Hair thermal protection

Hi All!

I have been researching hair thermal protection sprays recently but I don’t understand whether they work at all.

The majority of these products are water-based with some conditioners such as cetrimonium chloride, water-soluble silicones (PEG-8 Dimethicone or Amodimethicone emulsions), film formers (VP/VA or PVP), Propylene Glycol and some proteins for claims.

There are also emulsions (less common) with dimethicone as a 2-3rd ingredient in the list, BTMS or behetrimonium chloride and maybe some non-ionic blends. Plus some humectants and proteins for claims.

I can imagine the emulsion high on dimethicone probably create a film which serves as a thermal protectant, but do these water-based sprays do anything?

Appreciate any input.


Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    I suppose I should recreate my Facebook answer here...

    The challenge in your question is in quantifying damage. To say "reduce damage caused by heat" you'd have to be able to quantify that damage. The studies I've seen aren't able to quantify it. Take this example. https://www.dropbox.com/.../heat-damage-to-hair.pdf... While they had some nice SEM pictures and pointed out damage, they didn't show a quantitative measure of heat damage. So from a blow dryer standpoint, there isn't much heat damage.

    This study looked more specifically at heat treatments and the effect of a flat iron. They conclude that some polymer treatments provide protection, https://www.dropbox.com/.../hair-heat-flat-iron.pdf... most notably from hair breakage. But from my reading the reduction in breakage could just have been coming from the polymer coating and the heat wasn't relevant. Hair could have been damaged by heat but the polymer resisted hair breakage because of the coating. 

    All this is to say, it's complicated. They may just be conditioners that provide conditioning benefits and have no noticeable protection of the fiber from heat.
  • Inspired by this conversation I made my own version of "heat protectant" yesterday:

    Phase INCI %
    W Aqua 67.8%
    W Disodium EDTA 0.5%
    W PVP 0.5%
    W VP/VA copolymer 1.0%
    W Amodimethicone (emulsion) 1.0%
    W Propylene Glycol 5.0%
    W Polyquaternium 7 0.5%
    O Cetyl Alcohol 2.0%
    O Ceteareth 25 3.0%
    O IPM 3.0%
    O Behetrimonium Chloride 4.0%
    O Dimethicone (viscosity 1000) 5.0%
    Cool down Amodimethicone 1.0%
    Cool down Cetrimonium Chloride (30%) 2.0%
    Cool down Germaben II 0.7%
    Cool down Cyclomethicone 3.0%
    Cool down Citric acid qs to pH 4.5

    It might not provide any real heat protection but it is a very light and nice styling product to be used with flat iron (my hair look amazing today yay!). It's a low viscosity emulsion easy to apply. I will attempt to do some stability testing and share here if there are any issues.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    Heat protection is marketing speak for conditioning the hair and this looks like it will do that. 

    Is this a leave-in or rinse out?

    If it's a leave in the Cetrimonium chloride can be a problem as might the behentrimoium chloride.

    If it's a rinse out, the PVP and VP/VA copolymers will likely just rinse down your drain. 
  • I actually intended it as a leave-in, thus film formers. I noticed that many leave-in products include cetrimomium chloride (example https://incidecoder.com/products/tresemme-heat-defence-styling-spray)

    I saw benetrimonium in a couple of styling products as well (plus some non-ionic emulsifiers) but can't find it now.
    Are these always a problem or it's a matter of concentration?
  • Found! 

    John Frieda Frizz Ease Miraculous Recovery Repairing Creme Serum for Dry and Damaged Frizzy Hair

    Aqua, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Stearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Laureth-4, Laureth-23, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Quaternium-91, Cetrimonium Methosulfate, Behentrimonium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Cetrimonium Chloride, Parfum, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene

    looks like less than 1%. I probably have it too high..
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    edited May 14
    Yes, you have 0.6% active cetrimonium chloride where the CIR safety recommendation is 0.25% maximum for leave-in products.

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/36lf0xpi5x9ts33/cetrimonium-chloride copy.pdf?dl=0

  • GuntherGunther Member
    Inspired by this conversation I made my own version of "heat protectant" yesterday:

    Phase INCI %
    W Aqua 67.8%
    W Disodium EDTA 0.5%
    W PVP 0.5%
    W VP/VA copolymer 1.0%
    W Amodimethicone (emulsion) 1.0%
    W Propylene Glycol 5.0%
    W Polyquaternium 7 0.5%
    O Cetyl Alcohol 2.0%
    O Ceteareth 25 3.0%
    O IPM 3.0%
    O Behetrimonium Chloride 4.0%
    O Dimethicone (viscosity 1000) 5.0%
    Cool down Amodimethicone 1.0%
    Cool down Cetrimonium Chloride (30%) 2.0%
    Cool down Germaben II 0.7%
    Cool down Cyclomethicone 3.0%
    Cool down Citric acid qs to pH 4.5

    It might not provide any real heat protection but it is a very light and nice styling product to be used with flat iron (my hair look amazing today yay!). It's a low viscosity emulsion easy to apply. I will attempt to do some stability testing and share here if there are any issues.

    Interesting.
    However, can propylene glycol catch fire?
    Flat irons temps do get to its flash point:
    https://monumentchemical.com/uploads/files/TDS/PG - TDS.pdf

    Also, the study says that PVP provides no heat protection, but VP/VA polymers do.
  • ngarayeva001ngarayeva001 Member
    edited May 15
    I guess it's quite diluted at 5% and shouldn't be as flamable... I will reseach it.
  • FekherFekher Member, Professional Chemist
    @ngarayeva001 intersting product ☺.
  • It's actually not bad, but I will have to reformulate it to address Perry's comments. I have too much of cetrimonium indeed.
  • An update, the formula didn't pass the stability (I froze it and placed it to a warm environment). I am going to replace behentrimonium chloride to arlacel 165 and see what happens. 
  • WillWill Member
    @ngarayeva001 thanks for continuing this very interesting discussion. I am about to open a blow dry express business here with its own cosmetics line. That is why I started the previous discussion.

    About heat protection. After reading @Perry 's articles, I still stick with the opinion that the protection comes more from making the keratin fibers more flexible, while the polymer seal the keratin scales, making the hair more resistant to heat and mechanical stress. As opposed to offering some heat protection per se. I would only believe in heat protection if there was something like 5% Asbestos in the formula. And if there was something like that then it would defeat its purpose, and hair straightening wouldn't be achieved, because the strengthening comes exactly from the denaturing of the protein fibers through heat. Just like with other more permanent methods that use Guanidine or even Formaldehyde like in the Brazilian Blowout. It is all about protein denaturing.

    About your formulation, I see that you got both oil and aqueous phases. The formulation I shared before was only aqueous. I recently ran into a product that had so many oils (coconut, argan, jojoba). The hairdresser explained to me that she used this "oily" one for more thick and curly/afro hair types, which required more flat iron passings. Then she showed me another one which was only aqueous (more like my formula), and she told me that was for straight and thin hair types, to get a bit more voluminous/velvety finish.

    I really like to hear what the hair professionals have to say in their own simple words. I find it so rich in information. After all we are developing formulas for them and their clients. After MS, PhD and 3 yrs of Post Doc, lots of peer reviewed papers published (in medical biochemistry, nothing to do with cosmetics).. nowadays I rather listen to barbers and hairdressers while thinking of a formulation, than reading those fancy articles with lots of high-tech data they cannot make sense of it, and end up throwing inconclusive speculations at the end. Unless their research is funded by a private corporation, then at end they say whatever they want to hear.
  • ngarayeva001ngarayeva001 Member
    edited May 30
    This is very interesting analysis, @Will. I guess making hair more flexible means more humectants as well (PG?). Good luck with your business.

    I try to stick to the scientific information however I noticed that sometimes certain ingredients work although there is not much scientific back up. I am sure professionals would say it's placebo or anecdotal evidence.

    I have extremely thick wavy (type 2C or maybe 3A I think) hair. I gave up and did keratin straightening, which basically means severely damaging hair. I still use flat iron (but it takes me 15 minutes instead of an hour) and the thing that works for me is a simple mix of Dimethicone and Cyclomethicone (20:80). I would be happy to add something to decrease heat damage but I can't access the materials mentioned by Belinda.
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