Hair Care Ingredients Nourish and Support

Back to the May issue.

Hair care today means more than a great cut and beautiful color. Maintaining the health and condition of the hair and scalp are equally important. With wellness as the watchword for contemporary beauty, consumers are translating their awareness into informed product choices, and the market has been flooded with treatment preparations—including masks, conditioners and serums—that promise to aid in styling and management with nourishing ingredients that provide benefits for the hair and scalp.

According to Euromonitor International, the total hair market in the U.S. was valued at $10.5 billion in 2007, with conditioners and salon hair care at $1.6 and $2.8 billion, respectively. The growth in the market, 3% in 2006, was fueled by consumers continued willingness to pay extra for hair care products that addressed their specific condition, color or hair type. Manufacturers played on this trend by introducing line extensions to existing brands that promised better results at slightly higher price points, and further growth was triggered by the rise of professional products, with significantly higher price points, that consumers believed to be of better quality, noted Euromonitor.

Treatment lines that offered restorative properties, conditioning, and hair coloring and maintenance benefits were among the desired features offered by hair care products. In addition to new launches, the hair care industry expected to benefit by the continued penetration of salon brands, which emphasize points of difference in their appeal to consumers.

Technical Strides
On the technical side, new strides have been made in hair care protection and styling by offering active ingredients with attractive marketing appeal. Laboratoires Sérobiologiques (LS), a division of Cognis, just introduced LS Hair Salon, a range of seven actives for treating and styling hair. Vitaplex, a natural synergistic complex of marine origin, was designed to reinvigorate hair. Its brown algae and red algae extract content stimulates hair growth, according to the company, while improving scalp vitality. Rich in mineral salts, Vitaplex covers the hair with a natural and soft film designed to provide excellent sensorial properties and improve combability and suppleness.

Litchiderm, a lychee extract with free radical scavenging effects, helps reduce color fading of dyed hair and protects against the toxic effects of oxygen radical stress. Litchiderm is said to leave hair shiny and vibrant while protecting color and hair structure. Both companies further serve the trend for “all natural” by offering Vitaplex and Litchiderm in preservative-free versions.

For hairstyling, Laboratoires Sérobiologiques offers Phytosleek, a new generation biopolymer to straighten hair on its overall length, reduce frizz and improve manageability.

To keep curls well defined, Purisilk, also from LS, is designed to provide protection of the hair against external stress and act as a curl “sculptor” for rejuvenated, elastic and well-defined curls. Moving from hair styling to scalp health, LS offers Vegeles Propolis, a natural propolis extract that is a resin created by bees, known for moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties. Its anti-inflammatory effect, demonstrated in vitro through the inhibition of lipoxygenase activity, aids in protection against scalp itching, adds long-lasting moisturization and, according to LS, is recommended for daily application and sensitive scalp treatments.

The company’s Phytosoothe is a compound of phytosterols from canola (rapeseed) and cetearyl alcohol that treats scalp irritation and general hair damage. Designed to be easy to handle and energy and cost saving, with lower heating requirements in production, Phytosoothe is also available in a preservative-free form.

Cognis notes a hot issue for hair today is treating the damage caused by blow drying, straightening and chemical treatments. The company’s Protein Cascade System is a triple repair mechanism for hair, based on rescue proteins that can be tailored to individual needs. Vegetable-derived proteins work systematically to repair damaged hair at three levels. Gluadin W 40, a wheat protein, adheres to the surface of the hair, Gluadin Soy penetrates the cuticle and Gluadin WLM, a wheat microprotein, penetrates into the cortex of the hair fiber to protect, repair and restructure from within.

Lamesoft Care is a high-performance wax dispersion suited for surfactant-based skin and hair applications. Its micronized lipid system offers hair conditioning properties as well as gloss. It is suitable for hair colors, shampoos and specific ethnic hair care treatments. Cognis claims its naturally sourced ingredients help manufacturers produce products that meet the standard of the “green” trend while still delivering performance. The company’s “Feelosophy” mantra focuses on wellness while keeping in mind the four dimensions of a holistic product experience: perception, feel, effect and usage. Clearly, today’s consumers are finding treatment products that reflect hard science and a respect for natural sourcing in the hair care arena.

Vitamin and Mineral Fortified
“Vitamin and mineral fortified,” according to Croda Inc., was one of the top claims for hair conditioners in 2007. The company says there was good reason for the claim, as vitamins and minerals can “feed” the hair, ward off damage and provide a healthy, natural look. One of the largest concerns, however, when using these ingredients in hair products is obtaining substantivity from rinse-off systems. There needs to be evidence that vitamins are depositing onto the hair and that they remain there, rather than washing down the drain. Simply, nourishing ingredients in a formulation need sticking power in order to provide benefit.

Croda developed Crodasoft DBQ to aid in the deposition of oil-soluble actives, such as Vitamin E and silicone, from rinse-off conditioner systems. In studies, when Crodasoft DBQ was compared to behentrimonium chloride (BTMC), a benchmark quarternary conditioner commonly used, the Crodasoft DBQ (1.5% active) was shown to be more effective at depositing vitamin E (0.5%). Crodasoft DBQ (0.5%) was also added to a conditioner containing silicone, and substantivity was shown to have improved in that system as well. Additional information from the testing is available at

Aesthetics and Functionality
Gentle cleansing combined with a soft, supple afterfeel is a primary goal of hair care products. “Babies aren’t the only ones who deserve gentle care,” says Julie Shlepr, global marketing director, Noveon Consumer Specialties, a business unit of the Lubrizol Corp. “Developed from corn, naturally derived glutamate thickeners reduce surface irritation while maintaining rich, creamy lather. These extra-mild thickeners are [also] gentle to eyes and skin.” According to Shlepr, this makes them ideal for products positioned for babies and children, the elderly, frequent shampooers who often are men, and for consumers with sensitive scalp and skin—for example, those who use color or relaxing processes.

“Also derived from corn, Glucam humectants are ideal for moisturizing systems that require a light, but satin-like feel,” Shlepr continues. “These can enhance the rich feel of foaming products while adding moisture retention and emolliency. Gluquat conditioners provide lightweight conditioning, especially well suited for fine hair, including the hair of babies and children.”

“Vegetable-derived Schercemol SHS ester and Schercemol 1818 ester are ideal for nurturing the hair,” adds Brian Vondruska, marketing manager, Noveon Consumer Specialties, a business unit of Lubrizol. “These elegant emollients are derived from oils of sunflower, soybean, olive, palm, castor, rapeseed and their blends. For care, conditioning and improving feel and shine, these emollient esters are functionally effective. Schercemol SHS ester, with a melting point near skin temperature, envelops the hair in richness while Schercemol 1818 ester imparts an irresistible sheen.”

The company also offers a new product that provides humidity resistance and hold, Fixate Superhold Polymer, which offers shine, low flaking, and antifrizz benefits as well. According to the company, curly hair treated with the polymer shows significantly less frizz at 25°C and 90% relative humidity than untreated hair.

An increasingly educated marketplace continues to demonstrate its interest in the latest hair care developments and solutions. Clearly, aesthetics, which add to the sensory appeal of the products, have combined with the demand for functionality to bring end product users the latest in nutrient-rich, state-of-the-art hair care, and this is in evidence on the shelves of retail venues from high-end salons to drug and specialty stores. The performance-driven product line from Nick Arrojo—a hairstylist and educator who began his career with Vidal Sassoon and founded New York’s Arrojo Studio—is a telling example of the drive toward the aesthetic/functionality synergy.

Integral to the line,  a blend of vitamins, protective antioxidants and amino acids are designed to treat both the hair and the scalp. At the 12-unit line’s core is an exclusive Pro-Vitamin B-5 Complex, which is designed to moisturize, create shine, antioxidize, smooth the cuticle, promote hair growth and cell production, and improve scalp circulation. Vitamin B-5 is known for its ability to deliver health benefits to hair, while amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, help strengthen the hair and maintain its elasticity and movement. The Moisturizing Shampoo and Moisturizing Conditioner also contain an advanced Moisture-Plex formula comprised of five essential minerals, silicon, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc to aid binding of moisture to the hair shaft and promote hair growth, cell production and scalp circulation. The products sport the tagline, “Health Giving Hair Care” to emphasize the intended benefits.

Hard science and a healthy harvest of natural nutrients continue to form the backbone of hair care innovation. As customers become more in tune with health and balance in all facets of their lives, they are more likely to combine preventive measures with a regular rescue regimen to achieve the healthy, nourishing hair care they seek.

For further exploration of on-shelf hair care brands working to serve today’s informed consumers by providing functional ingredients, please see “Hair: Antiaging, Growing and Green.”

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