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Vinay Kumar Singh

General Manager-Technical,
Mikasa Cosmetics Limited,
Ahmedabad, Gujarat

The main aim of hair dressings, whether they are for men or women, are to improve the control and manageability of hair, to impart some luster, and to maintain a hairstyle in spite of the movement of daily activities and despite the various environmental conditions to which hair is submitted (eg. wind, heat, cold, sun etc.). These factors vary from one country to another, from age to age, according to state of hair, between sex. Men generally consider adequate control as the prime requisite for a hair dressing, with gloss as secondary.  Women first look for products that give a pleasing appearance to the hair but at the same time they require a good hold.  They do not want products which render hair heavy and which tend to make it lank or greasy.  The trend in women’s fashions for softer and free-styles and the increasing use of the brushing technique have led to an increase in the demand for products that enhance disentangling and a greater need for products that protect, strengthen and/or improve the condition of hair.

These are intended to strengthen and maintain for an extended period a temporary deformation imparted by waving.  These are applied to wet hair and they do not affect the internal structure of the hair.

The oldest product of this type were simple aqueous or hydroalcoholic solutions of natural polymers like Arabic gum, shellac.  They work by sticking the hair together and yield dull, brittle film which crumble into dust and become sticky in humid air because they are very hygroscopic. They have been replaced by lotions based on synthetic polymers which are soluble in hydroalcoholic solution.  The first resin to be used was polyvinyl pyrolidone (PVP).  Two product types have appeared, the clear lotion and the aerated gel. 

Both form clear, non greasy and quite glossy films which considerably improve the set retention of the hair.  The mode of action is to form a plastic sheath round each individual hair so that the setting effect is not completely lost on combing the hair.  The setting product should be compatible with the wetness of the hair at the time of application and be waterproof after drying, while remaining flexible.  It should be easily shampooed out and should not be sticky.  Generally a setting lotion contains, in a hydroalcoholic solution, film forming polymers, plasticizers for these polymers, perfumes, colourants and additives to enhance sheen, softness and disentangling.  Now a days Vinyl pyrolidone - vinyl acetate copolymer is used as PVP is too hygroscopic.

They are quick dry type of setting preparations which imparts just sufficient rigidity to the set to control loose ends and enhance sheen of the hair.

Following are the requirements of a good Hair spray :
a)  They spray must be very fine.
b)  The force of spray should be gentle and optimum.
c)  It should spread over a wide area in short period and dry quickly.
d)  The film should be relatively flexible to follow the movement of the hair without breaking. The film should not render hair heavy and dirty and should not be sticky.
e)  It should be shampooed off easily.

These are basically aerosol products which make use of various propellants.

These are probably the oldest type of hair dressing and have been in use for hundreds of years.

It usually consists of suitable thickened, tinted and perfumed mineral or vegetable oil.  Stiffening to the desired consistency may be obtained by incorporating high MeltingPoint waxes eg. Paraffin, Carnauba etc.  The pomade may be greasy, rapidly absorbed or stringy to the touch.

The day of heavy Brilliantines has passed. The aim today is to secure a glossy sheen and light fixative action.  Now deodorized Kerosene or esters like Isopropyl Myristate can be incorporated to form a film of oil on hair shaft.

Solution of oil in alcohol offer the advantage of allowing a good and uniform distribution of oil on the hair.  They also give a feeling of freshness and a stimulating effect for the scalp.  Traditionally these were Castor Oil in alcohol suitably coloured and perfumed.

The oldest type is based on use of mucilage particularly gum tragacanth.

They process very good fixative properties and do not produce greasy stains.  They are particularly effective in controlling unruly hair however on brushing the hair setting characteristics are lost as particles of gum flakes off.

The Semi Solid Brilliantines have been succeeded by Gel products of two types.  The Micro gels; which are transparent oil-in-water emulsion in which the oil droplets are so small that the emulsion appears clear and the true Gels which are based on the use of aqueous polyethylene Glycol solution in conjuction with a Cellulosic/Acrylic thickener.  The advantages of these gels are that they are miscible with water and feel much less greasy, give good fixative properties and control hair satisfactorily.

Hair straighteners are a need for those who want tightly curled hair made straight or gently waved.  These are of many types like;
1.  Hot comb methods
2.  Caustic emulsions
3.  Method entailing the use of Keratin reducing agents.

In this, hair is straightened by the use of Petroleum Jelly and a hot metal comb. The method is also known a ‘HOT PROCESSING’.  Petrolatum acts as heat transfer agent between and the comb and hair, lubricating the hair to allow the comb to slide though it without drag. The hair is washed and dried before pressing oil is applied.  In this process considerable stress is applied to the hair.

These are usually in Cream form. The use of caustic lye involves risks such as irritation of the scalp and even accidental eye damage.  The amount of active content employed is between 2 to 9%.  The selection of ingredients for base is very important due to incompatibility of active.

Multi component lye straightener conform to the followings :
1.  A soft pomade based on Mineral oil. It is applied to scalp as a protective pretreatment.
2.  The ‘RELAXER’ which consists of an o/w emulsion containing about 3-5% Caustic Soda and about 40% fatty materials.
3.  A cream shampoo which is used to follow the relaxer. Usually an indicator to detect alkali is used.
4.  A dilute o/w emulsion containing about 2% fatty esters and a cationic wetting agent refered to as the neutralizer, preferably slightly acid.
5.  A stiffer pomade to provide the final set and dressing.

These contain a chemical which is Keratin reducing agent as ‘RELAXER’ which affects the softening and straightening of the hair.  The active agents are frequently thioglycollates, the concentration of which is lower as compared to that used in waving formulations.

Egyptian woman curled her hair by means of wet mud. The desire of all the women has been to posses an attractive and beautiful hair style. Until 1910, hair used to be curled by means of  a curling iron or by boiling it in water which was not resulting in a lasting wave. Later addition of chemicals such as Borax and Ammonium hydroxide to the boiling water was in practice to have curl which would survive several washing. Subsequently chemical method of  heating and cold wave have been developed.

Hot Waving Process : Following are the steps a professional Hair Dresser employ
1. Shampooing of hair to remove any grease.
2. The hair is then divided and wound around a suitable roller under slight tension.
3 A sachet or absorbent strip dipped in a suitable solution is wound over the hair and the whole encased in an electric heater and the hair is steamed for the required period.

Usually heat is supplied to the rollers by means of an electric current. In the wireless system the heaters are preheated and allowed to cool for the desired period. Chemical heating methods are also used, in which moisture from the wrapper induces an exothermic chemical reaction when in contact with a suitable mixture. The advantage here is the no risk of electric shock and the individual has freedom of head movement.

Permanent waving demands, in addition to suitable reagents, considerable professional skill and experience.

Permanent waving solutions : These are almost invariably alkaline in reaction since the presence of alkalis considerably shortens the time necessary to produce satisfactory wave. For this purpose Lithium hydroxide, sodium, potassium, ammonium carbonates, Borax, Ethanolamine or neutral or alkaline solutions of sulphites are used.

Cold waving process : This has to a large extent replaced the older hot waving process. The operation is performed at room temperature without input of heat energy. The hair is shampooed and divided into sections, for ease of handling, locks of hair are moistened with the waving lotion and then wound onto curlers. It is usual to start at the nape and work forward as nape hair needs a good curl. When the winding is complete, the hair is left to process for 10 - 40 minutes. After processing with reducing agents the hair is rinsed and neutralised by application of an oxidising solution to the wound curls. After 5 - 10 minutes, the curls are unwound and usually a further application of neutralizer is made. The hair is then rinsed and set into the desired style.

The Reducer in Cold Waving : Most permanent waving formulations are based on thioglycolic acid. Normally concentration between 7.5 - 11.0 of thioglycolic acid is used at pH 9.30 to 9.50. The main problem to maintain the reducing activity of thiol during the whole softening phase i.e. to maintain pH despite the volatility of  Ammonia to achieve this Ammonium Carbonate, Sesqui Carbonate or bicarbonate is often employed. Other ingredients like wetting or foaming agents, softening agents like vegetable or lanolin derivatives, complexing agents, opacifiers like acrylic, vinyl or styrene polymers may be used.

The Neutraliser in Cold Waving : Mostly Hydrogen peroxide is used as neutraliser because if it is not expensive and is easy to handle. The Hydrogen peroxide solution is acidified by adding citric, tartaric acid for stability. Usually agents such as polyoxyethylene fatty alcohols or cationic compounds are added to improve wetting together with softening agents such as lanolin derivatives.

Consumer is not satisfied with what one is gifted with, thus wants to change their look. If they have straight hair, they want it curly and vice-versa. Of course, now a days one need to keep oneself upto date, as that is required due to competition in every field and one has to be the best in the crowd to get noticed.



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