Sunday, December 27, 2009

Heat protecting hair care products - Analysing John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum

As per the suggestion from Kemi and Hoshishi in the conditioner tutorial thingie post...

Heat protecting hair sprays and sera are an interesting group of products - there doesn't seem to be a basic formula to follow like you would for a shampoo or conditioner. Some offer heat protection alone, while others offer styling or conditioning as well. I've chosen a few at random (did a google search and saw what came up first) and I'll take a look at them over the next few days...

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Hair Serum, Thermal Protection Formula
Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Benzophenone 3, Polysilicone 15, Bis (C13 15 Alkoxy), PG Amodimethicone, Phytantriol, Mineral Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Silk, Fragrance

Cyclopentasiloxane is our good friend cyclomethicone, a silicone added to hair and skin care products for its volatility. In hair care products, it will help your hair dry faster, which is a good thing for those of us with really frizzy hair. This is why you see it in the anti-frizz sprays: The cyclomethicone helps with the spreading abilities (not that dimethicone really needs the help), helps with wet combing, delivers the active ingredients to your hair, then evaporates, which decreases your drying time (which is a good thing for us frizzy haired girls!).

Dimethiconol is dimethicone, another silicone added to hair and skin care products to offer conditioning and emolliency. In hair care, it improves wet and dry combing, helps with shine, improves hair feel (softness), reduces static charge, and works as a humidity resistor. And in colour cosmetics, like foundations, it is a lubricant, spreading agent, emollient, and diluent/carrier ingredient.

Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is a sunscreen, a cinnamic acid ester used in UV protective products.

Benzophenone 3 is another sunscreen.

Polysilicone 15 absorbs UV rays.

Hmm, I'm seeing a theme here about sunscreen stuff. (I'm going somewhere with this...bear with me)

Bis (C13 15 Alkoxy), PG Amodimethicone (all one name), the INCI for Dow Corning's 8500 Conditioning Agent. This is an amino functionalized silicone that is water soluble in products, but not water soluble in hair. It is an inorganic cationic polymer. (Our normal cationic polymers like honeyquat and polyquat 7 are organic polymers.) They behave like this polyquats in that they are attracted to the negative charge on the hair, but they offer higher shine for your hair. They also seal in moisture better than polyquats, and offer better wet and dry combing. It offers such properties as deep conditioning, increased colour retention, protection from thermal damage, and increased gloss and shine.

(A great post on this ingredient can be found at CurlChemist at!)

Phytantriol is an interesting ingredient. It is a poly-alcohol that is insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol, mineral oil, corn oil, IPP, and propylene glycol, and disperses in dimethicone, cyclomethicone, and glycerin. Added to the oil phase at less than 80˚C, it improves the performance of UV protecting ingredients and panthenol. Adding 0.1 to 0.2% phyantriol to a product with 1% panthenol increased the deposition of the panthenol on the hair and nails, which indirectly increased moisture retention and flexibility. It is helpful for hair strengthening in that it increased the deposition of amino acids and hydrolyzed proteins, and it increases hair's ability to withstand the ravages of the sun and heated styling devices.

Mineral oil is generally an emollient added for increased shine and lubricity of hair.

Tocopheryl acetate is generally added as an anti-oxidant.

Hydrolyzed silk is a hydrolyzed protein that is added to hair care products as a film former and moisture retainer.

Fragrance...well, I guess that's obvious.

So if we break this product down we have...
  • silicones - intended to condition, protect against heat damage, increase moisturization of the hair shaft.
  • UV protectors - intended to repel heat and sun.
  • Phytantriol - boosts the UV protection qualities (there's no panthenol in here to boost)
  • emollients - silicones and mineral oil
  • hydrolyzed proteins - increase moisture retention, can penetrate hair shaft, forms a film
The silicones really are the key to a heat protecting hair care product. They provide conditioning, emolliency, shine, and heat protection. The UV protectors found in this product are found in other products, but not all. This specific product is an anhydrous creation, but there are some with water.

Could you recreate this at home? Possibly. Certainly the cyclomethicone and dimethicone, hydrolyzed silk, mineral oil, fragrance, and tocopheryl acetate are easily obtainable. The UV protectors may or may not be necessary, but we can get Parsol and a few others (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are not options!) so we could try using those. The amodimethicone seems like an essential bit, and I haven't found this yet. We could substitute a cationic polymer like honeyquat or polyquat 7, but those are water soluble, so they wouldn't work in a hair serum like this. And I know I don't have access to oil soluble hydrolyzed silk proteins (actually, by definition hydrolyzed proteins are hydrolyzed to be more water soluble as proteins are normally not the most water soluble ingredients out there!), so I'm not sure how one would get that ingredient into the mix.

You could try making a serum with the silicones alone and leave the hydrolyzed silk and cationic polymers in a leave in conditioner. The dimethicone is the key to protecting against heat, so you could try something like 25% dimethicone, 75% cyclomethicone and see how it works for you. (I would try using 1000 cs dimethicone if you can get it. It's much thicker and serum-like. If not, then 350 cs works as well).

Join me tomorrow for another download and another analysis of a heat protecting hair care product.


Anonymous said...

Hi Susan;
I have a question about dimethiconol.
There is an oil treatment product which is called "one'n only Argan oil" ,the main ingredients are Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzonate , Dimethiconol
Fragrance(Perfum), Argan Oil. The question is,are Dimethicone & Dimethiconol two different ingredients or as I read on your blog they are one.
Thank you so much; Sarah

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan

I was wondering the same thing: what's the difference between Dimethicone and Dimethiconol?

I've searched and searched, but the only things I can find are scare tactic sites about Dimethicone, not the difference between the two.


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Gabrielle! You can find out more from here - Cosmetics Info. Hope that helps!