What Is It?

Polyquaternium-11 is a cloudy, straw-colored liquid. In cosmetics and personal care products, it is primarily used in the formulation of hair care products with limited use in other product types.

Why Is It Used?

Polyquaternium-11 functions as an antistatic agent, a film former and a hair fixative.

Scientific Facts

Polyquaternium-11 is the polymeric quaternary ammonium salt formed by the reaction of diethyl sulfate and a copolymer of vinyl pyrrolidone and dimethyl aminoethylmethacrylate. It is in the chemical class known as quaternary ammonium compounds (generally referred to as a “Quat”). These compounds are positively charged tetra-substituted nitrogen derivatives. Polyquaternium-11 is available in two forms: approximately 50% Polyquaternium-11 dissolved in alcohol, and 19% dissolved in water with both forms referred to as “commercial Polyquaternium-11.” Pure, or undiluted, Polyquaternium-11 is not available for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

Safety Information

The safety of Polyquaternium-11 has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Polyquaternium-11 was safe in the present practices of use. In 2002, as part of the scheduled re-evaluation of ingredients, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on Polyquaternium-11 and reaffirmed the above conclusion.

CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel reviewed studies of Polyquaternium-11 regarding acute oral toxicity, skin and eye irritation, skin sensitization, phototoxicity, photoallergenicity and dermal toxicity.

These studies did not show adverse effects at levels used in cosmetics and personal care products. From this information the CIR Expert Panel concluded that Polyquaternium-11 was safe as a cosmetic ingredient in the present practices of use. There is some indication that unreacted vinylpyrrolidone may be present in trace amounts in Polyquaternium-11. Therefore, the CIR Expert Panel reviewed scientific data on this monomer. Vinylpyrrolidone was shown to be nonmutagenic, and the very low levels of this monomer that might be in cosmetic and personal care products from the addition of Polyquaternium-11 were not a concern.

Polyquaternium-11 may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union

EU Cosmetic Regulation


More Scientific Information

Polyquaternium-11 is a quaternized copolymer of vinylpyrrolidone and dimethylamine ethylmethacrylate. The quaternary nitrogen atom in these compounds always carries a cationic charge regardless of the pH of the system. At high pHs, the presence of hydrodroxyl groups may reduce the normally high water solubility of quaternary ammonium compounds. Polyquaternium-11 is used as an antistatic agent, a film former and as a hair fixative.