A Review of Novel Cleansing and Conditioning Systems

Cleansing and conditioning are basic steps in a typical hair care routine, and efforts are continually under way to develop novel and improved systems for such functions—especially in response to demand from consumers who require products tailored for various lifestyles and to different hair types. This brief review highlights a few recent advances in trending hair cleansing and conditioning systems.

Dry Shampoos

Dry shampoos do not use water to clean hair. These absorbent powder compositions provide an alternative to traditional liquid-based shampoos.1, 2 To clean hair, the dry powder is sprinkled onto greasy hair, allowing it to contact the fiber surface for a predetermined amount of time and subsequently removed by brushing. These shampoos initially were not popular with consumers, as they were inefficient at cleansing hair and left behind undesirable sensory attributes.

These shampoos generally contained three types of ingredients: absorbers of fatty compounds, e.g., starch, clay or talc; abrasive materials such as silica to remove soils; and an alkali agent, e.g., boric acid or sodium carbonate. Attempts also were made to suspend the powders in volatile solvents to create a sprayable product.3 However, technical hurdles such as incomplete sebum removal or incomplete elimination of the powder by brushing, along with regulatory issues—i.e., the banning of chlorofluorocarbon propellants, prevented the commercialization of a finished product meeting all the customer requirements.

Then in the 1970s, Pierre Fabre launched a dry shampoo under the Klorane brand, whose novelty was in the use of a mixed hydrocarbon propellant system and micronized powders to absorb sebum and oils.4

Today’s formula contains silica, β-cyclodextrin and modified starch, along with various plant material and emollients for added benefits. Recently, other brands launched dry shampoos as line extensions in order to address new consumer demands and various lifestyles.5-11

According to a Mintel study, dry shampoos made up 5% of all new shampoo products in the United States the first half of 2014, compared with 1% of all new shampoo products in 2009.12 Dry shampoos in aerosol formats have grown due to advances in aerosol powder valve technologies,13 among others.9-10 Modern dry shampoos contain particulate material such as starch, modified starch, talc and silicone elastomers, capable of adsorbing and/or absorbing sebum and oils.5-11

They may be aqueous formulas but a majority of commercial products are non-aqueous based cleansing compositions utilizing conventional propellants. Silica may be used as an anti-caking agent in the formula. Some commercial products even contain color, emollients and silicone derivatives for added benefits, which distinguishes them from other cleansing products.

Cleansing Conditioners

The surfactants used in shampoos can be harsh on hair, removing essential oils and leaving the hair dry, dull and unmanageable. They may also extract hair dye from the fiber, thereby reducing the longevity of the color. Conditioners help to make hair shiny and manageable; however, some cause excessive build-up on hair. In response, cleansing conditioners or shampoo conditioners were developed containing little or no surfactant.1 These are intended primarily to enhance the detangling of wet hair and to improve the manageability of both wet and dry hair while cleaning and conditioning. In contrast, conditioning shampoos mainly are intended to clean hair while secondarily leaving hair manageable.

The development of cleansing conditioners or shampoo conditioners also began in the late 1970s, around the same time 2-in-1 conditioning shampoos were entering the market.14, 15 Early conditioning shampoos were based on water-soluble cationic resins but were inefficient detanglers. Modern cleansing conditioners, however, are multifunctional and can replace shampoos, conditioners, detanglers, leave-in conditioners and deep conditioners.16

Current commercial products do not contain primary surfactants but may contain secondary surfactant(s) to provide a small amount of lather. These are intended to be alternated with regular shampoos and conditioners, to lessen their drying effects. Notably, the amount of cleansing conditioner applied to hair is typically three to four times more than a traditional shampoo—even more for long hair. These formulas are reported to be ideal for thick or curly hair as they help to retain moisture. Like other commercial products, many cleansing conditioners are also available as sulfate-free and paraben-free, and protect hair color from fading.

According to a recent Mintel study, multi-benefit products are gaining traction in the hair care category, which is consistent with trends in the skin care and color cosmetics categories.12 In particular, cleansing conditioners generate the highest levels of enthusiasm, with more than half (58%) of hair care users reporting interest (see Figure 1). The development of hair cleansing conditioners cleaning hair without stripping essential oils or hair color represents an improvement in the field of hair treatments and satisfies a long felt consumer need.

Alphabet Hair Care

Alphabet products have crossed the store aisle from skin care into hair care, and “BB” and “CC” formulations are now appearing in the form of multifunctional shampoos, conditioners, hair creams and sprays. These multi-tasking products combine a variety of ingredients in one product the same way traditional blemish or beauty balm (BB) and color correcting (CC) creams combine skin care and makeup ingredients to deliver multiple benefits. These products tend to have different viscosities.17

The meanings behind “BB” and “CC” vary in hair care; for example, beauty balm and beauty boosting (BB), and color care, complete care, complete correction or conditioning concentrate (CC). BB and CC hair care products claim to provide from 3-, up to 10-in-1 multi-tasking solutions for healthy hair. For example, they cleanse, repair, strengthen, smooth, protect against UV damage, improve shine, control frizz control, manage hair, detangle and moisturize.

One particular Beauty Boosting shampoo and conditioner formula claims to provide 10 solutions for flawlessly healthy hair. This product contains a buffer system and chelant, trisodium ethylene diamine disuccinate, that inhibits mineral deposit buildup on hair.18 The buffer and chelant combination also prevents copper ions, which are naturally present in water, from damaging hair proteins.19

Other products incorporate a variety of specialty ingredients in their formulas—some traditionally used in skin care. A look at the ingredient statements on their labels reveals the use of Linum usitatissimum (linseed) seed oil, Carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, Hypnea musciformis extract, Gellidiela acerosa extract, Mentha arvensis leaf oil, hydrolyzed keratin, hydrolyzed elastin, collagen, trehalose, omega-3 fatty acids and caviar extract.

The same study by Mintel12 (see Figure 1) shows 45% of U.S. hair care users are interested in BB and/or CC hair products. Such alphabet hair care products are designed for consumers who desire beautiful hair but do not have time for multiple conditioning treatments. The increasing number of commercial products in this new category is an indication of continuing efforts under way to develop novel and improved cleansing and conditioning systems tailored to the needs of different hair types and various lifestyles.

Hair Wipes, Food

Although less prominent in the literature, hair wipes20-25 are a novel product form worth noting. For example, one patent20 discloses oil-absorbing wipes for skin or hair comprising an oil-absorbing, porous film-like substrate of a thermoplastic material having a transparency of less than 65. This substrate changes transparency when loaded with oil. The wipes may also contain or be coated with active or inactive ingredients for delivering benefits to the skin or hair during and after oil removal and cleansing. One commercial example is the Ted Gibson Hair Sheet, which can be used on the surface of dry hair to calm frizz, refresh, and add shine.

Another new area is food crossing into hair care. The Hair Food collection by P&G’s Clairol brand, for example, is a root cleansing shampoo infused with strawberry and ginger fragrance. It will be interesting to see what direction this developing category takes.


Consumer demand for cleansing and conditioning systems to meet the needs of different hair types and lifestyles is plentiful. Efforts to develop novel cleansing and conditioning systems are ongoing and result in new product forms, sparking the interest of U.S. customers, as the market research indicates.


  1. JB Wilkinson and RJ Moore, Harry’s Cosmeticology, 7th edn, Chemical Publishing Co, New York (1982)
  2. US Pat 1,208,069, Dry shampoo composition, J Wittwer, assigned to J Wittwer (Apr 19, 1915)
  3. US Pat 4,035,267, Dry shampoo using chitin powder, G Gleckler and J Goebel, assigned to American Cyanamid Company (Aug 30, 1976)
  4. WO Pat 96/00563, Phytogenic dry shampoo, M Jeanjean, N Senegas and B Fabre, assigned to Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetique (Jan 11, 1996)
  5. US Pat App 20140000642, Aerosol composition comprising a particulate tapioca starch, DF Swaile, JV Torres Rivera and ME Thomas, assigned to The Procter & Gamble Co (Jun 27, 2013)
  6. US Pat App 20140000643, Aerosol composition comprising a particulate tapioca starch, DF Swaile, JV Torres Rivera and ME Thomas, assigned to The Procter & Gamble Co (Jun 27, 2013)
  7. US Pat App 20140283865, Hair cleaning kit, AR Avery, E Khoshdel, JT Petkov and G Roberts, assigned to Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Aug 19, 2011)
  8. US Pat App 20120282190, Compositions, methods and kits comprising a dry shampoo, JD Hammer, assigned to Pharmosol Corp (Oct 27, 2010)
  9. WO Pat App 2014177649, Aerosol device based on sebum-absorbing powder and calcium carbonate, J Gawtrey, N Smail and N Beau, assigned to L’Oréal (Apr 30, 2013)
  10. WO Pat App 2014177647, Multi-diffusion-orifice aerosol device for dry washing the hair, L Aubert, J Gawtrey, N Beau and N Smail, assigned to L’Oréal (April 30, 2013)
  11. WO Pat App 2011019539, Granulated dry cleanser for the care of keratinous substrates, CS Bernet, S Creutz, S Postiaux and F Vandemeulebroucke, assigned to Dow Corning Corp (Aug 13, 2009)
  12. S Romanowski, Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Styling Products—US, Mintel report (Apr 2014)
  13. www.lindalgroup.com/news/news/article/powered-by-lindal-aerosol-solutions-the-dry-shampoo-category-continues-to-grow.html (Accessed Mar 10, 2015)
  14. US Pat 3,990,991, Shampoo conditioner formulas, T Gerstein, assigned to Revlon Inc (Feb 1, 1974)
  15. US Pat 4,333,921, Hair cleansing conditioner with lathering action, OB Luedicke, T Domzalski and D Zajac, assigned to American Cyanamid Company (Oct 2, 1980)
  16. US Pat 6,723,309, Hair cleansing conditioner, JA Deane, assigned to JA Deane (Apr 20, 2004)
  17. www.webmd.com/beauty/makeup/beauty-balms-bb-creams (Accessed Apr 2, 2015)
  18. US Pat App 20130174863, Hair care compositions, JM Marsh, HD Hutton, KL Doyle and JE Hilvert, assigned to The Procter & Gamble Co (Jul 11, 2013)
  19. JM Marsh et al, Role of copper in photochemical damage of hair, Int J Cos Sci 36 32-38 (2014)
  20. www.google.com/patents/US6645611 (Accessed May 12, 2015)
  21. www.google.com/patents/US6773718 (Accessed May 12, 2015)
  22. www.freepatentsonline.com/y2010/0158986.html (Accessed May 12, 2015)
  23. www.freepatentsonline.com/y2011/0088711.html (Accessed May 12, 2015)
  24. www.patentbuddy.com/Patent/20140283865 (Accessed May 12, 2015)
  25. www.freepatentsonline.com/20150034116.pdf (Accessed May 12, 2015)
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