Spreading Clean Beauty

What is non-polar hydrophobic nature and how to increase it to improve hair health

Over the past few years, the hair and its non-polar hydrophobic nature has received increasing attention in the field of capillary health.

This is partly thanks to a more advanced knowledge of its function, but is also a reflection of a current trend that focuses on a holistic approach and the overall well-being of hair care.

Claims around ‘hair health’ are one of the main drives for premium products today, opening the door to new opportunities for innovation. Perhaps one of the most obvious examples of this is the focus on scalp health and hydration. As a result, in all beauty and personal care categories, hair health treatments have experienced the most significant year-on-year price increase.

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Several decades ago, expectations of hair products were limited to cleansing and conditioning the hair. Today, protection against damage caused by external factors is crucial, that is why the non-polar hydrophobic character of hair is at the heart of this paradigm shift.

In short, hydrophobicity is in many cases synonymous with healthier and stronger hair. Therefore, improving the non-polar hydrophobic character of hair is a way to protect and strengthen it in a natural and effective way. Here’s how.

What are non-polar hydrophobic substances?

Hydrophobicity is a physical characteristic present in some substances that allows them to repel water. Non-polar hydrophobic substances usually react by clumping together and pulling away from water. This is because the structure of their molecules is incompatible with water molecules.

Hydrophobicity is present in a multitude of non-polar organic molecules including lipids, waxes and oils, which can repel water and prevent the formation of moisture layers.

It can be said that hair is naturally hydrophobic, since its surface is covered by a thin layer of lipids and proteins that act as a barrier. However, this balance may differ from person to person, or may be affected by environmental factors or the use of inappropriate treatments and care products.

In any case, the non-polar hydrophobic character of hair has a direct impact in the following areas:

  • Protection against humidity, as hair that absorbs too much water can weaken and become prone to breakage and brittleness.
  • Frizz reduction, resulting in smoother and more controlled hair.
  • Enhances structural integrity and protects against mechanical damage (such as brushing and combing).
  • Increases shine and retention of colour treatments.

Non-polar hydrophobic substances and hair health

As we have just seen, the non-polar hydrophobic nature of hair has a direct relationship with capillary health. However, to understand this, it is essential to learn about some basic aspects of hair structure.

In this case, the crucial role of the hair cuticle, the outermost layer of the hair, stands out, as this is where lipids capable of enhancing hydrophobicity are mainly found, such as the lipid 18-MEA, a key lipid in the hair cuticle.

Lipids are responsible for forming a protective barrier in the hair, retaining moisture and preventing water loss. Therefore, the more lipids present, the more effective this barrier is, resulting in better hydrated, stronger and more attractive hair.

It is a circular process, as having a good protective hair barrier enhances the non-polar hydrophobic character of the hair. In other words, a balanced lipid level in the hair implies a well-hydrated hair, which results in a surface that is less permeable to water.

A well-hydrated surface is therefore naturally hydrophobic, hence the importance of balancing and replenishing the lipid layer in order to enhance its non-polar hydrophobic nature.

Rosehip to recover the non-polar hydrophobic nature of hair

At Provital we promote hair health through natural active ingredients where sustainability is a priority.

It is from this perspective that we present Sealrose™, a hair health active ingredient based on rosehip that targets the recovery of the hair’s lipid layer.

Rosehip is a plant widely known as a superfood for its numerous benefits and high content of compounds such as carotenoids, proteins, polyphenols and vitamins. Research has shown that it can be effective in hair care, especially in restoring moisture and repairing damaged hair, thanks to its active compounds containing potent antioxidant properties.

Sealrose™ compensates and restructures the lipid layer, promoting both hydration and hydrophobicity, making it a key ally for repairing dry or damaged hair. This natural active ingredient has shown ex vivo efficacy in restoring the hair’s lipid layer to healthy levels after one application, an effect that lasts even after hair rinsing.

This ingredient repairs, protects and improves the overall appearance of the hair, and is therefore a key ingredient for multifunctional products.

A 100% natural and COSMOS-approved product that combines nature and beauty to improve the condition of healthy hair and its overall appearance.

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