The “new normal”, what’s here to stay?

New consumer habits for working, shopping, eating, drinking and leisure will be driven by lingering home seclusion. Changes to the consumer mindset will drive reduced consumption of non-essential items as preferences for products with sustainable aspects including waste reduction take precedence. There is an increased demand for multipurpose, eco-friendly ingredients that simplify the products and routines in our daily lives and help reduce our negative impact on the planet.

This shift is happening across all categories, including hair styling as trends move to more natural looking and feeling hair. The “natural effect” is a trend we’ve seen cross-over from skin care, where the no-makeup look is changing the category. Natural products are going beyond the surface effects, as formulators are looking to create products to help shoppers achieve a natural, authentic look using sustainable and clean ingredients.

No compromise on performance

Brands are not willing to compromise on performance and consumers expect them to deliver. Maintaining hold, efficacy, drying time, humidity resistance or anticipating the interactions with new ingredients in the formulations requires a certain level of talent. Thus far, hair styling formulators had to choose between high performance or natural-based ingredients. Most often, the currently available, natural based hair fixative agents, usually provide poor styling benefits or the extensive drying time, and washing and rinsing can be difficult as well. These materials generally do not form a flexible film on the hair and thus create a lot of flaking.

Previously, the natural product formulation toolbox consisted of thickening agents like xanthan gum or dehydroxanthan gum in combination with shellac which acts as a film-forming agent. These polymers often have disadvantages: xanthan gum has a strong flaking effect; shellac can be difficult to wash off and dehydroxanthan gum has a low humidity resistance and thus less formulation flexibility. Most ‘must have’ styling properties such as strong hold, humidity resistance and texture flexibility are usually difficult to achieve with natural polymers. Times have changed, Dow recently launched a new polymer, MaizeCare™ Style Polymer that has great styling properties and is greener than ever.

MaizeCare™ Style Polymer

Using Dow’s innovative, hydrolyzed cornstarch, formulators can now comply with consumer demands and only use one ingredient: a biopolymer that combines performance and natural sourcing. This new film-former fulfills the criteria for naturally derived ingredients for cosmetics in accordance with the ISO 16128 standard as 100% of this ingredient is naturally sourced. Dow developed a natural biopolymer with the same performance typically seen in synthetic polymers, such as a pleasant hair-feel, no flaking and improved humidity resistance.

MaizeCare™ Style Polymer is a bio-based polymer, derived from corn that provides styling benefits in hair care formulations and performs as a styling aid and film-former to achieve superior stiffness with a soft touch. It’s a hair care formulator’s dream ingredient.

Hair stiffness performance in a styling gel is similar to PVP benchmarks, and it exhibits higher humidity resistance when compared to PVP. Additionally, this natural based styling fixative achieves frizz control and style durability. In performance tests, the curl retention test showcases a similar efficiency to PVP benchmarks. On half head tests compared to top selling commercial benchmarks, the hydrolyzed corn starch exhibits superior hold and better hair manageability, thus it can be used for all styling formulations types such as gels, waxes, lotions, creams, and sprays.

In addition to its sustainability benefits, the film former’s technical benefits include a long-lasting and flexible hold, as well as humidity resistance. MaizeCare™ Style Polymer facilitates the development of hair care formulations with low flaking and low tackiness without effecting the highly sought after sensorial attributes.