During the In-Cosmetics Global conference in Barcelona earlier this year, Brazilian chemical manufacturer Chemyunion launched one of its latest innovations in the ingredients space: Polluout Detox. This hair care ingredient is formulated to address ‘silent damage’ or hidden damage to the hair follicle and shaft, which can be caused by a wide variety of environmental pollutants that are often disregarded by consumers seeking to improve hair’s quality and appearance.
To learn more about the formulation and development process of Polluout Detox, its potential impact on personal care product manufacturers seeking to improve the efficacy of their end-stage hair care product formulations, and the ways in which the ingredient improves the hair care process, we interviewed Henrique Marconi, Hair Care Product Marketing Coordinator at Chemyunion for his insights.
The formulation and development process
When approaching the formulation and development process for Polluout Detox, the Chemyunion team first analyzed the consumer demand to assess the best possible ingredient design to meet the needs of the end-user. “As an evolution of hair care,” Marconi explained, “scalp skinification embraces health from the root by increasing consumer conscience and education about hair follicles and their conditions.”
Therefore, when focusing on creating the Polluout Detox formulation, the research and development team utilized “data obtained from monitoring social media, which showed that people are more aware of the benefits of skin care when it comes to the scalp, focusing on hydration, relief, or detoxification (the core application of Polluout Detox),” he shared.
The formulation stage was not without its difficulties, however. “Creating a product that offers hair and scalp detoxification is already a great challenge,” Marconi said, and “seeking this benefit through 100% natural and biodegradable ingredients increases this challenge even more.” To solve these issues, the research team, “driven by sustainable practices and in line with consumer desires, synthesized sodium polyitaconate, a green polymer associated with sodium citrate and Sapindus mukorossi extract,” he explained.
“Each ingredient was tested separately and then in synergy so that the result came beyond the obvious,” he added, producing the end-result formulation.
How Polluout Detox works
Polluout Detox works by causing “a synergistic action between the ingredients, acting in three simultaneous steps to promote cleaning and recovery of the hair fiber and scalp, by eliminating or reducing impurities that can cause damage and providing health and well-being, from root to tip,” Marconi explained.
In the first step, “chelation-induced complexation of metals on the surface of the hair fiber, as promoted by the polydentate polymer, sodium polyitaconate,” he said. “In this capillary region, metals form complexes with the sulfonate groups arising from the breaking of the 18-MEA group thioester bond by oxidative processes, such as discoloration or exposure to UV radiation,” he further explained.
Because “oxidized metals are found in the cuticle in the form of sulfonate groups complexes, Polluout Detox can facilitate their removal and prevent cuticular oxidative damage.”
In the second step, “the metals in the innermost part of the fiber form complexes with the amino, hydroxyl, and carboxylate groups of the keratin polypeptide chains,” said Marconi. Polluout Detox’s composition therefore includes low molecular weight compound sodium citrate, which can “act on the innermost layers of the hair fiber, thus removing metals forming a complex with the carboxylate groups of citrates and prevent oxidative damage in keratin,” he explained.
In the third and final step, the sapindus mukorossi extract part of Polluout Detox’s formulation contains “a complex mixture of saponins that act as emulsifiers, having a hydrophilic part represented by glycosides, rich in hydroxyls, and a hydrophobic part represented by triterpene structure.”
As explained by Marconi, this structure promotes scalp cleansing and removes excellent oil from the hair, as well as “particulate material deposited through emulsification, where surfactant molecules are adsorbed at the sebum-water or particulate material-water interface.”
This is important to the ingredient’s efficacy because “surfactant molecules are adsorbed at the sebum-water or particulate material-water interface, reducing solid-liquid or liquid-liquid interface tension, which emulsifies sebum or particulate matter that is removed from the substrate (hair fiber or scalp surface),” he concluded.
Formulating end-stage products with Polluout Detox
The strength of Polluout Detox reportedly lies in its ability to target ‘silent damage’ which is reflected in the hair’s overall health and quality. Damage like breakage, opacity, or flaking are apparent visual signs of damage and can be caused by a variety of impurities including “copper and iron from old metal pipes in the water supply system, calcium and magnesium salts in high concentrations in hard water composition, copper present in algaecides used in swimming pools, and particulates containing metals and other chemical elements from air pollution,” Marconi said.
Regular use of a shampoo treatment containing two percent Polluout Detox can therefore offer the consumer multiple benefits to resolve ‘silent damage,’ including “removal of the greenish effect on the hair from exposure to pool water, maintenance of the hair's natural shine, better efficiency in the deposition of oxidative dyes, improvement in the efficiency of hair treatments, stronger and more resistant hair, improved hair cleanliness, removing pollution particles, and scalp soothing action,” he said.
For manufacturers and suppliers of cosmetic and personal care products like shampoos and conditioners, Marconi recommends adding Polluout Detox to products with anionic or non-ionic bases due to the ingredient’s anionic polymer composition. For its launch at In-Cosmetics Global earlier this year, Chemyunion took the formulation one step further and “created a dry shampoo that, in addition to immediately removing oiliness, leaves the active ingredient ready to act as soon as the consumer washes their hair with their conventional shampoo,” he said.
In this way, the company is working to “innovate in dry shampoos, but also to allow the improvement of other treatments used in synergy,” he concluded.