Trends; Ingredients for Ethnic Hair Care

According to AkzoNobel, as ethnic consumers, particularly African-Americans, move away from hair-damaging chemical relaxing treatments and heat-based appliances and increasingly toward more natural hair, the need is growing to provide hair care products that will satisfy the special requirements of ethnic hair as well as the new styles favored by ethnic consumers. In response, AkzoNobel has introduced a kit of prototype products.

The main trends in ethnic hair are sleek, straight styles that are natural-looking, healthy and conditioned. The new kit contains solutions to cover the full range of ethnic hair care needs, from cleansing and conditioning to styling and finishing. All of these products are based on AkzoNobel polymers and starches with attributes especially appropriate for the cleansing, conditioning and styling of ethnic hair.

The performance capabilities of each element in the ethnic hair care kit were salon-tested by a trained stylist well experienced working with African-American hair. Samples were evaluated on approximately 40 African American clients and their capabilities confirmed on a variety of hair lengths, textures and treatments.

The ethnic hair care kit, according to the company, contains three products for ethnic hair cleansing and conditioning that will be right at home in salons catering to ethnic consumers:

  • High conditioning shampoo containing Celquat SC-240C polymer for both conditioning and cleansing. The ingredient's cellulose backbone improves hair combability and imparts a smooth feel. It is recommended for rinse-off systems.
  • Hair conditioning mask containing Structure ZEA starch, a viscosity builder and aesthetic enhancer, and Celquat L-200 polymer for conditioning. Structure ZEA is a naturally derived, cold-water processable starch product that improves formulation aesthetics by reducing stickiness, tackiness and, in some formulations, oily feel. Celquat L-200 prevents excessive buildup due to its lower molecular weight and provides excellent high-humidity curl retention and anti-frizz properties. The hair conditioning mask can be used as a regular conditioner or as a deep-conditioning treatment.
  • Leave-in wearable hair treatment containing Celquat SC-230M polymer, a higher-viscosity grade of Celquat SC-240C with all its attributes, Structure ZEA starch and Amaze starch, which adds a non-tacky film for a touchable hold, excellent humidity-resistance, volume-building properties and restylability.

Styling and Finishing

At the same salons, a variety of products are used to prepare and style ethnic hair, with consumer preferences running to conditioning and wrap products to provide quick drying without dulling the hair with residual film. In addition, hair cream and pomade products are used to smooth hair cuticles and add shine, and must be light-weight and non-greasy to allow use on various hair textures. Sprays are used to prepare the hair for styling as well as finishing. Thermal sprays must deliver protection as well as hold to hair, and finishing sprays need to control split ends and frizz while providing a weightless hold.

Four prototype products in the new ethnic hair care kit from AkzoNobel address all these styling and finishing requirements, including:

  • Conditioning foam wrap containing Celquat L-200 styling and conditioning polymer. It can be used as a styling mousse when drying with a blow dryer or as a wrap product for more intense styling and longer hold.
  • Wax pomade containing Flexan II polymer for styling/thermal protection and DynamX polymer for style memory and film formation. Flexan II forms strong, flexible films that contract upon drying, wrapping the hair in polymer film. In addition, removes build-up and also dissipates static and reduces frizz. DynamX is a flexible polymer film that provides durable, long-lasting hold, high gloss, style memory, curl definition, and anti-frizz properties. 
  • Low-VOC thermal spritz containing Flexan II polymer for styling and thermal protection. 
  • Humidity-resistant mist containing Amphomer LV-71 styling polymer for spray applications. An excellent film former, it provides exceptional stiffness and high-humidity curl retention. It is also compatible with different propellants.
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