Shampoos basically contain surfactants, foaming agents, conditioners, thickeners, opacifiers, softeners, sequestering agents, fragrances, preservatives and specialty additives. Surfactants are the primary sebum and dirt removal shampoo components; however, excessive removal of sebum leaves the hair dull, susceptible to static electricity and difficult to comb. Furthermore, consumers equate cleansing ability with abundant, long lasting foam. Excessive bubbles are not a technical requirement for good hair cleansing and bacteria removal, but shampoo manufacturers add increasing amount of surfactants, in addition to foam boosters to obtain the foam that desired by consumers. This creates the need for conditioners and other additives in shampoos to improve their cosmetic acceptability.
Shampoos function by employing surfactants (also known as detergents) that are both lipophilic (oil loving) and hydrophilic (water loving). The lipophilic component adheres to the sebum and the hydrophilic component allows water to rinse away the sebum and debris.
The surfactants widely used today can be divided into four groups according to their electric polarity.
In cosmetic sciences two types of technologies are always under consideration; delivery of cosmetic actives on the site in intact form via a carrier, and new and improved cosmetic raw materials to accentuate the finished product both practically and aesthetically.
Recent breakthroughs in surfactant science have led to the encapsulation of active ingredients. Much of the encapsulation research today involves the study of substances called polymers. Gel like materials that are being used to surround actives for later release after penetration of the stratum. The polymeric membrane attaches itself to the mildly charged negative hair and helps the sustained release mechanism that moves onto the diffusion path of the hair. These spheres are suitable for time released skin and hair additives.
Also worth mentioning is the inclusion of sunscreens in products for added protection against color-fade. Helianthus Annus (sunflower extract) contained in all Structural Balance products is an herbal extract that acts as a hair color stabilizer by neutralizing the oxidative radicals, generated with daily UV exposure and slowing down the oxidation of hair dyes. The result is more vibrant, longer lasting color.
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