How to measure and analyse the texture of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Using Texture Analysis in the Competitive world of Haircare development

Human hair and skin become soiled due to its contact with the surrounding environment and from the sebum secreted by the scalp. 

The soiling of hair and skin causes it to have a dirty feel and an unattractive appearance.  Shampooing cleans the hair by removing excess soil and sebum. However, shampooing can leave the hair in a wet, tangled, and generally unmanageable state. Once the hair dries, it is often left in a dry, rough, lustreless, or frizzy condition due to removal of the hair's natural oils. 

A variety of approaches have been developed to alleviate these after-shampoo problems. One approach is the application of hair shampoos which attempt to both cleanse and condition the hair from a single product. 

In order to provide hair conditioning benefits in a cleansing shampoo base, a wide variety of conditioning actives have been proposed. However, including active levels of conditioning agents in shampoos may result in rheology and stability issues, creating consumer trade-offs in cleaning, lather profiles, and weigh-down effects.

The invention presented in a patent application filed by Proctor & Gamble recently is directed to the method of cleaning and treating hair with a personal care composition that contains a combination of (a) anti-dandruff actives, and (b) conditioning actives selected from the group comprising metathesized unsaturated polyol esters, sucrose polyesters, fatty esters having a molecular weight of 1500 or higher. These conditioning actives are used in a pre-emulsion form having particle size of from about 20 nanometers to 20 microns, in an embodiment from about 0.1-15 μm to significantly improve the stability and hair conditioning benefits of hair care compositions as well as hair volume benefit without negatively affecting the deposition of the anti-dandruff active on scalp.


Combing hairConsumers may desire fullness of hair which is associated with hair volume. Without being bound by theory, one of the mechanisms by which hair volume is achieved is by increasing hair fibre to fibre friction. However, if this friction is too high, compatibility may be negatively affected. Therefore, the present invention provides both a volume benefit as well as good compatibility.

The inter-fibre friction method emulates the motion of rubbing hair between the thumb and index finger in an up and down direction. The method evaluates the hair to hair interaction of dried hair switches, determining the hair static friction, which is a key component of with hair volume. The hair switches consist of moderately bleached Caucasian hair fibres, weigh 4g and have a length of 8 inches with a configuration of round pony tail. The switches are treated with shampoo as described above (Section B) and air dried for 24 hours. A TA-XTplus Texture Analyser or equivalent piece of equipment is used for the evaluation. 


The switch, after combing 5 times to remove tangles, is sandwiched between two plates with polyurethane skin surrogate substrate surfaces (skin flex paint, supplied by Burman Industries) under pressure of 40 psi. The plates are allowed to move up and down with a speed of 10 mm/s and a distance of each cycle of 200 mm for 5 cycles. Each of the peak forces for the 5 cycles are averaged to calculate Peak Sum which represents the static friction of hair. The static force correlates with consumer's hair volume. Therefore, the higher the static force the larger the hair volume. The measurement is repeated for each hair switch.

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Meanwhile, L’Oreal have recently filed a patent which uses their TA.XTplus for hair product testing for their new ‘Hair styling compositions comprising latex polymers and wax dispersions’.

Hair Combing Rig
Hair Combing Rig
In the area of hair care, hair styling products which contain one or more polymers can be used to impart shape or style to the hair and/or to help maintain a particular hair style. The goals of many hair styling compositions include to hold or fix the hair in a particular shape, to impart or increase volume of the hair, and/or to smooth the hair, e.g. to decrease or eliminate the appearance of frizz. 

However, the type and/or amounts of such polymers can pose a challenge with respect to optimising the benefits that can be obtained from the polymers themselves. Thus, there still exists a need to improve how ingredients such as, polymers, resins and oils can be formulated into various galenic forms, and at the same time, optimise the benefits derived from these ingredients and enhance the performance of other ingredients.

Drawbacks associated with current products for styling the hair include that the product is often sticky or tacky and/or often produces a film that imparts a sticky or tacky feel, and styled hair that is stiff and/or “crunchy” (i.e. the film is hard and brittle resulting in a crunching feel or sound when the hair is touched), which is undesirable for most consumers. The Texture Analyser was used with a cantilever bending fixture to quantify the force of deformation of a tress and the percent change in the maximum force of the hair bending before and after ‘crunching’ the tress.


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Make sure your new haircare product goes straight to the top of the class. Developing and marketing your new product is a real challenge in today’s ultra-competitive haircare market. But, with the expertise of Stable Micro Systems and the capability of the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser on your team, it’s a challenge you can take on with confidence. 


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We can design and manufacture probes or fixtures for the TA.XTplus texture analyser that are bespoke to your sample and its specific measurement.

Once your measurement is performed, our expertise in its graphical interpretation is unparalleled. Not only can we develop the most suitable and accurate method for the testing of your sample, but we can also prepare analysis procedures that obtain the desired parameters from your curve and drop them into a spreadsheet or report designed around your requirements.

For more information on how to measure texture, please visit the Texture Analysis Properties section on our website.

TA.XTplus texture analyser with bloom jar The
TA.XTplus texture analyser is part of a family of texture analysis instruments and equipment from Stable Micro Systems. An extensive portfolio of specialist attachments is available to measure and analyse the textural properties of a huge range of food products. Our technical experts can also custom design instrument fixtures according to individual specifications.

No-one understands texture analysis like we do!


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Watch our video about testing of hair and hair productsDownload a published article covering methods for the testing of hair and hair products

Browse our range of hair and hair product testing solutions

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