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A Feel for Innovation

By: Nancy Jeffries
Posted: September 2, 2008, from the September 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 6 of 6

Consumers crave shiny, healthy and manageable hair; therefore the use of distinctive hair styling polymers for a variety of applications has grown. “Customers formulate these products into pump and aerosol sprays, gels, mousses, putties, muds and pomades, among others, and each hair styling polymer is formulated to provide a different benefit,” said Dierdre Crowley, market manager, Rohm and Haas Personal Care, North America. Rohm and Haas polymers are durable and not brittle to help reduce flaking, according to the company. “We understand how water reacts with these polymer films, so we can design our polymers to have excellent humidity resistance and improve all-day hold; and while we don’t supply silicone-based materials, we do have products that allow formulators to easily suspend silicones in hair care products,” said Crowley. “While the consumer won’t feel or see the hair spray in the hair, they get all-day hold because the film was designed to be very strong and flexible so it won’t break easily—which is exactly what happens when a product stops holding the hair—the polymer breaks. It’s hair science in plain terms, but you need to understand polymers if you’re going to make an effective product those consumers want.”

Rohm and Haas noted both the DHR and 180 products were developed with the trend to reduce VOC emissions in mind. Both work in 55 percent VOC or 80 percent VOC pump and aerosol sprays, an important element not only to meet regulatory requirements in some countries, but for customers who are looking at various aspects related to the sustainability profile of their products.

Clearly, products today display the scientific skill and nimbleness of innovative formulators seeking to serve a diverse and educated consumer base. As consumers learn more about ingredients, and the interplay between science, aesthetics and execution continue, both marketers and formulators will need to remain dexterous and articulate about their products’ capabilities.