Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating “New” Peptide for anti-greying (hair treatment); anything I need to know?

  • “New” Peptide for anti-greying (hair treatment); anything I need to know?

    Posted by Wickers on July 26, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Hi everyone, 

    I have been meaning to research up a bit on palmitoyl tetrapeptide-20, which in many in-vivo studies helps melanin production in the follicle, which can transfer via the hairs’ natural transportation systems to the roots. (given that the hair is in good condition and is not damaged — by heat or drying products)

    This is very groundbreaking for my mid-40 year-old mother :)

    I wanted to find a nice treatment spray that contains this peptide, but the most famous one (Phyto) contains a lot of alcohol and would likely weaken hydration levels. She hates brittle/dry hair . . . so not the Phyto. 

    I contacted some cosmetic suppliers and requested for samples of palmitoyl tetrapeptide-20. I want to make a simple spray for my mother, with: 

    hydrolyzed silk (7%)
    glycerin (5%)
    black walnut hull extract (5%)
    purple tulip extract (3%)
    PhytoCell Argan (3%)
    palmitoyl tetrapeptide-20 (Greyverse) (1%)


    Are there any penetration enhancers that can be used to enhance the results of this spray? Anything I should be aware of?

    Thank you in advance!



    Wickers replied 3 years, 10 months ago 4 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • OldPerry

    July 27, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    What studies have convinced you that palmitoyl tetrapeptide-20 will have any benefit on hair?

    Also, what is the purpose of using hydrolyzed silk, clack walnut extract, tulip extract and phytocell argan?  What evidence has convinced you that these ingredients will actually do anything for hair?

    Finally, alcohol does not dry out or weaken hair. What evidence has convinced you that it does?

  • Pharma

    July 27, 2020 at 6:47 pm
    It must be THIS picture. The text suggests, on an subconscious level, fully coloured hair after one month. I cite: In one month, 31% of participants saw less white hair, 28% said hair
    looked darker, 31% said roots grew in darker, and 63% said hair looked
    healthier. In a three-month span, 64% saw less white hair, 57% said hair
    looked darker, 50% said roots grew in darker and 71% said hair looked

    @Perry: If you need more proof than that… LoL!

  • Wickers

    July 28, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Yikes Perry, cynicism at its peak! :)

    Amino acids (i.e. hyrdolyzed proteins) for hair is a very established link. Just search for any study on amino acids and overall hair health/strength, and you
    ‘ll see that the benefit is kind of indisputable. 

    Black walnut shell extract acts as a natural colourant (sometimes even advertised as a skin-tanning extract — but that’s stretching it a little). Honestly, it doesn’t hurt to try; I’m hoping for a superficial dye that’s obviously temporary. 

    - Efficacy studies from my suppliers about the tulip and phytocell

    Since denatured alcohol is the 2nd ingredient from the Phyto spray, I thought I would steer clear because alcohol disrupts the surface lipid balance of skin and hair. Haircare is all about lipids (to my understanding anyway). 

    By the way, which ingredients do you agree with? (apart from glycerin, mineral oil, etc?) Just curious :)


  • OldPerry

    July 28, 2020 at 1:29 pm

    I can see how my comments come off as sounding cynical. They weren’t. Text is not always an efficient method for communicating the whole meaning of a thought.  While I’m skeptical of the benefit of these ingredients, I am genuinely curious how you came to the conclusions you did. Maybe I’m missing something.

    While you may be convinced by the studies of amino acids (hydrolyzed proteins) for hair, I’m not. But I can’t dispute the nebulous claim of “just search any study.”  Here is a study looking at amino acids and hair. It says nothing about hair health/strength. Here is a link to a Google Scholar search of “amino acids hair“, there are no studies here supporting your claim.  So, I ask what specific studies have convinced you? 

    My skepticism of the benefits of amino acids and hydrolyzed protein come from personal studies and formula product development for hair care brands like Tresemme and VO5. I’ve tried these ingredients in formulas. I’ve done blinded tests. I saw no significant benefits.

    Walnut shell - fair enough.

    On supplier studies. While suppliers can provide some interesting avenues of investigation, the studies they publish are not reliable. These studies are designed to convince you to buy and use an ingredient. They aren’t science and should not be trusted. It’s like relying on what a used car sales person tells you about a car they are trying to sell you.

    Alcohol evaporates off the surface rather quickly & will have no significant, negative impact on hair. I don’t really know what you mean by “disrupts the surface lipid balance.” Could you clarify? 

    (Incidentally, I’m also not convinced that it has a negative impact on the skin but that’s a different topic).

    I can’t really answer your question “what ingredients do you agree with” without knowing what you’re referring to. If you are looking for humectants then yes glycerin is a good ingredient.  Hydrolyzed protein are also humectants. Water is a good solvent, as is ethanol. But perhaps you mean something else?

    Thanks for reading and engaging. My comments are not meant to be critical. As I said, I’m genuinely curious how people develop the beliefs that they do. I try to base what I believe on supported science & when I see claims that aren’t supported by any science I’ve read, I like to investigate further.

  • raveena

    July 29, 2020 at 4:39 am

    Interesting read. I have been looking into this peptide for grey hair problems. Perry one question though is the in vivo studies by the company are not reliable sources and trusted content. 

  • OldPerry

    July 29, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    @raveena - I’m not saying that the company is lying or making up studies. I’m sure they are sharing work that they actually did. But let’s consider a few points.

    Here is a brochure about the technology for reference.

    Their brochure makes a claim that “two factors have been identified as the main causes of greying.”  Is that true? Perhaps, but there are certainly many other important factors too. We don’t exactly know why greying happens or when. The company is overstating but in a way that is not specifically lying. However, this claim supports the story they want to tell.

    You’ve got to understand, companies that are selling products (ingredients) want to present the ingredient in the best light to convince you to buy it. It’s illegal to lie so for every claim they make, they need to have done some study. But they don’t need to publish EVERY study they do. They only publish studies that support the claims they want to make. 

    If they were really interested in science, they would do studies to demonstrate that the product doesn’t work. They would challenge their hypothesis. Only after you’ve exhausted all the ways you can think of to disprove what you want to believe, can you really say that you’ve made some discovery. That’s science. 

    So the studies published in their brochures are going to be the best case scenario.  The before and after pictures are decidedly unimpressive. And this is as good as it gets! And they also have no control. Maybe just rubbing your head every night for 3 months is enough to stimulate melanogenesis? 

    A technology that can reverse grey hair would be extraordinary. Whenever an extraordinary claim is made, there must be some extraordinary proof. The studies presented here are the best case and they just don’t rise (in my view) to extraordinary proof. 

  • Pharma

    July 29, 2020 at 7:37 pm
    From their brochure:
    Greyverse™ contains an innovative α-MSH biomimetic peptide able to act on the different causes of the hair greying process. It offers an unprecedented efficient solution to prevent, stop, and reverse this inevitable sign of ageing.
    The alleged α-MSH biomimetic, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-20, does neither share any sequence homology nor any sign of structural relatedness with α-MSH and it’s synthetic ligands which are used for in vitro tests and in clinical trials. However, its sequence is for example found in cardioexcitatory peptide from the African giant snail, a salivary proline-rich peptide P-C), and the chemokine CXCL16, and the adhesion molecule ICAM-1.

    The term ‘biomimetic’ refers to a compound which elicits a similar effect in a cell, an organ, or a whole organism without telling anything about the mode of action. As the text states ‘able to act on the different causes’ although most aren’t even known, this leaves mode of action to imagination. Although, later down in the brochure, they mention ‘Two factors…cause…hair greying…: the decrease in melanogenesis and the increase in oxidative stress in the hair bulb. Due to its complete mechanism of action, the peptide…is able to act simultaneously and efficiently on both factors by stimulating Melanocortin 1 Receptor.’
    What is a ‘complete mechanism of action’? Also, activation of MC1R does not help against oxidative stress (neither simultaneous nor efficient action will help) and it’s not even clear how well real ‘stimulation’ (scientists use the terms activation or agonism) actually does promote melanogenesis in greying hair. Besides, what does activate MC1R is called a drug, not a cosmetic, and it would not just colour hair dark but skin as well.
    The ‘offer of an unprecedented efficient solution’ is just ridiculous because it is precedented by more efficient solutions, which, for obvious reasons, are not simple tetrapeptides coupled to a fatty acid. Furthermore, greying isn’t an inevitable sign of ageing but simply an often happening consequence of progressing life.
    In a ‘scientific’ publication I found (and read), they mention:
    The palmitoyl tetrapeptide-20 (PTP20) is a biomimetic peptide derived from the α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH). The sequence was chosen to interact with its receptor, the MC1-R. As said, The sequence as nothing to do with α-MSH and the tests they ran may be okayish but they more resemble a ‘Let’s see what we have laying around…’. SIRT-1 is a good example because several cosmetic companies think it’s great for marketing (I worked with a few people who did their PhD on SIRT and also did side-jobs for cosmetic industries). An activity on SIRT doesn’t prove anything.
    You also find palmitoyl oligopeptides nearly exclusively as cosmetic ingredient… guess why.
  • raveena

    July 30, 2020 at 11:29 pm

    Very informative posts. It is also educational. There is a lot of information thrown around. Great place to find the information. Thank you again for taking the time to explain it so well.

  • Wickers

    August 1, 2020 at 11:43 am

    Thank you everyone!
    Perry, I didn’t mean to complain about you or anything! I understand that you know a lot about this field and that you are genuinely curious. Thanks for reminding me not to blindly trust marketing claims. 
    Can you please elaborate/attach any studies on alcohol having no negative effects on skin and hair? 
    I did not consider that alcohol evaporates too quickly for any damage to be made. 
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/ics.12364 (on skin)

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