Henkel scientists develop novel method to assess hair condition

By Andrew MCDOUGALL contact

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Henkel scientists develop novel method to assess hair condition

Related tags: Keratin

A team of scientists from Henkel, in collaboration with the University of Manchester, have developed a novel method to study various types of hair damage related to different chemical treatments, based on the movement pattern of hair tresses.

Lead author Erik Schulze zur Wiesche from the German manufacturer presented the findings at the IFSCC conference in Zurich, explaining that the perception of the beauty of hair is largely influenced by the way it moves in a dynamic environment as part of a hairstyle.

Schulze says that the age of the hair, along with the impact of chemical treatments can influence the way that human hair moves significantly.

He says the quality of the overall hair structure is reflected in how elastic and smooth swinging it is, and thus these characteristics are strongly related to the structure and state of the keratin proteins of the individual hairs.


Along with Henkel’s Natalia Focht and Franz-Josef Wortmann from the University of Manchester, Schulze zur Wiesche set about investigating the relationship between the structural integrity of the hair fibres and the movement characteristics of hair strands for the driving factors, frequency and amplitude of movement.

They also looked at the influence of chemical treatments such as oxidative bleaching and hair relaxing on the movement characteristics are to be quantified.

To do this, the team developed a novel method by means of an automatic back-and-forth-hair-movement-device and used it to analyse the swinging characteristics of standardized hair strands, recorded by a high-speed camera (1000 frames/second).

These images were studied for different driving amplitudes and frequencies to determine different hair qualities.

Their results show that hair greying, as well as of chemical treatments such as bleaching, perming and relaxing, all have significant effects on the movement characteristics of hair.

Damping factor and time-lag also decrease with the increasing degree of hair damage. The most appropriate settings for the test in the context of the analytical development are discussed.

“With this novel method, effects of various types of hair damage, related to intrinsic ageing and different chemical treatments, on the movement pattern of hair tresses have been studied systematically and quantitatively for the first time,”​ says Schulze zur Wiesche.

“Significant relations between the degree of hair damage and the movement characteristics of human hair tresses have been determined.”

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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