MICRO/NANOENCAPSULATION IN HAIR CARE
Cosmetics industry is a highly competitive market. Many companies are in this space, providing today’s consumers thousands of skincare, hair care, make-up, fragrances and toiletries. An estimated of 10,000+ hair care products were launched in only in 2012. To have success in such competing sector, cosmetic products must differentiate which can be achieved by means of using emergent technologies, such as micro or nanoencapsulation.
Encapsulation technologies add value by introducing different functional properties to products.
What is micro/nanoencapsulation?
Micro/nanoencapsulation is the process of packaging small droplets of liquid or particles with a thin film (1). Microcapsules have diameter greater than 0.1 µm and less than 1000 µm (for comparison – 100 µm is the average diameter of a human hair strand). Nanocapsules have diameter less than 100 nm (for comparison – 2 nm is the diameter of a DNA helix)
Micro/nanocapsules are composed by two parts: the core and the shell. The core contains the active agent that can be: essential oils, fragrances, vitamin, antioxidants, or other active ingredients. The shell can be made of polymers, lipid bilayers (in the case of liposomes), lipids, nonionic surfactants (in the case of niosomes). Shells can also consist of a continuous film or can be porous.
What is the scope of encapsulation in cosmetics?
There are 3 main objectives:
- protection against degradation from external factors; protect fragrances or other active agents from oxidation caused by heat, light, moisture, or from contact with other substances over a long shelf life (2);
- controlled release of the active ingredient over a period of time (3);
- penetration enhancer into the skin or hair strands; encapsulation and carrier systems like liposomes, nanoemulsions, or lipid nanoparticles serve to transport agents to deeper skin layers.
In my opinion, hair care is one of the most promising field where encapsulate (specially at the nanoscale) can have a fast and strong impact. While the majority of research has been focused on skin care, hair care was a little bit neglected. However, in the last years, research is ongoing to discover how encapsulation techniques and nanotechnologies can be used to prevent hair loss and to maintain shine, silkiness, and health of hairs (4).
- Unlike ordinary hair straightening products nanoemulsion in hair cosmetics does not destroy the outer structure of the hair fibers (the cuticles), to penetrate into the hair strands (5).
- For example, sericin (composed of cationic sericin nanoparticles) is an active area of hair cosmetics. Studies have shown that sericin nanoparticles easily adhere to the surface of hair, sealing and treating the damaged cuticles (6).
The present and the future look very innovative as more hair care companies borrow ingredients from skin care products and apply them to both scalp and hair care. It has to start with a healthy scalp, and the scalp has to stay healthy for the hair to follow.
- Blair, H.S., Guthrie, J., Law, T. and Turkington, P. Chitosan and modified chitosan membranes, preparation and characterization. J. App. Poly. Sci 1987; 33: 641-656.
- K. Ghosh, Functional coatings and microencapsulation: a general perspective, in: Swapan Kumar Ghosh (Ed.) Functional Coatings, Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, 2006, pp. 1–28.
- J. Greay, K.A. Hammer, Recent developments in the bioactivity of mono- and diterpenes: anticancer and antimicrobial activity, Phytochem. Rev. (2011)
- Alka Lohani, Anurag Verma, Himanshi Joshi, Niti Yadav, and Neha Karki, Nanotechnology-based Cosmetics, ISRN Dermatology, Volume 2014, Article ID 843687.
- Ereno, “Well-grounded Beauty,” http://revistapesquisa fapesp.br/en/2008/04/01/wellgrounded-beauty/.
- D. Carmen, V. Pereda, A. Polezel et al., “Sericin cationic nanoparticles for application in products for hair and dyed hair,” U.S. Patent 20120164196, June 2012.