Hair care is, according to recent Euromonitor International reports, the largest category in the global beauty industry, and hair care sales rose by 5% in value terms in 2010. However, the market has not been without its challenges with consumers increasingly looking for products that meet their specific hair needs and type and economic realities impacting hair care brand loyalty. Today, in short, a unique selling proposition is key to growth.
Feel, shine and manageability have always played a key role in the hair care category, and products that replenish hair with essential proteins and lipids are always in demand—the recent surge in new hair care products containing keratin is a great example. While keratin may be the most commonly known protein in the hair, 18-Methyl Eicosanoic Acid (18-MEA) is another essential lipid that is critical to the healthy appearance of the hair fiber—and products that effectively deliver 18-MEA can meet true consumer needs with a unique selling proposition.
An 18-MEA Primer
18-MEA is a primary lipid found on the hair’s surface, and it helps to bind cuticles together, preventing damage and roughness on the surface of the hair. It also provides lubricity and shine to hair, enabling hair to look and feel healthy. Unfortunately, 18-MEA is easily removed by daily grooming processes—as well as by harsher chemical treatments, which leave hair unmanageable and looking dull.
However, there are ways to replenish this essential lipid of the hair, thereby regaining the look and feel of healthy hair while also improving the durability of the effects of 18-MEA on the hair fiber. Notably, the Cutissential series from Croda offers versions of 18 MEA that are less easily removed by grooming habits or styling processes. These substantive versions allow 18 MEA to be delivered onto the hair surface directly from product, essentially replenishing the loss of this primary lipid of the hair fiber.
Croda’s Cutisssential series (comprised of Cutissential 18-MEA 40 and Cutissential Behenyl 18-MEA) was also created to allow for deposition of 18-MEA onto the hair fiber regardless of the hair care treatment. The addition of Cutissential Behenyl 18-MEA and Cutissential 18-MEA 40 to hair care helps to restore damaged hair back to its initial healthy state.
The Role of Water
Hair is naturally water-fearing (hydrophobic) and repels water from itself. When hair becomes damaged, such as through bleaching, it loses its natural hydrophobic state and instead become more water-loving (hydrophilic). The leading indication of the hydrophobicity of hair is the contact angle of a hair fiber, with the contact angle of damaged hair smaller than undamaged hair. This “love” for water needs to be reversed for hair to regain it natural, supple, conditioned state.
The addition of the Cutissential series increases the contact angle of hair by up to 15%, increasing the hair’s hydrophobicity and returning it to its natural, undamaged condition. In addition to depositing the essential lipid 18-MEA onto the surface of hair, Cutissential Behenyl 18-MEA and Cutissential 18-MEA 40 are proven to aid in the restoration of hair to a hydrophobic state, improving the hair’s shine and overall appearance.
Ideal for Use In...
Both Cutissential Behenyl 18-MEA and Cutissential 18-MEA 40 are suitable for use in rinse off and leave on conditioners, styling products and hair treatments. Cutissential 18-MEA 40 is also ideal for inclusion into shampoo systems.
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