Research area: Physicochemical Behaviours of Hairs

Project overview

Modelling hydration, actives and microstructure to predict macroscopic physicochemical behaviours of hair

Over the years there has been considerable progress in understanding the structure and properties of hair. However, we still do not fully understand about the structure of hair and the penetration chemistry of actives in the hair.

Hydration of hair, for example, is a fundamental process. It governs swelling behaviour, structure, diffusion rates and mechanical properties of hair. Despite its importance, keratin water interactions (hydration) are poorly understood. This is particularly true for hydration along single hair fibres and across hairs from different body sites, genders, ethnicities and ages. Addressing these key knowledge gaps will allow us to unlock critical insights to enable innovation.

The technique used for this investigation is Inverse Liquid Chromatography (ILC). ILC is the inverse of a conventional liquid chromatographic technique where, a solvent and solute mixtures of known properties is in the mobile phase while the solid, stationary phase is the subject of investigation.

ILC technique has previously been used in research to determine isotherms and enthalpies with some experimental limitations (Ylä-Mäihäniemi, 2007). However, this technique has never been applied to understand solid liquid interactions in keratin fibres such as hair. Applying ILC to understand physicochemical properties of hair is, therefore, a novel approach.