Spreading Clean Beauty

Lipid layer: what it is, its function and how to take care of it

The care of the lipid layer of the hair cuticle stands at the heart of trends related to cosmetic concepts, such as ‘barrier care’, to be applied to a holistic view of hair care.

In short, the lipid layer is defined as the natural barrier, composed mainly of lipids, which plays a crucial role in protecting the hair. Some of its key functions are preventing moisture loss by forming a film covering the cuticle, nourishing and shining the hair. Keeping the lipid layer intact is, therefore, essential for strong and healthy hair.

Nowadays, consumers are becoming more and more informed not only about the cosmetic products they use, but also about the essentials for healthy and strong hair. In this sense, concepts such as lipid layer care are welcome as a claim, suggesting products for a new type of consumer and more demanding, who is looking for more than just cleansing or moisturising.

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In addition to these trends, there is a growing awareness regarding the harmful effects of factors such as air pollution, sun exposure or certain hair treatments. Therefore, lipid layer care solutions provide a protective barrier that promotes healthy hair in both short and long term.

Lipid layer: what is it?

The concept of the lipid layer refers to a type of fundamental biological structure found in cells that is essential for their structural integrity. Composed mainly of lipids, it provides a semi-permeable barrier that regulates the passage of molecules.

Specifically in the field of hair care, the lipid layer is located in the hair cuticle, forming a thin layer of lipids that coats the outer surface of the hair. These lipids are composed of fatty acids, ceramides and cholesterol, among others, all of which are released by the sebaceous glands of the scalp. One example is the lipid 18-MEA, one of the key lipids found in the cuticle.

This lipid layer is responsible for key processes in the hair’s health, by regulating its hydration and protecting its structure against external damage. This is how it works:

  • On the one hand, the lipid layer is responsible for sealing the cuticle scales, thereby improving moisture retention and reducing water loss.
  • On the other hand, this sealing provides protection against external factors. 

A well-regulated lipid layer has a direct impact on the softness and shine of the hair. Therefore, frequent washing, excessive use of styling products and exposure to harmful environmental conditions can cause hair to lose its natural lipid layer, resulting in dry, dull hair and making it more prone to further damage.

The role of the lipid layer in improving hair health

  • Moisture retention: the lipid layer is responsible for sealing the hair cuticle, minimising moisture loss and maintaining balance.
  • Hydrophobicity: lipids are also essential in providing the hair with the ability to repel water and reduce its absorption, given that too much moisture has also negative consequences, such as frizzy or shapeless hair.
  • Protection against harmful agents: The lipid layer is also key to protection against factors like sun exposure, heat, chemicals or harmful treatments such as mechanical abrasion.

A damaged lipid layer may be the cause of dry, dull hair, as well as hair that is prone to breakage and split ends.

Sealrose™ and the care of the hair lipid layer

At Provital, as providers of comprehensive hair care solutions based on cutting-edge natural ingredients, we have developed Sealrose™, an active ingredient capable of restoring the lipid layer of the cuticle.

This ingredient is obtained from rosehip and its potential relies on the multiple benefits of this widely known plant. High in compounds such as carotenoids, proteins, polyphenols and vitamins, it provides powerful antioxidant properties that help to reinforce cuticle hydration, provide protection against potential damage and enhance the overall appearance of a healthy hair.

More specifically, the highly restorative and protective power of Sealrose™ relies on its ability to act directly on the repair and recovery of the lipid layer.

This hair repair has shown convincing results in ex vivo studies, with the capacity to restore damaged hair by 72% in a single application compared to a placebo serum.

Sealrose™, therefore, stands as an essential ally of natural origin to enhance the hydrophobicity of hair, but also in the overall improvement of the capillary fibre and structure. Furthermore, studies have shown that its effect lasts even after rinsing, keeping a 65% recovery rate and therefore having a key impact on hair health in the medium and long term.

Sealrose™, COSMOS-approved and 100% natural origin (ISO 16128), is a breakthrough in hair care that addresses the restructuring of the lipid layer by combining nature and beauty to improve the overall appearance of the hair.

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