Study on hair surface condition

Source: Syda Productions –

The hair surface condition underlies many visually perceived attributes such as shine, colour, and the 3D perception of a curly hair style. Many factors can alter the hair surface, such as cumulated cleansing/styling regimens or chemical treatments, which can lead to degradation of the cuticle edges and surface. Similarly, pollutants, sebum, and shampoo / conditioners can build up on the hair surface which are also perceivable to an observer.

The highly directive light of a laser is reflected and scattered by the surface of hair fibres into a circular pattern. The angular and spatial characteristics of this pattern reflect the hair geometry and the quality of the hair surface, i.e. the outer cuticle layer. Dark flat hair tresses were used to measure the impact of artificial sebum and shampoo / conditioner regimens on the cuticle surfaces. Also, longer single hair fibers from 4 volunteers were characterized for their surface changes from roots to tips, i.e. over the chronological age of the hair.

Laser scattering shows clear changes

The laser scattering shows clear changes in specular reflection characteristics from treatments and allows for the extraction of the cuticle inclination angle with respect to the hair axis. Deep cleansing or clarifying shampoos do partially restore the cuticle angle by removing residues on the hair surface while more conditioning systems can lead to changes in specular reflection angle and scattering, especially when multiple cycles of shampoo and conditioner treatments. Lastly, changes in hair surface can be traced over time of hair age by this approach and are consistent with frequency and nature of hair treatments.

The method shows great potential for characterising cleansing regimens in terms of their impact on the hair surface, either as single or multiple washes. Coverage or damage to the hair cuticles appears readily as an angle shift of the specular reflection while the quality of the surface topology has a direct impact on the angular width of the specular reflection thus affecting the shine band on a person’s head. Hair aging from root to tip can be quantified by laser scattering and correlates well with treatment events in time.

The review has been published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.


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