Testing your Winter hair care products
Winter weather brings with it a myriad of factors affecting hair health and appearance, from cold, dry air outside and dry, centrally heated air inside to increased use of hairdryers, using hotter water for washing and even wearing woolly hats!
The mechanical damage to the hair fibres caused by rapid changes in temperature during blow drying occurs at the cuticle level, creating vertical cracks along the surface when water expands too quickly and is released. Hair fibres with low moisture content become brittle and easier to break whilst styling, making the hair difficult to manage.
Consumers are aware of these problems on a sensory level, noticing drier, rougher, damaged and frizzy hair. Many products on the market are created to deliver softer, smoother and more manageable hair, and these attributes are aligned with the perception of “healthy” hair. Consumers therefore feel that their hair is “unhealthy” as a result of the effects of winter, and every year there is an increased demand for nourishing hair masks, heat protection sprays, anti-frizz serums and leave-in conditioners/oil treatments to counteract these effects. These products either claim to moisturise hair fibres by conditioning them, or offer heat protection.
So if you are formulating a new product perfect for the winter season, what is the best testing method to substantiate your claims? Dia-Stron Application Specialist Dr Rebecca Lunn explains how tress testing techniques on the Dia-Stron MTT175 can provide the insights you need:
Combing studies provide information about the conditioning performance of a product, and combing properties correlate well with consumer attributes such as “ease of combing”, “manageability” or “detangling”. Combing tests can be performed on both wet and dry hair tresses, across the full range of hair ethnicities. Wet combing studies are perfect for validating claims for conditioning ingredients such as cationic surfactants, whilst dry combing studies support claims for conditioning silicones, styling products and even dry shampoos.
This technique combines a rubber probe which mimics hand/skin compliance and texture properties, and a base plate with mechanism for secure and quick hair clamping. Hair friction properties correlate well with consumer attributes such as “smoothness” or “surface damage” (heat, environmental, bleaching, repeated styling) and ideal for evaluating the performance of conditioners and intensive masks.
The curl compression technique is used to measure the stiffness of hair tresses which have been formed into a curl. This accessory can be used for “softness” or “curl retention” claims for styling products such as hair gels, mousses, hair sprays, pomades and wash and care products.