Hair Conference Investigates Biology and Material Science of Hair

A running joke has developed at past hair science meetings that the hair research world comprises two camps– “The Friends of the Follicle,” whose focus resides in the biology, and “The Dead Fiber Club,” whose interest lies with the complex material science of this remarkable substrate. Both disciplines were well represented at the recent 18th International Hair Conference held on the Sept. 4-6, 2013, in Lubeck, Germany. The event was organized by the German Wool Institute (DWI) and was attended by over 150 people from 15 countries.

The first day kicked off with a plenary lecture by Rudolf Leube from the University Hospital in Aachen, Germany entitled “Keratins in Living cells.” The remainder of this first session comprised: Lutz Langbein of DKFZ with “Keratin K77 revisited: The special keratin of luminal cells of eccrine sweat gland ducts in adults with interspecies variations of expression and different intracellular location in embryonic and adult skin of man and mouse;” Andrea.Korner of DWI with “Characterisation of sphingolipids and keratins in hair of children and adults;” Nadine Dirks of DWI with “Keratin degradation products in Human Hair;” and Jolon Dyer of AgResearch with “Molecular mapping of fibre protein and lipid modification and damage”.

A second session then featured a plenary lecture by Warren Bryson entitled “Proteomic and electron tomography applications to wool and hair to gain advanced in-sights into fibre properties and behavior.” Additional lectures were as follows: Randy Wickett from the University of Cincinnati with “Gray and pigmented hairs from the same individual may differ in both temporary and permanent set;” Marina Richena of State University of Campinas with “Ultrastructural studies of gray hair;” Valerie Jeanne-Rose  of L’Oreal with “3-aminopropyltriethoxysilane: A new compound stemming from sol-gel chemistry provides thin hair fiber with more volume;” and Roger McMullen of Ashland Specialty Ingredients with “Investigation of the interactions of cosmetic ingredients with hair by dynamic electro-kinetic and permeability analysis.”

These two sessions illustrated how advancements in areas such as proteomics are providing greater ability to better comprehend compositional aspects of hair, in addition to the changes that can be induced by cosmetic treatments and the environment. Especially noteworthy based on current industry trends were the investigations described by Jolon Dyer on chemical modifications that can be brought about by heat and UV.

The second day began with a plenary lecture by Leszek Wolfram from Berkeley entitled “Endeavors in the area of hair care–chemical aspects of hair care processes and products.” Additional presentations were given by Krishnan Chari of Lubrizol Advanced Materials with “Surfactant-activated micro-gels in hair care;” Yumiko García from Colgate-Parmolive with “Comparative study of a hair care product performance over virgin and damage hair;” Emmanuel Everaert of Ashland Speciality Ingredients with “New long-lasting hair damage repair technologies;” Erik Schulze zur Wiesche of Henkel AG & Co. with “The “self recovery phenomena” of oxidized hair;" Steven Breakspear of Kao Corp. with “The influence of the cuticle on hair shape change;” Anett Kondor of Surface Measurement Systems Ltd. with “Surface energy heterogeneity of hair fibers by inverse gas chromatography;” Claudia Wood of BASF SE with "Physical understanding and quantification of hair surface damage;" Sima Asvadi, of Philips Research with “The interaction of heat and frictional effects in hair styling product;” and Diane Metten of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA with “Dynamic humidity curl retention as a method for the evaluation of hair fixative components”.

The Friday morning plenary lecture was given by Alan Swift entitled “Milestones on hair structure from 1665 to the present day.” Additional lectures were given by Trefor Evans of T.A. Evans LLC with “Changing the bulk properties of hair by non-reactive means;” Kyohei Joko of Sugiyama Jogakuen University with “The role of hydrogen bonding on permanent set of human hair-New Japanese hair straightening;" Joel Coret of TRI Princeton with “Effect of organic acids on hair fiber mechanical properties;” Marianne Brandt of proDERM with “Assessment of hair breakage from combing: Which procedure simulates best the true life situation?;; Veronique Maurin of Symrise, with “Microalgae: a sustainable source of innovative active for hair loss prevention;” Sylvie Bouzéloc of Dow Corning with “New approach for quantification of hair frizz;” Sebastien Breugnot of Bossa Nova Technologies with “Recent advancements in hair visual appearance evaluation;” and Franz Wortmann of the University of Manchester with “Considerations of a consistent model for the reflection of light from human hair.”

The topic of hair frizz–along with its causes, measurement and possible alleviation–was a reoccurring topic in a number of presentations. Of particular interest was work outlined by Steven Breakspear that ascribed cuticle thinning and removal as being the cause behind stray, frizzy flyaway fibers. In short, the localized bulk shape of the hair was believed to change in the absence of this outer reinforcing structure. This flies in the face of another somewhat controversial idea that the hair shape is dictated by differing ratios of ortho and para cortical cells. Advocates and opponents of this theory were present in the audience and a spirited discussion was had by all. The 19th International Hair Science Conference will be held in two years in Trier, Germany on Sept. 2-4, 2015.

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