numbers indicate, all these "Quats" are unique because they are made from different ingredients and have different properties. Some Quats, such as Quaternium-15, have caused skin reactions for some people, but it's one of the ingredients in Johnson's Baby Shampoo, so I would think that it'd be safe (since it's meant for wee ones).

As for Quaternium-87, since it's added to all natural conditioners, I'd assume that it also wouldn't cause any unpleasant reactions. This ingredient is an ammonium compound that can be synthetic or vegetable based. It's a viscous, cloudy yellowish liquid that mixes well with water. It can be used alone as a conditioner, but I guess Nature's Gate mixes it with herbs and flower extracts to give it the fresh, clean scent I love. I didn't find any info stating that Quaternium-87 was harmful for human use, but that doesn't mean it's 100 percent safe. I guess you'll have to use your own judgment when it comes to this ingredient. Although if you have sensitive skin, I'd heighten your awareness when using products that contain Quats.

Latest Fitness
Watch Now! Our LIVE Holiday Gift Guide Show Is LIVE Now!