In the past, many ethnic hair care formulations relied heavily on the use of invert emulsions. These products utilized oils as the primary conditioning agent and were lacking in many respects; they did not provide substantial styling benefits, they tended to weigh hair down, and the aesthetic properties were often greasy and unappealing.
New developments in ethnic hair care formulations have demonstrated the benefits of using functional polymers in o/w emulsions, rather than traditional invert emulsions. These new systems are suited to the needs of ethnic hair; they provide both conditioning and styling benefits without weighing hair down and they feature improved, consumer-preferable aesthetic properties.
An example of a newly developed o/w emulsion designed for use on ethnic hair is the combing cream in Formula 1. This cream is formulated with a polymer to provide long-lasting curl definition and volume reduction, while hydroxypropyl starch phosphate to stabilize the emulsion and offer improved feel in the hands and on the hair.
The smoothing hair cream in Formula 2 emphasizes the dehydroxanthan gum polymer for thickening and high humidity hold properties and polyquaternium-4/hydroxypropyl starch copolymer for conditioning benefits. This smoothing hair cream formulation provides hold, high humidity curl retention, and anti-frizz properties, along with an excellent feel on the hair. This multifunctional product can be used on curly hair to maintain definition, as well as for straightening curly hair and keeping it straight under humid conditions.
Creating products that meet today's needs in the ethnic hair care market is a challenge that can be met with the correct ingredients and formulating techniques. Marketers looking to provide higher value formulas for ethnic hair care can utilize functional polymers to create the product forms, aesthetic properties and desired balance of moisturizing and styling benefits that consumers demand.