The company says that prototype products featuring its 5-07070 Si Amino Elastomer Emulsion provide flexible hold alongside a soft natural feel for the next generation of products in this fast-evolving and growing category. So far prototype formulas created using the emulsion include styling mousse, curl enhancing cream and a jelly hair spray, which the company says represents just a few of the hair care products it can be used in. According to the company's hair care market specialist, Fiona Schuller, the formulation was developed to meet consumer needs "for a balance between a well-conditioned feel, flexibility, bounce back and memory hold." The formula is described as an all-in-one elastomeric and quarterary functional silicone, which also incorporates Glycidoxy, Dimethicon, Crosspolymer and Trideceth-12. This combination provides heat protection, hair strengthening, wet and dry combing and synergy with the many polymer-based styling agents that now pervade the hair care market, the company claims. With the launch of this ingredient the company is aiming to target continuing growth in the niche categories for increasingly functional hair care products such as styling and conditioning formulations. The launch is also backed up by another initiative by the company, unleashed this week to target the hair care category. Dow Corning's hair care product selection guide aims to help formulators find their way through the company's extensive range of hair care ingredients. The guide is in response to the increasing demands of the industry for products sporting more sophisticated and diverse claims, according to the company. It consists of a collection of tables containing lists of Dow Corning ingredients, each looking at a specific application - shampoo, rinse conditioner, leave-in conditioner, styling, and colorant product. The service aims to provide solutions to a number of hair care areas that are particularly important in the current industry climate. These include color protection, hair strengthening, lightweight conditioning, flexible styling and ethnic hair care. A recent report by Mintel highlighted that it was increasingly functional conditioners that are driving growth in the US market for shampoos and conditioners, while increasingly functional styling products have also triggered niche growth. The market is currently estimated to be growing at approximately 2 percent per annum, driven almost entirely by niche hair care products such as styling agents and conditioners as growth in the saturated shampoo segment is practically negligible.