How do hair bond builders really work?

Bond building hair care products, known as ‘plexes’, undoubtedly improve the quality of damaged hair. But how do they work exactly? Cosmetic scientist R J W Hefford investigates

It is well known that many cosmetic products used on the hair can lead to ‘damage’. The concept of damage may seem simple enough to define, but unfortunately this is not necessarily the case. A scientist might define hair damage as an effect that results in the chemical or physical properties of hair becoming altered in a detrimental fashion with repair being defined as the reverse process back to the original state. Marketers looking for claims support and the hairdressing industry often think differently.

Natural, undamaged hair has a set of very desirable properties. It is very strong, flexible and hydrophobic. It protects the scalp from the adverse effects of the sun and it helps to keep you dry. However, in its natural state hair will contain a level of internal and external lipids/oils. Free external oils are produced as sebum and, in excess, this is the first property that is perceived as . . .

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