Earlier this year, personal care product company TRI-K launched EssentiaTein Protect, a novel anti-pollution hair care protein ingredient for product formulation. Utilizing sustainable ingredients, EssentiaTein Protect was designed to support consumers in protecting the hair strand from damage caused by environmental pollution and provide multiple benefits, including “protecting hair's cuticle from UV rays, locking-in hydration, and enhancing shine,” as detailed on the company’s website.
To learn more about the formulation and development process for EssentiaTein Protect, challenges that needed to be addressed to bring the ingredient to launch, and how the benefits of EssentiaTein Protect compare to other anti-pollution hair care ingredients already available for product formulation, CosmeticsDesign spoke with Victor Low, Business Manager at TRI-K for his insights.
Utilizing market research to inform the development process
As the “biggest launch of 2023, EssentiaTein Protect is the result of extensive market research,” shared Low. The concept for the ingredient’s development was built on the understanding and recognition that “today's consumers expect advanced haircare formulations that provide multifunctional benefits,” he said.
Through the team’s market research efforts, which were used to better inform the development process, the TRI-K team "identified the growing phenomenon of ‘skinification’ in hair care, where advanced formulations inspired by skin care are being embraced to meet these evolving demands and identify the specific needs and desires of individuals seeking effective anti-pollution hair care solutions,” Low explained.
Through the lens of the ‘skinification’ of hair care, the research and development team thus turned their focus to creating a hair care ingredient that would address “the challenges posed by environmental factors and pollution while delivering comprehensive care for the hair,” he stated.
Formulation & overcoming challenges to launch
It took TRI-K researchers over eighteen months to design, develop, and deliver EssentiaTein Protect, Low said. As the inaugural product in the EssentiaTein line, it was essential that the product’s efficacy was of the highest quality, and the development process relied heavily on TRI-K’s expertise “in proteins and plant-based peptides,” utilizing the team’s knowledge to “to create a proprietary hydrolysis process,” he explained.
Ultimately, “this unique manufacturing process, combined with our expertise, allowed us to develop a novel anti-pollution haircare protein” that “goes beyond conventional haircare solutions by providing comprehensive protection against pollution-related damage,” said Low.
EssentiaTein Protect works by forming “a cationically charged film on individual hair strands, enriched with cationic amino acids like arginine and lysine,” which “acts as a physical barrier, effectively repelling cationic pollutants such as aluminum and calcium particles,” he further explained. Additionally, to prove the ingredient’s efficacy, “our research has demonstrated its ability to repair hair damaged by 96 hours of UV exposure, improving moisturization and overall shine,” he shared.
Delivering EssentiaTein to market was no easy task, and the TRI-K research and development team did overcome challenges to successfully launch the ingredient for end-user hair care product formulation. Shared Low, “the TRI-K research and development team faced a significant challenge in developing a manufacturing process that could yield a truly unique protein product within our EssentiaTein line.”
To overcome this challenge, the TRI-K researchers developed a “proprietary hydrolysis process for EssentiaTein Protect, which ensures that the hair care benefits we have researched cannot be easily replicated by combining individual hydrolyzed proteins,” he said. Further, he added, “this exclusive formulation sets EssentiaTein Protect apart as a truly novel and exceptional solution.”
‘Standing in a league of its own’
In addition to being the first product in the EssentaTein line, EssentiaTein Protect also “stands in a league of its own,” said Low, because “while protein manufacturers can combine individual hydrolyzed proteins, our proprietary formulation and manufacturing process deliver unmatched performance and benefits specifically tailored for anti-pollution hair care.”
Additionally, the ingredient features a “unique blend of sustainable ingredients, including Rice, Baobab, and Amaranth extracts, which,” he explained, “sets EssentiaTein Protect apart from any other product in the market,” as it is both a sustainable and effective option for manufacturers seeking to formulate hair care products to address pollution damage to the hair strand.
Moving forward, EssentiaTein Protect “is just the beginning, as it is the flagship product within our EssentiaTein line,” Low shared. The TRI-K research and development team has extensive and “exciting plans to expand our product range, providing a comprehensive approach to hair care, skin care, and more,” he concluded.