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A guide to hair care product testing techniques

Texture Analysers test the properties of hair care products

The health of human hair plays a crucial role in both male and female appearance, and has a strong psychological and social importance. Beautiful, strong and healthy hair is broadly desired. However, hair is highly exposed to harsh factors such as heat, chemical treatments, pollution and watering that can cause damage on the hair physicochemical properties. There is great interest not only in developing products for the protection and recovery of damaged hair, but also in developing effective protocols to investigate the efficacy of innovative hair care products. Claims for cosmetic products, as well as hair care products, are a strategy to obtain successful marketing and promotion. These claims need to be substantiated by efficacy tests, whether they be in vivo, ex vivo, or in vitro studies.

Assessing haircare performance using texture analysis

In a Personal Care Magazine article written by Ashland researchers, a range of hair testing techniques are presented that can show damage sustained, from the cortex to the hair surface, for both quantitative and/or qualitative techniques. They present how they use their Texture Analyser, amongst several other instruments, to measure hair combing/detangling (mean force to comb) and hair strength (maximum force to break).

Meanwhile, other scientists at Ashland have just published a paper entitled Development of a three-point cantilever bending technique to study the mechanical properties of hair styling ingredients. A detailed description is provided for a user-friendly, quick method to measure the mechanical properties of styling ingredients on hair. They provide guidelines for three-point cantilever bending tests of straight hair tresses treated with conventional and naturally-derived styling polymers. Indices have been developed to characterise the force-distance curves and are designated as E1, F1, position of F1, post-fracture gradient, toughness, E10/E1, and F10/F1. These indices provide an overall characterisation of the stiffness, flexibility, elasticity, and plasticity of polymer-treated hair.

Hair and hair product texture measurement with Stable Micro Systems

Hair Stiffness Rig

Hair Stiffness Rig on the TA.XTplusC Texture Analyser

The three-point bending fixture presented in the example above has recently been updated by Stable Micro Systems. The TA.XTplus Texture Analyser, with its wide range of compressive and tensile capabilities, can apply specifically-designed test methods to assess an unrivalled array of physical properties. Not only do these test methods allow refinement of formulations and assessment of suitability of proposed packaging materials but they can also be used to validate claims about product performance by quantitatively testing the effects on hair itself. The Exponent Texture Analyser software comes with a wide range of inbuilt hair and hair product test methods that will automatically load at the click of a button. This will help make your testing quicker to access with the analysis of your product properties already prepared for you.

This article was first published in Stable Micro Systems User News ‘A guide to hair product testing techniques’  For the full article and additional information including links to the latest research.

For more information:

Michael Kervick is a sales manager with specialist knowledge of the Stable Micro Systems range of products and their applications.  Get in touch with Michael today if you would like further information on the Stable Micro Systems range of products including texture analysers.

Michael Kervick
Sales Manager for BUCHI, Lauda, Stable Micro Systems and Konica Minolta
E:      mkervick@masontec.ie 
M:     +353 87 223 1979
DD:   +353 1 4154439

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