Re-bottling very viscous hair conditioner
November 24, 2020 10:31 AM   Subscribe

I've been mixing my own hair conditioner by adding essential oils to a neutral-scented one. The neutral one I like is very thick and viscous. One thing I can't figure out is how best to get it back into the bottle. It's too thick to flow through a funnel, and if I push it back in with a chopstick or spatula or whatever it takes forever, makes a mess, and forms air voids in the bottle that keep me from getting it all back in. Are there tricks of the trade that would help?

The base conditioner I'm using is this one, which is thick enough to form a pretty stiff peak instead of drooping or flowing.
posted by nebulawindphone to Home & Garden (18 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Could you scoop it into a piping bag (like for cake decorating) and pipe it back in?
posted by juliapangolin at 10:34 AM on November 24, 2020 [6 favorites]


Or a ziplock baggie with a corner snipped off? Does microwaving it/immersing container in hot water make it more fluid? (without permanently altering the consistency or separating the ingredients)
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:40 AM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


And you don't even need a special piping bag, you can use a zip-top bag just as easily! Just cut one of the corners of the bag once you've got the conditioner in it and squeeze it into the bottle.
posted by cooker girl at 10:41 AM on November 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


Just use the pump that comes with it?
posted by doctord at 10:41 AM on November 24, 2020


You need a vent for letting air back out as it is displaced by the thick conditioner; the conditioner fills the whole funnel and air can't get by. So if you pipe it in, stick a straw down along the outside of the piping bag to let air out.
posted by muddgirl at 10:43 AM on November 24, 2020 [5 favorites]


A 100 ml syringe with some tubing would let you fill from the bottom, eliminating voids.
posted by RichardP at 10:45 AM on November 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


I'm not opposed to the idea, but how do I get it into the syringe? That seems like replacing one "cram this glorp into a small space" problem with another.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:51 AM on November 24, 2020


You suck it into the syringe by sticking the tip in the goop with the plunger fully inserted, then pulling on the plunger- that part is the most physically straightforward and easy, it won't matter if it's water or honey or conditioner as long as you're not causing cavitation, which I don't think will be an issue here.
posted by SaltySalticid at 10:54 AM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I would keep the empty bottle when you get a new one. Put half of the new product in the old bottle and half the oil into each bottle. Then I would stir the bottles with a chop stick and/or shake the heck out of them, whichever works better to incorporate the scent.
posted by soelo at 11:20 AM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


If you don't already own a piping bag for this, you'd use the poor-cook's solution, which is a plastic bag, filled with glop, and then nip off the corner. I always use freezer bags for this because using the thinner storage bags and too much squeezing can result a burst bag.

Keep the piping bag you make, if you go this route -- it'll work a few times before it gets too brittle and breaks, as long as you store it in a dark place.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:54 AM on November 24, 2020


Fill the funnel. Lift it out of the bottle a bit. Squeeze the bottle tight. Press the funnel back down against the bottle. Let go the bottle and let it suck the down whatever's in the funnel.

Stick a bendy-straw down the funnel bendy bit through the small end and long bit out the wide end. Bend the bendy around the small end. Stick funnel into bottle, trim small end of bendy-straw if needed. Push down on funnel for good seal. Pour goop into funnel. Suck on the straw and pull the goop into the bottle.
posted by zengargoyle at 12:12 PM on November 24, 2020 [3 favorites]


Some heat might help things, too. Keep a pot of hot (probably not boiling or even that hot, try 120F?) water and put your piping bag with goop in it for a minute or so. Heat should (generally) decrease the viscosity and allow the contents to flow more freely.
posted by maxwelton at 12:35 PM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


Also, drop your bottle onto a surface a bit and the glop will flatten out evenly at the bottom of the bottle.
posted by pairofshades at 1:16 PM on November 24, 2020


Put it in a dispenser of your own rather than the original bottle. Use one with a wider neck for easier filling. eg something like this.
posted by BobInce at 1:44 PM on November 24, 2020 [1 favorite]


I just did something like this with mayonnaise. The zip-loc bag worked a treat. Just be sure to cut a small corner off to start with.
posted by ottereroticist at 3:40 PM on November 24, 2020


If you prop the bottle you're refilling at an angle and pipe into the downslope, it should fill without air voids.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:49 PM on November 24, 2020


Could you warm it up slightly? Most oil type things flow more easily at a higher temp. I'd just put your mixing container into warm water to do it.
posted by ice-cream forever at 6:52 PM on November 24, 2020 [2 favorites]


I do this with my conditioner that comes in a huge bottle, because I like to have a smaller, unlabeled bottle in the shower.
The big bottle has a pump but it takes forever to fill the smaller one, so I do the ziploc bag thing mentioned above.
If the big bottle is pretty full, it's easy to just squeeze it out into the ziploc, then snip the end off and squirt it into the smaller bottle.
If the big bottle is closer to empty, this is harder. In that case, I take the top off the big bottle, rubber band the bag over the mouth, then set it upside down in the sink (or wherever) for a while until the conditioner flows down. Then take off the rubber band and squeeze into the bag and fill the small bottle as before.
Bang it on the table periodically while filling to get the air bubbles out.
posted by exceptinsects at 10:49 AM on November 25, 2020 [1 favorite]


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