A Feel for Innovation

As consumers search for products that make hair shiny, silky, clean, soft, manageable and healthy, the emphasis on cleansing, conditioning and treatment has become more important than ever.

The global hair care market grossed $50.94 billion in 2005, according to Euromonitor. Growth will continue to result from an emphasis on product development, as manufacturers strive to offer consumers sophisticated value-added products. “Antiaging, antipollution and sun-protective products will enjoy higher levels of penetration, as skin care benefits are increasingly incorporated into hair care products,” according to Euromonitor. Color maintenance, vitamin and protein-enriched products, diverse needs and male-specific hair care segments also will continue to make gains.

Consumers Looking For Benefits

Today, men and women are increasingly looking at the product’s benefits while perusing retail store and salon shelves. The need for these benefits is challenging formulators to new scientific breakthroughs and the use of innovative combinations of ingredients.

Ingredient suppliers are meeting the demands of the marketplace with new product offerings. According to Erik Gyzen, Dow Corning’s major market strategy leader for hair care, the company is offering six new silicone-based formulations for leave-in conditioners, developed at its research and development laboratory in Shanghai, China. The company says leave-in conditioners help to restore moisture in the hair and minimize damage caused by external factors. Silicones, a major focus of today’s treatment materials, improve conditioners by providing shine, split-end repair, silky conditioning effects and moisture retention.

“In Asia, a woman’s beauty starts with the appearance of her hair. It needs to be shiny, soft, silky and healthy looking,” said Vince Ungvary, marketing director, Dow Corning Personal Care, Asia. “This need can be met by leave-in conditioners, one of the fastest-growing segments of the global hair care market.”

Combining Lipids and Silicones

According to the company, Dow Corning® natural lipids are stabilized against oxidation so they can be formulated with silicones to improve the feel of hair and skin products. The lipids line is the result of an alliance with International Cosmetic Science Centre (ICSC), a research and development center and supplier of high-quality natural ingredients to the cosmetic industry.

Dow Corning stated its lipids, rich in fatty acids, are good moisturizers and hair conditioners, especially for ethnic hair care products, and can restore the skin’s barrier function. They can be used in combination with silicones, which are good emollients that improve the feel of formulations to create products with low film residue, greasiness and tackiness. Incorporating natural lipids in formulations had been difficult because of their inherent oxidative instability, especially for lipids with a high content of essential fatty acids. Rosemary extract has been found to stabilize the lipids against oxidation. To deliver these lipids in concentrated emulsions combined with silicones provides additional benefits for the cosmetic formulator,” said Gyzen.

Replicating practices that have been used for centuries, Dow Corning’s lipids are derived naturally from plant seeds, fruit nuts or kernels, mango, kokum, black currant, evening primrose, borage, camelina and shea, which are sourced from such locations as India, Pakistan, East Africa, Mexico, Central America and China.

Dow Corning also offers a thickening agent called Dow Corning® RM 2051, which is a ready-to-use polymer in a silicone base that thickens and emulsifies a wide variety of oils in water-based formulations while imparting recognized silicone properties. This product is designed for leave-on hair conditioners and hair styling products. “It contains trideceth-6, an inverting agent that helps bring the polymer into contact with the aqueous solution of a formulation. When the emulsion is added to water, the polymer expands immediately into the water phase to thicken and stabilize the formulation. As the formulation thickens, the oil phase ingredients are emulsified and stabilized,” said Gyzen.

Filling the Niches in Haircare

When science and sales combine in the marketplace, the results can be impressive. New products that fill niches also place an important emphasis on building relationships with customers and point-of-sale purveyors. The products’ benefits and presentation are among the key points that support today’s marketing efforts.

Marketing continues to retain an important place in the determination of hair care product development. For example, a consumer poll sponsored by National Starch Personal Care showed that 43 percent of all women surveyed in the U.S. find hair volume to be important. Among the respondents who believe volume to be important, more than 80 percent want to increase volume, said Kathy Maurer, hair care marketing manager, National Starch Personal Care. “This survey provides clarity on the types of consumers in search of better volume and the types of products consumers are relying on to obtain it.”

“Women tend to rely on shampoo, conditioners and mousse for volume while men rely substantially on shampoo and gel to obtain hair volume,” Maurer added. “With this detail in hand we looked at our own technologies to determine if we could improve upon the offerings already in the marketplace.” National Starch unveiled the Art of Volume formulating kit in May 2006, featuring some of its technology and formulating expertise within a system of prototypes.

“The offering represented by the Art of Volume responds to the needs of consumer product companies facing increased pressure to commercialize high performing, consumer-pleasing products quickly,” Maurer said. “We packaged several areas of our expertise to give our customers everything they need to get off to a fast start in creating winning volumizing products.”

Science and Ceramides

While marketing and innovative formulation are part and parcel of product development, there are some new and interesting products on the market today that reflect the synergy of science and consumer need across the country. The Matrix Biolage Fortethérapie range, a professional hair care brand, includes ceramide, silicones and conditioning polymers to protect against heat damage, condition, and close the cuticle to control frizz and add shine.

Dow Corning® brand silicones have been designed to provide heat protection. The materials produce protective films that help prevent water loss, which is critical to avoiding cuticle breaks and cracks. At the same time, according to the company, these silicones contribute to improved sensory characteristics such as softness, easy combing and shine. Thermogravimetric (TGA) analyses show a range of silicones helps prevent moisture loss when hair is subjected to heat. According to the company, the 5-7070 Si Amino Elastomer Emulsion offers conditioning, good fixative strength, positive aesthetics and a natural look from one ingredient.

“This approach provides a solution to a common formulating challenge: a number of polymers currently used for styling benefits have poor sensory properties and impart an unnatural look to hair. This one was designed for hair styling applications such as mousses and hair sprays, as well as leave-on and rinse-off conditioners, and shampoos. Delivered in emulsion form, the material allows easy addition and mixing in aqueous-based formulations,” said Gyzen. Synergistic effects occur with the silicone emulsion in combination with other styling polymers, allowing blends that suggest versatility for formulating or extending the range of products developed for specific market needs.

Products for Shine, Gloss, Sculpting and Straightening

Product performance is a top priority in hair care. With superior shine being among the most highly sought attributes for hair today, high performance ingredients have taken center stage. Dow Corning® 2-2078 Fluid is a silicone copolymer with both amino and phenyl functionality. Its amino functionality is said to enhance deposition and substantivity on hair, particularly damaged hair, while its phenyl functionality provides superior shine. According to the company, the liquid silicone resin also enhances straightening while providing heat and color protection. “The properties of this material suggest a range of benefits for ethnic hair care products, and have the ability to aid in straightening and protecting hair that is typically drier, curlier and more fragile, thus allowing formulators to create products that meet the specialized requirements of global markets,” said Beth Johnson, global hair care technology leader, Dow Corning.

For example, Frédéric Fekkai introduced Fekkai Glosing Sheer Shine Mist, which includes shine-reflecting olive oil extract and an exclusive blend of sheer silicones to impart brilliant and long-lasting shine, while helping to lock in moisture and keep strands soft and conditioned.

PureOlogy recently introduced an Anti-Fade Complex Glossing Mist™ with a blend of silicone technology, including panthenol, wheat amino acids and soy proteins, while utilizing a nanotechnology approach to color and thermal protection.

Repairing, Styling and Texturizing

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.

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