Special Edition: Natural ingredients & claims

Sweet find? Henkel files patent for saccharose natural hair styling formula

By Kacey Culliney contact

- Last updated on GMT

The natural formula can be used to create hair styling gels, foams, mousses, waxes, lotions and even clays (Getty Images)
The natural formula can be used to create hair styling gels, foams, mousses, waxes, lotions and even clays (Getty Images)

Related tags: natural beauty, Henkel, Hair styling products, Patent, Polymer, saccharose

German personal care major has developed a hair styling blend with saccharose and starch that enables the complete replacement of synthetic polymers without impacting product efficacy.

Writing in its international patent​, Henkel said it had developed the natural blend using saccharose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and carboxymethyl starch. It said the blend could be used to manufacture hair styling gels, foams, mousse, waxes, lotions or clays.

Hair styling gels traditionally contained synthetic polymers – cationic, anionic, nonionic and amphoteric – and/or waxes; the former of which Henkel said were conventionally sourced from fossil substances like crude oil. It therefore remained desirable to design products made from “renewable raw materials with the least possible use of energy”, ​the personal care major wrote in the patent filing.

“A quantity reduction or even an exchange of said fully synthetic polymers can, however, only be carried out if the substitute polymers produce the properties desired for the intended use and give the keratin-containing fibres a sufficient, stable hold.”

Natural agents ‘no way inferior’ to synthetic polymers

Henkel said its natural blend – made up of 1-5 wt% saccharose, 3-7 wt% hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and 0-3 wt% carboxymethyl starch, with a water content of 60-90 wt% – showed a strong performance, with key hair styling qualities maintained.

“Surprisingly, it has been found that, contrary to expectation, no negative aspects such as plaque formation have been found (…) Other commonly required properties of cosmetic agents for the temporary shaping of keratin fibres, such as long-term hold and low tackiness, remained.”

“…The agents according to the invention have outstanding styling properties that are in no way inferior to or even exceed conventional agents based on fully synthetic polymers,”​ Henkel wrote.

Positive effects on the hairstyle hold and good application could be achieved if the saccharose (sucrose), hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose and carboxymethyl starch content were kept “within narrower quantity ranges”,​ it said.

Additional oils and chitosan as ‘optional’ biopolymer

Henkel said it would also be important to incorporate a vegetable oil like wheat germ, jojoba or coconut oil to “give the hair a silky sheen and make the hair more resilient”. ​The oil component had to be included at 0.05-1 wt%. Vitamins, perfumes and preservatives could also be added.

In addition to the ingredients outlined above, Henkel said it was also possible to work with chemically modified biopolymers for setting agents.

Chitosan, for example – a biopolymer obtained from shrimp shell – could be incorporated into the blend as a useful “cheap raw material”​ that was “available in large quantities”.

“…As already mentioned, the provision of agents based on renewable raw materials is an advantage of the present invention. It is therefore preferred to incorporate only those ingredients into the agents according to the invention which meet these criteria. If necessary, the use of synthetic preservatives may be indicated for legal reasons,” ​Henkel said.


WIPO Internatinoal Patent No. WO/2020/164769
Published on: August 20, 2020. Filed on: November 11, 2019.
Title: “Natural hair styling gel”
Inventor: Henkel – N. Koomann

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