Ashland Ingredients for Textured Hair Formulations
The beauty industry has long been dominated by a one-size-fits-all approach centered primarily around straight hair. However, the shift toward diversity and inclusivity in beauty has spotlighted the unique needs of individuals with textured hair, which encompasses wavy, curly, and kinky hair types. This shift is not just a mere trend; it represents a substantial segment of the global population.
About 65% of the world's people have textured hair, equating to billions of people. With such a sizable market share, the demand for specialized hair care products for textured hair is on the rise. In fact, women with textured hair spend significantly more on hair care products on average than those with straight hair. This presents a significant opportunity for brands to cater to this underserved market segment with specialized hair care products.
Understanding Textured Hair & Its Unique Challenges
Textured hair, typified by curls, kinks, coils, and afro hair types, inherently differs from straight hair in structure and care requirements. The curliness or kinkiness of hair is determined by the shape and angle of the hair follicle. Textured hair grows out of a follicle that exhibits a U- or C-shape, influencing the form of the hair and the distribution of keratin along the hair shaft. This results in an oval or flat hair shape with an uneven thickness of the hair cuticle and a smaller diameter than straight hair. These structural differences also affect the distribution of sebum, the natural oil produced by the scalp, along the hair strand, making textured hair more prone to dryness.
People with textured hair face unique challenges. Their hair tends to have weak points within the fibers, making it prone to breakage or damage. Tight curls often lead to knots, making combing a challenging task, especially when the hair is dry. The hair's curliness also affects its shine, often making it appear less lustrous than straight hair. Moreover, caring for textured hair involves dealing with issues like frizz, curl definition, hair volume, and scalp health.
Formulating for Textured Hair Care
Formulating hair care products for textured hair requires a deep understanding of the hair's distinctive needs and an individual’s hair care routine, including the types of products used. Caring for textured hair typically results in a routine beginning with a prewash step followed by cleansing, treatment, and conditioning and ending with styling. Each phase targets the specific needs of the hair and scalp for healthy and strong hair.
One of the primary challenges of textured hair is its tendency to become dry, brittle, and easily prone to breakage. This is due to the hair's curl pattern and lower sebum secretion, which makes the hair challenging to nourish and treat. Consumers with textured hair prefer shampoos that cleanse and protect without stripping the hair of its essential oils and conditioners and treatments containing natural ingredients that moisturize and maintain the hair's health.
Ideal formulations include ingredients that smoothen, are highly moisturizing, have high deposition, and do not lead to the stripping of natural oils. Alternatively, while moisturization is key, greasiness is not, so it is best to test formulations on a panel of individuals with textured hair for success. A gel-hold formulation for a 2C curl type may not work the same as on a 4A curl type.
Besides a functional product, today's consumers are looking for more eco-friendly formulations with natural ingredients that can prevent damage and address issues like dryness, itchiness, and dandruff.
Creating high-performing, ethically formulated solutions for textured hair entails using gentler, sulfate-free formulations and adding nature-derived ingredients, including rheology modifiers, conditioners, bioactives, film formers, and more.
Embracing Natural Textures with Ashland Ingredients
The shift toward embracing natural hair textures presents a significant opportunity for the beauty industry. Brands that understand and cater to the unique needs of individuals with textured hair will be well positioned to tap into this fast-growing market segment. As the industry continues to evolve, consumers can look forward to more innovative, effective, and sustainable solutions for textured hair care. Ashland manufactures a wide range of ingredients and formulations that provide benefits specific to individuals with textured hair.