Kao launches waterless dry shampoo sheet first developed for use in space

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

Kao Corporation has launched a pair of dry shampoos under hair care brand Merit. [Kao Corp / Merit]
Kao Corporation has launched a pair of dry shampoos under hair care brand Merit. [Kao Corp / Merit]

Related tags: waterless, Shampoo, Hair care, kao corp

Japanese personal care major Kao Corporation has launched a pair of dry shampoos under hair care brand Merit in response to the growing demand for dry shampoos that can be used on the go, including a shampoo sheet concept first developed for use in space.

The Day Plus Dry Shampoo was set for release on April 2 and will be available in two forms: a spray and a sheet. Both products were designed to be used on-the-go and without water.

The company developed these products in response to the increased awareness of hygiene which accelerated in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This can be observed in new habits like the increased frequency of handwashing, said Kao.

The company conducted a survey in May 2021 among 990 respondents, which included teenagers right up to consumers in their 50s.

The survey showed that more than 50% of the respondents said they felt ‘uncomfortable with the odour and stickiness of the skin and hair’​ during the day.

Furthermore, the firm has also observed that the market for dry shampoos has nearly doubled in the last two years.

Despite this, the penetration rate of dry shampoos is low, with the rate at about 30% for teenagers and around 10% to 20% for people aged 20s and above.

The shampoo sheet is imbued with a cleansing agent and has a perforated design to help with the cleansing as it is rubbed onto the scalp and hair. According to the firm, it can remove odour, stickiness, dust, pollen, and other fine particles.

On the other hand, the dry shampoo has a ‘sparkling’ carbonated effect that adds a refreshing effect. It is meant to be directly applied onto the scalp and wiped off with a towel.

Inspired by space exploration

The launch of the dry shampoos follows the development of Kao’s waterless space shampoo sheet​ which was selected by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to be used onboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2022.

This invention was designed to fit with the zero-gravity space environment on the ISS, where astronauts have previously used a shampoo that contains a very small amount of water.

Typically, because of the weightless environment, astronauts had to be careful to ensure none of the droplets of shampoo floated into the air. This made hair washing particularly difficult and it was difficult to achieve the same “pleasant feeling”​ from washing your hair.

Kao said the expertise gained from deploying these products in space would help inform the company of more Earth-bound applications.

For instance, Kao hoped that these products would be useful during times of disaster, hospital stays, and in countries and regions experiencing water shortages.

Water is a fundamental ingredient in cosmetics, with some formulations consisting of up to 90% of water.

However, with more concern of water scarcity, waterless cosmetics have positioned themselves as being better for the environment​. Waterless formulations also require less packaging and is lighter for transport, which is crucial in reducing carbon impact.

Related topics: Brand Innovation, Hair Care

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