"The quaternary ammonium-functional silicone enhances hair body, volume and waves, while providing excellent wet and dry detangling, combing and feel properties," said said Dow Corning's global haircare marketer Erik Gyzen.
The company's 5-7113 Silicone Quat Microemulsion was developed as a conditioning additive for use in rinse-off and leave-on conditioners, shampoos and styling aids. When incorporated into rinse-off conditioners, the silicone microemulsion aids colour retention from permanent hair colorants.
"Although other ingredients are available to condition hair, and some can offer protection form heat, few single ingredients combine multifunctional benefits. Protection from the heat associated with hair dryers and other styling tools is a relatively new benefit linked with formulating ingredients," said Gyzen.
Dow Corning claims that the key to thermal protection is reducing moisture loss from the hair. Water contributes to a higher thermal capacity of the hair fiber and helps maitain the integrity of hydrogen bonding between keratin chains and the hair. By retaining water, hair cuticle damage from breaks and cracks may be avoided claims the company.
Tests conducted by Dow Corning show that the new ingredient also helps to reduce colour degradation related to repeated washing or exposure to environmental effects such as ultraviolet radiation (UV).
Dow Corning has patented the composition and manufacturing process of both the silicone polymer and the resulting microemulsion. A general application patent also covers use of the ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, body washes, moisturizers, hair styling aids, fixatives and shine products.
"Today's haircare market is increasingly competitive, and it can be difficult to develop products that offer distinctive benefits while not infringing on other patents," said Mr Gyzen. "Dow Corning has established solid application patents around the use of the silicone quat microemulsion in hair care, so manufacturers have freedom to formulate highly diferentiated products."The recommended use level for shampoos, conditioners and styling prodcts is from 2 to 8 per cent.