I saw this interesting approach to hair testing that TRI (Textile Research Institute) is doing this June 2011. They are offering the opportunity for any company to submit samples of shampoos and conditioners to be included in an extensive benchmarking study.
The samples will be tested for speed of rinse, hair lubrication and detangling ability. The test methods were specially developed by TRI but likely are similar to the standard hair tress tests that involve the Diastron & Instron combing machines. These devices work by measuring the force required to pull a comb through a tress.
The thing that makes this most notable is that it could be a significant savings for smaller companies. For example, while it would normally cost $27,680 for a single sample, it only costs $3100 in this group study. That’s a pretty significant savings.
Value of hair testing
While this is an interesting study and a great opportunity to get some samples tested for smaller companies, I’m not sure they’ll get a lot of actionable data. True it will be nice to see how formulas compare to market leaders but you’ll need to do further testing if you want to make your product better. This can start to get really expensive. This is why you should develop some fairly reliable in-house testing method. It will allow you to see the effects of formulation modifications. The test offered by TRI is great for supporting claims but not so useful for giving you ideas about formulation directions.
Still, at $3100 (or less) it is certainly worth it to see how your best formula stacks up to the market leaders.