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Silicones in Hair Care: Making Innovative Solutions Possible
Posted: May 23, 2007
In today’s ultra-competitive personal care market, developers of personal care products must be at the forefront of technology and innovation to meet consumer demand. In the hair care market, as elsewhere, manufacturers with brands that fulfill customer needs are more likely to succeed in a crowded marketplace. To help meet this challenge, marketers seek solutions that differentiate their products, while giving multiple benefits from a single raw material technology. Multifunctional ingredients like silicones allow product manufacturers to simplify formulations while maintaining or improving product performance.
Silicones are one family of materials that help meet changing consumer needs. They have been important ingredients in hair care products since the 1950s, first appearing in hair sprays to lubricate nozzles and help keep them from blocking. In the 1970s, the hair conditioning properties of silicones began to play a significant role in products such as colorants, permanents and conditioners. Because bleached hair is easily damaged, many products designed to treat it depend on the conditioning properties of silicones. Silicones first appeared in shampoos in the 1980s, and played a major role in the development of two-in-one shampoos in the 1990s.
Today, these versatile ingredients are available as fluids, emulsions, resins, elastomers, waxes and blends. Their long history of use in hair care is due to benefits such as conditioning, shine, manageability, improved wet and dry combing and reduced fly-away. The newest silicone technologies also offer heat and color protection, provide body, improve straightening and impart flexible styling properties. This article reviews some novel properties and traditional conditioning functions of silicone materials for hair care applications.
Multifunctional Conditioning Agents
Hair damage can result from a number of environmental and chemical factors. In addition, frequent use of hair dryers and heated curling or straightening appliances contributes significantly to hair damage. Frictional forces of shampooing, brushing, frequent washing, towel drying and hair ties, combined with poor general health and diet, can have a compounded effect on the level of hair damage and the resulting appearance and feel of hair.
Proper conditioning can help protect hair from further damage and maintain a more healthy appearance. While damaged hair typically requires intensive conditioning, normal hair may require only light conditioning. The chemical structure of silicones and addition of functionality allow for a variety of materials that can meet hair conditioning needs.