Active ingredients from natural sources are becoming increasingly sought after by consumers who are eager to achieve a beautiful, healthy look for their hair without the use of ingredients that are perceived to be either ‘harsh’ or ‘synthetic’.
By using natural plant- and vegetable-based products, consumers benefit from the sense that they are being kind to their body and utilising Nature’s own range of chemical compounds to protect and nourish their hair.
Natura-Tec Abysoft from Natura-Tec is a Cosmos-approved multifunctional performance enhancer for skin, makeup and hair care applications. This multitasking complex combines and enhances the benefits of Crambe abyssinicaseed oil with the bio-active effects of phytosterols.
Their nutritional and replenishing properties contribute to formulating this exceptional complex adapted for intensive benefits for the hair.
Hair is one of the most important aspects of a person’s appearance, and the apparent health of an individual’s hair also reflects their overall health as well as their attitude to maintaining their appearance. Healthy hair, in turn, can have a great impact on confidence and sense of wellbeing.
Hair style influence
Throughout society in general hair style has always played a vitally important role. It would have been possible to offer someone a short description of an individual’s hair style in order to identify their wealth and their role in society. Hair style was very much a social marker already at the time of Egyptians.
Besides being a cultural and fashionable element of one's apearance, it also enhanced status and was very often copied and spread among intermingling civilizations.
Traditionally hair care treatments and products have relied on ingredients of natural origin. People in different parts of the world have always used the same or similar plants for the same purposes. In the early 19th century scientists began to extract and modify the active ingredients from plants. Later, chemists began making their own version of plant compounds and, over time, the use of herbal medicines declined in favour of synthetic drugs, mainly in the western world.
Recently, however, the World Health Organization estimated that 80% of people worldwide still rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care in some areas, this is still true when it comes to personal care.
Back to the present day and with our different advanced technologies, it is possible to develop ingredients which bring the benefits of vegetable-based materials to modern cosmetics in an effective, stable and purified form which meets with today's consumer’s acceptance and expectations thus allowing a true return to the original cosmetic art of nature. Furthermore modern science gives us a very deep understanding of the structure of hair and its response to different treatments.
The hair shaft itself is comprised of three layers of keratin: the medulla, the cortex and the cuticle.
Keratin is a protein made up of 18 amino acids and it is produced by the keratinocytes located in the hair bulb. The cuticles have evolved to protect the soft fibres of cortex and medulla, and the overlappingscales of the cuticle work as a first line of defence against pollutants and mechanical stress.
It is important to thoroughly cleanse the exposed hair shaft to remove product and particles from the environment which can seep into the follicle and thereby into the bloodstream. The hair shaft serves many purposes, including regulating body temperature, protecting a sensitive scalp and facilitating the evaporation of sweat. However, like a filter it also attracts and holds pollutants from the environment which when added to traces left over from styling products and physiological processes may dull and damage the hair. Gentle, thorough cleansing is essential for good health and beautiful hair.
Elements of natural hair protection
In order to be as healthy as possible, hair needs lipids. Some lipids are a constituent part of the hair shaft, while others are produced by the sebaceous glands.
Lipids produced at the hair bulb include sterols, fatty acids and ceramides. They are mainly present in the intercellular cement of the cortex and the cuticle and they give hair a level of impermeability and ensure the cohesion of the cells within the hair fibre.
The sebaceous glands, attached to hair follicles, provide sebum. This mixture of triglycerides, waxes and squalene lubricates the hair, thus maintaining its flexibility and gloss.
A solution for hair care
Shiny, silky hair symbolises health and youth, and so Natura-Tec decided to study the effects of its Natura-Tec Abysoft ingredient on Heat Protection, UV/Sea Water Protection, and Colour Fading Protection to determine if the ingredient can help consumers ensure hair retains its vitality and youthfulness when presented with typical environmental and mechanical pressures.
Previous studies on hair application demonstrate that Natura-Tec Abysoft (now referred to as ‘the complex’) improves hair elasticity, increases hair brightness, and shows a significant conditioning effect with an immediate effect on the increase of hair volume. The complex can also be used as a replenishing agent with a perceivable and beneficial sensorial performance.
Selfie trend: the new mirror
Young consumers have become hugely influenced by the popularity of ‘selfies’ (mobile phone self portraits) and publishing the results on social networks, which are continuing to flourish and develop at enormous speeds. Selfies and makeup tutorial videos have consequently helped to boost emerging segments and popularise professional techniques such as ‘contouring’. These methods, which were once only reserved for professionals, have become brought to a wider audience who are becoming more sophisticated and adventurous in their cosmetic regimes.
In addition to this we are now seeing more professional materials used by consumers to style their hair, such as the huge popularity for GHD professional hair stylers. So, how can the complex help the YouTube and selfie generation?
One of the most damaging activities carried out by consumers to their hair is the use of hair straighteners. Repeated use of straighteners by non-professionals leaves hair badly damaged, with split cuticles caused by small explosions of steam on and within the hair. Some products can reach very high temperatures, which professional stylers would rarely use, but consumers may feel will offer quicker results but instead cause worse damage to the hair.
Consumers are now increasingly aware of the damage caused by hair straighteners and use serums to offer some protection against the heat and mechanical stress.
The purpose of this investigation was to study the impact of heat on the hair after treatment with (and without) a leave on formulation (with and without 3% of the complex).
Materials were: GHD IV Hair Styler, and Quanta Series 200 (FEI Co.) Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope (ESEM).
The protocol involved prewashing, followed by product application/hair straightener (180°C). The hair was then left to cool. The process was repeated 11 times.
Control = no product + heat treatment
Before treatment the hair is well structured with integral cuticles and structural homogeneity. After treatment, the hair is altered with the loss of compact fragments from the cuticles and longitudinal lesions and incisions (Fig 1).
Placebo = Conditioner without the complex + heat treatment
The Placebo presents the same results as the Control. The Placebo’s leave-on conditioner was irregularly distributed, without covering the hair in a uniform manner (Fig 2). The images show hair cuticle alteration, with perforations, loss of structural homogeneity and loss of cuticles. The worn and faded structures evident in the images are characteristic of thermal aggressions. This shows the Placebo is unable to protect the hair against thermal aggressions, and is similar to no product.
Active = Conditioner with 3% complex + heat treatment
The Active formulation displayed a homogeneous layer of product over the hair. In most images, no uncovered parts of the hair are visible, which indicates a great ability of the ingredient to ‘sheathe’ all of the hair (Fig 3). In the few areas where hair fibres are visible, cuticles are in a perfect condition, well-structured and undamaged on the surface. Similar results are shown on the hair that has not been subjected to thermal aggressions.
Quantification of hair damage
Five locks of hair with three replicates for control, placebo or active formulation were used. A scale established by trained specialist technicians classified the damage to the hair locks from 1 to 5.
The scale was used to calculate the average damage value for each hair strands and percentage of variation compared to before treatment.
The study shows that the Control sample suffered more than 60% increase in heat damage, while the Placebo had an increase of over 45%, proving that it does not protect from heat aggression (Fig 4).
The Active sample displayed less than 5% damage, showing that 3% complex offers a high level of protection for the hair: 46% less damaged hair with the leave on conditioner containing 3% complex than with the placebo formulation.
Colour: UV and sea water protection
People who enjoy spending time in the open air, and in particular at the beach, will often find that the environment has a detrimental impact on the appearance of their hair. Salt water and the sun’s rays have a fading effect on coloured hair, so there is a great deal of interest among consumers in finding a natural product that protects their coloured hair from these particular environmental aggressions.
This study was designed to evaluate the impact of UV and sea water on dyed hair after treatment with (and without) a leave on formulation (with and without 3% complex).
The materials used were: Dyed hair, portable spectrophotometer Konica Minolta CM-2300d, Quanta Series 200 (FEI Co.) Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope.
The protocol for this study was prewashing, followed by bleaching and dyeing. Picture and colour determination were by colorimetry. Product application / Sea water 20’/ Xenotest 1h (repeat 19 times).
Control = no product + UV sea water treatment
Before treatment the hair is well structured with integral cuticles and structural homogeneity (Fig 5).
The Control sample was subjected to UV and sea treatment without product, and therefore no protection against the aggressions. The hair showed evidence of loss of compact fragments of the cuticle and longitudinal lesions and incisions.
Placebo = Conditioner without the complex + UV Sea water treatment
The Placebo showed the same results as the Control. The Placebo sample’s leave-on conditioner was shown to be irregularly distributed, without covering the hair in a uniform manner and the hair cuticles suffered alterations, perforations, loss of structural homogeneity and loss of cuticles (Fig 6). This shows that the Placebo is unable to protect the hair from UV and sea water aggressions, as is the Control.
Active = Conditioner with 3% complex + UV Sea water treatment
The Active formulation was able to cover all of the hair, and most of the time no uncovered parts of the hair are visible. In the few areas where hair fibres are visible, the cuticles are shown to be in perfect condition, well-structured and undamaged on the surface (Fig 7). Similar behaviour is shown for the different replicas.
The study shows that the Control sample was subject to an increased level of damage of over 60%. The Placebo sample suffered an increase of damage of over 50%, showing that the Placebo does not protect from UV and sea water aggression (Fig 8).
The Active sample displayed less than 4% of damage, which is evidence that 3% complex deeply protects the hair from UV and sea water aggression: 48% less damaged hair with the leave on conditioner at 3% complex than with the placebo formulation
The ability of the complex to protect hair colour was established in a study that used the following parameters: L* : Lightness ΔL* : variation of L* (L=0=Noir and L=100=White) a* : red (+) /green (-) b* : yellow (+) /blue (-) ΔE* : variation of L*, a* and b*
The study found that ΔL reduces more with the active formulation and that the hair strands maintain a darker colour with the active formula, indicating that the complex prevents pigment loss (Fig 9).
Colour fading variation is shown to be much less significant with the active formulation and overall the loss of colour is also less significant with the complex (Fig 10).
Natura-Tec Abysoft is a multifunctional natural active that has been shown to offer substantial benefits to overall hair health and protect against heat and UV damage. In a series of studies Natura-Tec Abysoft displayed significant levels of protection against damaged induced by hair straighteners as well as colour protection in a study using UV and sea water, and showed that Natura-Tec Abysoft indeed protects and maintains hair’s natural vitality against both mechanical and environmental stress.
Alongside these attributes, Natura-Tec Abysoft has previously been proven to provide increased hair volume, hair elasticity, and hair brightness, making the ingredient an ideal choice for formulators looking to create products that offer comprehensive hair health benefits.
More about Natura-Tec
At Innospec, designing innovative personal care products is our specialty and by pinpointing what’s integral to beauty today, we’re able to present a portfolio of customer-centric solutions in hair care, skin care and intimate care. We feature best-in-class stand out ingredients such as, Sulfate-Free Surfactants, Specialty Silicones and...
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2 - 3 May 2017
31 May - 2 June 2017
20 - 22 June 2017
Royal College of Physicians. London. UK
4 – 5 July 2017
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