Spreading Clean Beauty

Closed hair cuticle and the food-based ingredient trend to treat it

Issues related to a closed hair cuticle represent a multifaceted concern that necessitates a holistic approach for effective treatment. The cuticle refers to the outermost layer of the hair shaft, which serves as a protective barrier. Its damage involves a series of all-round symptoms that can range from dryness to hair breakage or dullness.

Current hair care trends are indeed aligned towards an integrative understanding of hair health and, among the top trends, are the ones looking to incorporate the nutritional value of certain food ingredients into hair care products and routines. 

In fact, for some time now, consumers have been aware of the impact of their diet on aspects such as skin and hair. For instance, research carried out by Mintel in 2021 found out 53% of people in Germany agree that hair appearance can be improved through dietary choices.

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As brands integrate this nutrition-based approach to hair care, closed hair cuticle issues can certainly benefit from transforming edible properties into hair care routines. 

What is a closed hair cuticle

The hair cuticle is the name used for the outermost layer of the hair shaft. It consists of a series of overlapping scales whose goal is to help protect the inner layers of the hair. 

When speaking about a closed hair cuticle, it means that the scales are lying flat and tightly sealed against each other. This is, in fact, indicative of healthy hair, as the closed hair cuticle helps lock in moisture, maintain shine, and prevent damage to the inner layers of the hair shaft. 

However, issues around the closed hair cuticle (that is, an open cuticle) mean hair is more susceptible to damage and moisture loss, which can result in a series of problems (such as dry, dull, and brittle hair).

At the same time, and while a closed hair cuticle is generally indicative of healthy hair, there are some potential issues associated with overly sealed cuticles. This is typically referred to as ‘low porosity’ hair, which can lead to: 

  • Prevent moisture from penetrating the hair shaft, leading to dryness, brittleness, and hair breakage
  • Make it difficult for hair to absorb beneficial hair care products and treatments
  • Trap heat, resulting in damage during the use of certain tools like flat or curling irons

Some strategies for issues related to a closed hair cuticle

  • Remove potential product buildup and residue that might be contributing to excessively closed cuticles and thus preventing moisture and nutrients from penetrating the hair shaft. 
  • Use products that offer a gentle scalp exfoliation
  • Focus on deep conditioning and deep moisturizing treatments. Argan oil, coconut oil as an scalp oil treatment or seaweed ingredients are great examples
  • Avoid harmful hair styling, such as flat or curling irons and blow dryers
  • Add cold water rinses to your hair care routine, which will help sealing the hair cuticle in a healthy way

The food-like ingredient trend and its impact on closed hair cuticle

As we’ve mentioned above, there’s an increasing awareness around the link between hair health and lifestyle habits, including dietary options. In such a context, consumers are looking for multi-functional benefits but also well-known ingredients. This has led to a surge in cosmetic and hair care products that incorporate food-like ingredients, from turmeric scrub to what are known as ‘superfoods’

The trend is straightforward: to apply the nutritional benefits of food ingredients to hair care. More specifically, this movement is gaining momentum as it collides with other hair care trends, such as the preference for ingredients with a natural origin and that are felt as safe and familiar by consumers.

At the same time, this movement relates to a shift in an understanding of beauty as inextricably linked to health and treatments that work “from the inside out” or “from the root”.

This ‘Food Beauty’ movement and all the coexisting trends we’ve just mentioned has direct implications for the development of successful closed hair cuticle treatments. 

Such is the case of Densinaria™, a hair care ingredient that acts on both the cuticle and the cortex, promoting hair health and long-term results. 

Based on an edible algae species called Palmaria palmata, this extract provides unique benefits related to the closed hair cuticle and beyond, including

  • Hair volume and strength boosted through an optimized enzyme-assisted extraction process
  • Strengthening action on the cuticle, thanks to reconstructive biomolecules
  • Prevention of split ends thanks to the film-forming effect of Palmaria palmata seaweed.
  • Hair fiber resistance from the inside out, enhanced with arginine
  • Reconstructive effect on hair fiber, similar to keratin. This is due to this ingredient’s rich contents in arginine, a key amino acid for hair health, able to repair the hair internally and reduce hair breakage.

With this ingredient, Provital paves the way for innovative, plant-based treatments that target healthy closed hair cuticles, and align with current consumer preferences for food-based hair care that targets root causes.

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