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This is an abridged version of an article published in the April 2011 issue of Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine.
Frizz control hair care has been around for almost 20 years. Frizzy hair is a major issue for women with curly hair, and particularly for curly hair that has been chemically or mechanically treated. These consumers spend time each day adjusting and controlling the style of their hair, specifically to control the onset of frizz in high humidity environments. To address this need, new technologies and products are consistently being introduced.
Moisture has a significant impact on hair frizz because water vapor in the air can be transported inside the cortex of the hair shaft, modifying the temporary hydrogen bonds created by hair proteins during styling. These proteins are based on four, twisted long chain amino acids running lengthwise down the shaft.
The chemical bonds between the protein chains provide the cohesion that establishes the natural form of the hair.
Water/humidity/dampness can disrupt this cohesion, but drying allows for the reformation of the keratin chains, which can be temporarily altered as part of the styling process and during hair drying. Other contributing factors include damage to hair strands due to rough brushing (i.e., the lack of a good conditioning agent for wet and dry combing); chemical treatments such as perming, bleaching and coloring; UV exposure; and heat styling. All of these lead to a damaged cuticle and split ends, potentially increasing porosity and swelling of the hair cuticle and creating another entry point for style-disrupting moisture. Dry hair that becomes statically charged due to hair’s negative charge is a secondary contributor to frizz. This charge results in the repulsion of hair’s protein keratin strands—hard, fibrous proteins comprised of polypeptide chains—when shampooed with negatively charged depositing ingredients.1 As hair becomes coarse and dull from cuticle damage, it loses its tensile strength in the cortex.