Rohm and Haas, which produces chemicals for industry sectors as varied as paints, plastics, clothing and construction materials, has identified the cosmetics and personal care industry as a strategic area for growth, according to its European Market Manager Lionel Genix.
In evidence of this re-focusing, the Philadelphia-based company has launched a dual function hair styling conditioning polymer that it claims offers dual function hair styling and conditioning and performs better than PVP, the water-soluble fixative traditionally used in the manufacture of hair care products.
"The problem with PVP," Genix explained, "is that it has several weaknesses. It has poor-humidity resistance, there are problems with flaking, which means it can resemble dandruff, and the texture does not feel pleasant, it can make hair feel crunchy." He said that formulators can add additional materials to compensate for these weaknesses, but the additives themselves can cause further problems.
Having decided that there was a gap in the market for a new product, the company decided to produce a solution to these problems. The result is the unique dual function chemistry of their Acudyne product, which offers hair styling and conditioning properties and is formulated for use in hair styling gels, mousses and pomades.
The hair care product market has not been very buoyant in recent years, especially in the US. There has been a lot of corporate activity as the industry's major players have acquired subsidiaries and attempted to consolidate their market share, but wider economic factors have played a role in disappointing sales figures. But the main reason for the soft market, according to Carrie Bonner, industry manager for consumer products at business consultants and market analysts Kline & Company is that there has not been much product development over recent years and this general lack of innovation has hampered the market. She declined to comment about specific products or their ingredients but said that: "In general terms new ingredients and technologies boosts sales volume."
Rohm and Haas are seeking to capitalise on this lack of innovation in the sector and are currently focussing on the hair styling business, Acudyne is one of many products the company has developed and is developing as ingredients for personal care products such as hair care, skin care and UV protection. The company is also developing encapsulation technology to entrap active ingredients.