Today we’re going to take a look at a hair gel. This is one of the best selling formulas in the category and may even be worth using as a benchmark for your future hair gel formulation efforts. Also, this formula is pretty typical of hair gels so it should make for a descriptive analysis.
Let’s take a look at Aussie Sydney Smooth Tizz No-Frizz Gel
LOI – Aussie Tizz No Frizz Gel
Water, Laureth 23, PVP, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract (Guava Extract), Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis (Eyebright) Extract, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Benzyl Alcohol, DMDM Hydantoin, Polyquaternium 4, Disodium EDTA
Real Ingredient Order
The first step in dissecting an ingredient list is to figure out where the 1% line is. This helps give an indication to which ingredients are crucially important. And it can let you get a rough guess as to the amount of each raw material used.
Like most gels, this product is primarily water. Laureth 23 is high up in the list as is the styling polymer PVP. The first obvious claims ingredient is Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract. This most certainly does not have any significant impact on the performance of the gel and it is safe to say every ingredient below PVP is used at levels less than 1%.
If I had to guess at what the ingredient list would look like if it was listed in order of concentration, I think it would look like this. (With guesses at ingredient levels)
Water ~ 94%
Laureth 23 – 2%
PVP – 2%
Carbomer – 0.6%
Fragrance (Parfum) – 0.5%
Triethanolamine – 0.4%
Polyquaternium 4 – 0.4%
Disodium EDTA – 0.3%
DMDM Hydantoin – 0.2%
Benzyl Alcohol – 0.1%
Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract (Guava Extract) – <0.01%
Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract- <0.01%
Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract- <0.01%
Euphrasia Officinalis (Eyebright) Extract- <0.01%
Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract- <0.01%
What the Ingredients do
There are five types of ingredients in this formulation: Styling polymers, Conditioners, Claims ingredients, gel system, and aesthetic additives.
GEL SYSTEM – This is made up of the Water, Carbomer, and Triethanolamine. From these ingredients alone you can make a gel.
STYLING POLYMERS – To make the gel work to hold hair you need a styling polymer. They use the classic PVP. This ingredient works great (although it also is prone to absorbing water in humid conditions so it can make hair feel sticky).
CONDITIONERS – The Polyquaternium 4 is added to make the PVP film more flexible which will improve the hair feel and polymer performance. It works as a plasticizer.
AESTHETIC ADDITIVES – To make the product more appealing a fragrance is added. The Laureth 23 is likely added to help solubilize the fragrance. For the preservative system you have Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin and Benzyl Alcohol to help. It would be tough for anything to grow in this system!
CLAIMS INGREDIENTS – To support the brand they add things that sound like they are natural and came from some exotic place. If you didn’t include those extracts it’s unlikely you would notice any difference.
Overall, this is a standard hair gel that is going to perform well enough for most any consumer. It may not work as well in high humidity conditions but under normal indoor circumstances it will do great. It will also wash out of your hair easily since PVP is water soluble. Nice job Aussie.
Note the information in this post is just a guess and not based on any information other than my years of formulating experience.