Ingredient Sustainability- Quaternized Honey

INCI: Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey
Raw Material: Honey

Quaternized Honey: Quaternized honey, hydroxypropyltrimonium honey or honeyquat, is a chemically modified natural ingredient. It is derived from raw honey, a renewable and biodegradable resource. Despite its synthetic nature, quaternized honey is a valuable ingredient that can provide hydration, softness, shine, and protection to hair products. (1,2)

Sustainability: Quaternized honey is often considered a more sustainable alternative to petroleum-based products. However, its sustainability depends on various factors, such as the definition and metrics used to measure sustainability.

Production Process: The process involves reacting honey with low molecular weight quaternary derivative. A chemical reaction that adds a positive charge to the honey molecules. This process makes honey more water-soluble and able to bind to negatively charged hair strands. However, it alters honey’s natural structure and properties and may introduce synthetic or toxic residues into the final product. (3)

Environmental Impact: The environmental impact of Quaternized honey depends on the quality and source of honey, the quantity and type of chemicals used, and the safety and efficiency of the production facilities. Production may generate waste, emissions, or by-products that can negatively affect the environment and human health.

Honey Production: Honey production has several aspects that contribute to its sustainability:

Honeybees collect nectar from flowers to produce honey. They evaporate water from the nectar by fanning their wings over honeycomb cells, reducing the water content until the sugar concentration is around 18-19%. This process doesn’t require additional water resources, making it relatively water efficient. (6)

Land Use: Honey production doesn’t require land cultivation. Bees can forage for nectar and pollen within a 2-mile radius of their hive. This allows bees to utilize various ecosystems, from forests to urban areas. (7)

Fertilizer Use: Honeybees can serve the purpose of natural fertilizers, supporting the environment while producing honey. (8)

Environmental Impact: The environmental impact of honey production can vary. If honey comes from bees that aren’t native to the local ecosystem, honey production can negatively affect the local environment. On the other hand, if the honey comes from local bees, it can positively impact the environment. However, high densities of commercial honeybee colonies can supplant native bee populations, potentially impacting local biodiversity. Moreover, the process of honey production is considered exploitative as it involves removing the bees’ food stores. (4,5)

1 - https://chemistryconnection.com/sds/data/pdf/honeyquat_SDS.pdf

2 - https://cosmetics.specialchem.com/inci-ingredients/hydroxypropyltrimonium-honey

3 - https://www.windypointsoap.com/products/honeyquat-pf

4 - https://www.greenmatters.com/p/how-honey-industry-affects-environment

5 - https://www.honeysource.com/what-is-the-environmental-impact-of-honey-production/

6 - https://www.livescience.com/how-do-bees-make-honey

7 - https://extension.msstate.edu/publications/maximizing-honey-production

8 - https://blog.nwf.org/2023/06/creating-a-bee-garden/