Anti-pollution beauty and hair care: your questions answered

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

Anti-pollution beauty and hair care: your questions answered

Related tags Hair care Hair care products Air pollution

At our recent anti-pollution forum, we gathered industry experts to discuss the global rising trend. Here, we look back at some of the top questions submitted by listeners on the subject of anti-pollution and hair care.

For the rest of our Q&A series, look out for these feature articles: Maintaining Consumer Appetite, Regulatory Considerations,How To Test Anti-Pollution Products​.

Who are the experts?

To offer their industry expertise and deep market insight, CosmeticsDesign put your questions to two of our speakers:

  • Dr. Maria Coronado, Euromonitor: ingredients analyst and doctor in chemical engineering. Find some of her recent insights here.
  • Dr. Alain Khaiat, Seers Consulting: cosmetics consultant and contractor; an expert in the Asia region.

How does pollution affect hair?

AK: While there are fewer studies on the biological mechanisms of pollution on hair, one can extrapolate from the mechanisms on the skin e.g. free radical damages would be high and this would translate into dull, brittle hair.

MC: Air pollutants such as heavy metals, PM and gas pollutants such as SO2, NO2, or PAH are believed to settle on the scalp and hair causing irritation and hair’s cuticule damage.

Apparently, these pollutants could also migrate through the hair follicle conduit, leading to oxidative stress, excessive sebum secretion, redness, itching, dandruff, oily scalp and hair loss. In addition, pollution might also cause faster colour fading.

Just think about the fact that hair is “an extremely useful biological material for evaluation of exposure to organic compounds​” (source here​).  For that reason, some companies are testing anti-pollution ingredients on the hair.

PRODERM uses ex-vivo particulate matter tests. They apply smoke from combustion to human to hair samples, then the hair is washed with the anti-pollution washing product. They use scanning electron microscope or atomic force microscope to detect particles fixed in the hair. They calculate the cleansing efficacy by comparison of washed and unwashed Hair polluted samples.

INOVAPOTEK uses ex-vivo tests for hair care products to evaluate the efficacy using electronic microscopy photography and image analysis before and after impregnation of charcoal particles on hair.

What anti-pollution products are already on the market for hair?

MC: Anti-pollution claims in hair care products have already reached Western markets.In the hair care segment, Clairol has recently launched the Herbal Essences Daily Detox collection containing plant extracts that detoxify the hair from pollutants and CavinKare’s, the leading premium Indian hair care brand Nyle Naturals, has launched a new range of Nyle Shampoo with water lily, aloe vera and amla to fight against dust and pollution. In February 2016, Henkel launched the Schwarzkopf Extra Care Purify & Protect range with moringa seeds claiming to be the first anti-pollution repair range of hair products in the market.

How would the anti-pollution effect be noticed by the consumer in hair?

MC: The aim of anti-pollution and detox hair products loaded with antioxidants is to remove toxins and  pollutants for the hair and the scalp to have a healthier and cleaner look.

These products also contain moisturizing ingredients that moisturise and strengthen the hair and claim to leave the hair shiny and Stronger without feeling heavy. In addition, after using a detox shampoo it is likely that the effects of conditioning agents are more visible.

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