As a cosmetic scientist your job will often involve coming up with a formula that satisfies the desires of your Marketing department. Fortunately, or unfortunately, those desires are usually satisfied by taking existing formulas, adding small amounts of ingredients to support the marketing story, and testing the formulas to make sure they are stable.
I say unfortunately, because this isn’t a very creative activity. You really aren’t fully using your skills as a chemist or inventor. If you limit yourself to these types of projects and activities, you’re going to get bored.
Fortunately, there are still unsolved problems in many areas of cosmetics. Many problems will require more than just tweaking existing formulas with story ingredients. Here are the top 10 unsolved problems in the area of hair care.
1. Hair Loss
It’s a fact of life that people lose hair. Much of this is through natural shedding which is replaced in the normal hair growth cycle. But as people get older, hair loss becomes permanent. If you can figure out how to stop hair loss or to make it start growing again, you’ll be rich.
2. Unwanted hair growth
This is the opposite problem of the first but not any less important. Nearly everyone has hair in places where they wished it wouldn’t grow. Solutions like depilatories or shaving provide short-term, temporary relief. If you can figure out how to stop hair growth you may become famous.
3. Hair going gray
Everyone goes gray and there are only two ways to handle it. Artificial hair color that has to be constantly re-applied or just let it go gray. If you can invent a way to restart natural hair color or apply color in a constant and convenient way, you could make millions or billions.
4. Hair color changes
People spend tons of money on changing their hair color but unfortunately, it changes quickly. Make a way to keep the color in people’s hair and you’ll have a product that will out-sell all competitors.
5. Bad Hair condition (feel)
?The only solution to this problem is the repeated application of condition. But if you could figure out a way to give people long lasting conditioning / excellent feeling hair you would radically change the hair care market.
6. Unruly hair — Frizzy, uncooperative
Conditioners help but they don’t stop hair from fizzing up during days of high humidity. There is still room to develop a product that really stops frizz but leaves hair feeling natural.
7. Thinning hair
Hair loss is one problem but hair thinning also happens as people get older. The thinning comes both in the thickness of the hair fibers and the number of them. Figure out how to keep hair full and your wallet will get thicker too.
8. Lack volume
A high percentage of people complain that their hair has no “volume”. These people have naturally straight hair that lays flat on their head. Figure out a way to give them more permanent volume without resorting to damaging chemical treatments like perms and waves.
Everyone claims they can give it to you but in reality, no product delivers a significant improvement in hair shine. Find a way to make hair shine so much it sparkles like a diamond. This would be a truly innovative product.
10. Time to Style
Last but not least is time. Some people take over an hour to get their hair into the style and shape they want. This is primarily caused by their lack of styling skill and the speed at which the hair dries. You may not be able to teach them to style faster but a scientist certainly should be able to figure out how to get hair to dry more quickly.
In a future post, we’ll go into the various strategies people have used to solve these and why they haven’t worked.
Have you worked on any of these hair problems? Was there anything we missed? Leave a comment and let us know.