Kao Corp. has a new answer to the long-standing challenge of natural-looking, even-coverage cosmetics: fine fiber. By electro-spinning a positively charged polymer onto a negatively charged target, researchers have created a ultra-fine, lightweight and soft fiber that can spray flawless coverage onto skin.
According to the company, applying this technology to other Kao products will take traditional skin care and makeup to new levels. Further, the company plans to leverage the fine fiber in therapeutic fields in the future. Expect to see related research on this technology emerging at academic conferences in fiber engineering, dermatology and/or cosmetic science.
The fine fiber technology is created by the fiber-spinning technology known as electro-spinning (ES). This technique is common in the non-woven fabric industry and has previously been described for the novel delivery of cosmetic actives.
It works by spraying a positively charged polymer solution onto the surface of a negatively charged target object. The resulting stretched, string-like polymer solution can be forcefully ejected from the nozzle of a specialized applicator.
As it is sprayed, the layers of the solution form a membrane on the target (in this case, the skin) that is thinner toward the edges, allowing it to blend naturally. And, due to a capillary action, cosmetic products are held between both the layers of fibers and individual fibers, and liquid products are evenly distributed throughout the entire membrane.
Furthermore, the company notes excess water vapor can escape, allowing the membrane to adequately maintain moisture permeability without completely blocking skin. Since there is only a small difference between the membrane and the skin, it also will not come off too easily.
Moving this technology closer to market, Kao reports it also has succeeded in making a small applicator and establishing the optimum voltage and solution flow rate for it. The company will continue its pursuit to identify fine fiber applications in cosmetic products, and plans to explore adaptations for the therapeutic field.
See Kao's sprayable fine fiber demo: