Film-Forming Agent

No known benefits

Polyquaternium-10 at a glance

  • Synthetic polymer compound primarily used in hair care products
  • Offers hair conditioning, detangling, and anti-static benefits
  • Also used in skin care formulations and is known to offer emollient properties
  • Can be used to control the viscosity of a formula, thereby enhancing the texture

Polyquaternium-10 description

Polyquaternium-10 is a synthetic polymer compound primarily used in hair care products due to its value as a flexible film-forming and anti-static agent. Of note, it offers conditioning and detangling benefits. Polyquaternium-10 also shows up in skin care formulas such as cleansers, exfoliants, and moisturizers where it is known to offer emollient properties and can be used to control the viscosity of a formula, thereby enhancing the texture. As a raw material, it has a white granular powder appearance and is soluble in water. Polyquaternium-10 has decades of history of safe use in cosmetics and was most recently reevaluated by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel in 2008, where it was once again deemed safe. Their report surveyed 396 products using polyquaternium-10, with concentrations ranging from 0.004% to 1.5%.

Polyquaternium-10 references

  • International Journal of Toxicology, December 2016, pages 47S–53S
  • Analytical Methods: Investigating Methods and Applications, August 2016, pages 5,806–5,811
  • International Journal of Cosmetics Science, October 2008, ePublication
  • International Journal of Toxicology, January 2008, pages 77–142

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.