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Cosmetic Additives


In cosmetic formulations, the amount of quaternary ammonium salt added is small but plays a pivotal role. During skin care, cationic surfactants of quaternary ammonium salt interact with anionic surfactants to produce phase separation, forming a coacervate and depositing on the skin surface. The coacervate is wrapped with active ingredients such as silicone oil and moisturizing agents, thereby conditioning and repairing the skin.

Cosmetic Additives


Common quaternary ammonium salt cosmetic additives have the following categories:

  • Polyquaternium

Polyquaternium is a cationic polymer with excellent wettability, softness and film-forming properties, and has obvious effects on skin care and moisturizing. In addition, polyquaternium has good compatibility with water and anionic and nonionic surfactants, and can form multi-salt complexes in cosmetics, thereby increasing the viscosity.

  • Chitosan Quaternary Ammonium Salt

Chitosan quaternary ammonium salts are widely used in cosmetics as water-retaining agents and antiseptic because of their good water-solubility, pH stability, film-forming conditioning, moisturizing, water-absorbing properties, antibacterial properties, good biocompatibility and easy degradation.

  • Poly Siloxane Quaternary Ammonium

Poly siloxane quaternary ammonium salt is an efficient, safe and multifunctional antibacterial finishing agent, which is mainly used in skin care products anticorrosion, fabric washability and antibacterial and furniture antibacterial and deodorization.

  • Ester Quaternary Ammonium Salt

Ester quaternary ammonium salt is a cationic surfactant, mainly used as a conditioner in skin care and hair care products. Because its hydrophilic group can be adsorbed on the skin surface through electrostatic adsorption, and the hydrophobic group is far away from the skin surface, it is oriented and arranged on the entire skin surface to form a protective film, thereby reducing the static charge of the skin and making the skin shiny.

What Can Alfa Chemistry Do for You?

Alfa Chemistry has a professional team with many years of experience and has focused on the preparation and application of quaternary ammonium compounds as cosmetic additives. Alfa Chemistry use our extensive experience and advanced platform to offer the most qualified products to satisfy demand from our customers. If you want to know more about quaternary ammonium compounds as cosmetic additives, please contact us.


  1. Johnson W.; et al. Safety assessment of polyquaternium-22 and polyquarternium-39 as used in cosmetics. Int. J. Toxicol., 2016, 35(3): 47-53.