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Quinoa—the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant, native to mountainous Peru and related to beets, chard and spinach—was once so prized, the Incas called it the “mother grain” and held it sacred. In fact, each year the Incan emperor would sow the first quinoa seeds of the season with a golden shovel. Today, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is still best known as a food ingredient, remaining an important source of nutrition in the region (with growing global prominence) as it has for 6,000 years.
Designated a "super crop" by the United Nations because of its high protein content (as a "complete protein," it has all nine essential amino acids—including lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair), it's now been found that quinoa also has distinct cosmetic benefits. Building on these benefits and the long history of use, TRI-K Industries introduced Quinoa Pro EX to the beauty industry.
Quinoa's Hair Care Benefits; Making Natural Claims
As hair is exposed to daily stressors such as UV exposure, heat styling and frequent washing, it becomes dry and damaged. Quinoa Pro EX, a hydrolyzed quinoa protein, is designed to bind to the hair shaft and penetrate the cortex, bringing moisture and repair deep into the hair.
Improving Moisture Retention; Imparting Gloss
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Quinoa Pro EX imparts film-forming and moisture retention benefits, typical of hydrolyzed proteins, by binding moisture to the hair, and has also been shown to provide substantivity and penetration on the hair for damage repair and control. Quinoa Pro EX has also been shown to have a positive impact on hair gloss.
When light hits hair fibers, it spreads on irregular surfaces of the hair and absorbs and reflects in different directions. However, when light is reflected to the viewer at the same angle, it provides greater luminous intensity, known as gloss. Tri-K studied the impact on 15 hair swatches, prepared from dark brown Caucasian hair and cleansed using 10% sodium lauryl ether sulfate. After initial readings were taken, swatches were treated with either one or five applications of a 1% aqueous solution of Quinoa Pro EX and again measured for gloss.
Five consecutive readings were taken in different positions to obtain average gloss values for each swatch and each group. The swatches of hair submitted to treatments of both one and five applications of Quinoa Pro EX solution showed gloss values that were significantly higher than their baseline and the control. Compared with the control, one treatment with Quinoa Pro Ex improved the gloss value by 26%, and five treatments improved the gloss value by 51% (see Figure 1).
The combination of moisture retention and improved gloss value combine to make hair look smoother and silkier.
Wet and Dry Combability
The wet and dry combability of hair swatches treated with Quinoa Pro EX were also evaluated. Fifteen hair swatches were prepared from natural Caucasian hair. These were cleansed with a 10% sodium lauryl ether sulfate solution for 1 min and rinsed. Swatches were dried for 24 hrs before tests. Swatches used in the wet comb testing were re-wet with only water.
Swatches were then tested using a comb equipped with electronic sensors and software. Baseline measurements were taken for both the wet and dry combability of each swatch. Treatment swatches were submitted to a cycle of one or five applications of a 1% aqueous solution of Quinoa Pro EX and new measurements were taken.
In both wet and dry swatches, hair submitted to treatments of one and five applications of Quinoa Pro EX solution showed significantly lower values of combing energy required, compared with the baseline and control. In the case of wet combability, one treatment reduced the combing force by 27%, while five treatments reduced it by 79% (see Figure 2). In the case of dry combability, one treatment reduced the combing force by 5%, while five treatments reduced it by 83% (see Figure 3).
Free-of/Natural Claims and Applications
Quinoa Pro EX is paraben-free and gluten-free, making it ideal for natural and mild formulations.
Applications include hair repair products, post-relaxer and post-perm conditioners, ethnic hair care, shampoos and conditioners. In addition, Quinoa Pro EX can be utilized in skin creams and lotions.
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