Close
Expert Advice

Do Sunscreens in Hair Care Really Work?

Victoria Wurdinger | July 10, 2011 | 6:24 PM
Some websites say sunscreens in hair care only work if the product is wet, others disagree. To get the real scoop, we asked Matt Malek, a cosmetic chemist at Shiva Labs in Houston, Texas, who holds a master's degree in industrial chemistry, “Do sunscreens in hair care really work?”

Q: If sunscreens in hair care do work, why is there no SPF or rating system for them in hair care?
A: SPF and sunscreen terms are used for OTC products that are designed to prevent sunburn, cancer, wrinkles, etc. in skin products. Hair marketers use words like UV absorber, sun filter, sun protection or hair protection factor when using products like our Escalol HP. It works well at as low as 0.5% in a rinse-off conditioner.

Q: You measured this with a Hunter Lab Colorimeter. In lay terms, what’s that and what is it measuring?
A: The Hunter Lab Colorimeter is used by all hair color chemists. You can even buy a hand-held version from Minolta. This is an instrument that measures reflective colors from paper, fabric, hair, etc., so you can measure before and after.

Q: You’ve measured bond cleavage, combability and tryptophan degradation in hair, in relation to hair care sun protection ingredients. What is the role of tryptophan in hair?

A: Tryptophan is an amino acid that makes up part of the building blocks of protein, of which the hair is made. We can easily measure the decomposition of tryptophan when it is exposed to UV light or heat. It’s a marker that the hair protein/structure is being decomposed when people are in the sun or a UV environment. After International Specialty Products published in 1998—they’re recognized globally for innovative specialty products—other researchers published supportive results that indicate UVB damage occurs throughout the cuticle and cortex. Combination of UVB exposure and shampooing dramatically enhances the loss of color from hair.

Q: What’s on the horizon in hair UV protection?
A: Combinations with various organic and inorganic UV filters in specialized putties.

Facebook Comments

More from Expert Advice

Your Little Guide for BIG Spring Promotions

April 5, 2017

Do you dread thinking of new ways to reinvent promotions and special occasions? How many times a year can you discount the same service, the same way, without your clients becoming accustomed to a “holiday promotion”? Fortunately, the abundance of springtime holidays and special occasions allows for a variety of fresh ways to delight your customers.

Expert Advice
Expert Advice

Why Professionals SHOULD Sell Retail Products

Maggie Mulhern | February 28, 2017

It has been a problem in our industry for years - retailing. Many salon pros have trouble seeing beyond the artistry and find it difficult to sell products to their clients. In this brief video Cody Fullerton of Living Proof confronts the situation and shares why salon pros should encourage their clients to buy products to maintain their hair between salon visits.

Load More