Expert's Opinion

It Matters

By Philip Pelusi, Hair care expert | June 16, 2014

How the size of molecules will make or break the effectiveness of a hair care formula.

As it turns out, size does matter!  At least when it comes to the effectiveness of ingredient complexes used in a hair care formula.  An ingredient can be in the bottle but unless there is some scientific transformation of that ingredient it will simply flow out of the bottle, past the hair and down the drain without any benefit to the hair or scalp. 
In other words, that ingredient is only in that formula to serve as a marketing tool to lure the purchaser but may have little or no effect on the hair or scalp.  Unfortunately, the majority of consumers and even trained stylists are not aware of this fact.  They become excited about the latest and greatest ingredient on the market and desire the glossy healthy looking hair of the model in the hair product ad.  But they may be completely unaware of the fact that they might be paying for an ingredient that is nothing more than a marketing enticement.
Over the years, I have used many ingredients in my formulas that have proven their ability to perform.  Lipids such as soy sterols possess an affinity for hair and scalp because of their similarity to the lipids naturally present.  Also, molecules that possess an appropriate charge such as the positively charged “cationic” conditioning agents that use their charge to bind to predominantly negatively charged damage sites on the hair.  Another example would be a molecule of an appropriate size such as protein hydrolysates that are small enough to penetrate, or possess both an appropriate charge and size as with zwitterionic amino acids that are protein fractions both small enough to penetrate and exhibit a positive charge at pH below that of their isoionic point, or the pH at which a “protein’s” charge is neutral.
But what about beneficial ingredients that may not carry a positive charge or be truly small enough to penetrate effectively?   
Most definitely the selection and quality of the ingredients chosen to create a hair care formula are extremely important but their effectiveness, primarily their ability to penetrate and bind with the hair fiber is reliant upon some type of molecule manipulation, either in its chemistry, size adjustment or in a delivery system that can compress larger molecules into a tighter package.
A technology that we apply to each and every P2 by Philip Pelusi Ultimate and Tela Beauty Organics by Philip Pelusi formula is our Micro Emulsion Technology that assists in the delivery of cosmetically active molecules to their target.  Without this type of technology an ingredient may be rendered useless, resulting in an unfulfilled marketing promise.  While it is much less expensive to create a formula without this added step of technology I have never held that philosophy.  I have always had a “100% commitment to quality over cost” attitude. 
When I started creating hair care formulas over 40 years ago, it was for the purpose of expanding hair creativity and improving the quality of the hair fabric for both the stylist and the client.  This really stems from my love of hair as a stylist myself.  I believe that the quality of any great hair design depends upon the quality of the hair fabric much as the quality of a couture clothing design relies on the quality of the its fabric.  I also believe that my stylists and I have to live with the results of our hair care formulas, and that puts us in a unique situation.  I am creating hair care formulas and seeing the results on the hair first hand.  I have to be able to deliver on the promises of the product to the client because the results of the product are in my own backyard. 
Both my salons in the Pittsburgh area, that do about 400,000 services a year and my Philip Pelusi Salon Collective product partner salons carry our products throughout the country, are a living laboratory for these results. The bottom line is that we need to make our clients happy with their hair so they will come back over and over again.  Our industry lives and dies on creating a high level of client retention.  When they love how their hair looks they will be back for more.  More service sales and more product sales.  And while the professional stylist sets the tone of success, it is the product that they use at home that continues the process and has a great effect on their level of satisfaction.
Micro Emulsion Technology helps create those results by bringing the science of hair to life and this translates into beautiful hair fabric.   We all have been taught that hair is considered a dead substrate.  However, there are both chemical and physically phenomena that occur in hair every day, both good and bad.  Chemical treatments and normal routine cleansing and styling, and the environment all are known to create differing levels of damage.  We rely on conditioning treatments to rescue our hair fabric from these effects, but in most cases those treatment are rinsed out and run down the drain, so we need another powerful ally in our quest for great hair.
One of the most unknown and yet extremely exciting scientific phenomena to stylists is the principle of substantivity.  If an ingredient doesn’t have an affinity for the hair, such as a positive charge, its substantivity on the hair or scalp requires help.  Our Micro Emulsion Technology assists in the penetration and adhesion of these cosmetic actives deeply into hair shaft, mending damage.  This is really where the rubber meets the road when it comes to hair care product performance.  A lack of substantivity means that without chemical modification or the ideal molecular size a beneficial molecule, for instance a large protein, will not stick to hair during rinsing and its benefit will be lost.  However, many large molecules may be entrapped and made to be the ideal penetrating size by our Micro Emulsion Technology, and be able to bond to damaged keratin inside the hair fabric much like a magnet adheres to metal.  It is not a permanent bond but a long lasting bond with repeated application.
Combined with gentler shampoos, less exposure to damaging heated styling processes and chemical treatments, hair treated with our Micro Emulsion Technology can replace missing protein and “rebuild” hair at damage sites, allowing hair to act and perform much like healthy virgin hair.  This is because damaged keratin in the hair is replaced with a temporary but “substantive” properly sized protein molecule.  This means a higher quality hair fabric, which equates to a quality hair design that then equals a happier and returning salon client.
And size has everything to do with this successful equation.  Our Micro Emulsion Technology creates an emulsified droplet that is less than 1/100th the diameter of an average hair and 50 times smaller than the droplets found in many hair treatment creams.  This means that not only do our formulations penetrate more quickly than others, but also more deeply through the cuticle for long lasting benefits and virtually no greasiness or build-up.
As a product creator I am excited by this advanced science.  But through the lens of a stylist, I may not be as interested in this type of hair scientific technology jargon as in the benefits to my clientele.  But the truth is that Micro Emulsion Technology along with the right ingredients, proper ingredient concentration and overall formula quality means beautiful, high quality hair.  And the better the hair fabric the better my design will look.  Also because so many hair care companies are competing to win over consumers, even a general understanding of Micro Emulsion Technology makes for a higher educated stylist much better equipped to dispel marketing magic that their client might be wooed by.  Much better able to explain why the product they are recommending would have a greater positive impact on their hair; specifically the lasting ability of their hair color and chemical services thus increasing their overall value to that client.
For product recommendation and more information contact us at Tela Beauty Organics by Philip Pelusi at either philip@telabeautyorganics.comor

About the Author
Philip Pelusi is an internationally recognized stylist, photographer and product artist. Having gone from one salon to 13 locations as well as a magnificent industry centerpiece in New York City, Pelusi has created a philosophy, two product lines, P2 by Philip Pelusi and Tela Beauty Organics by Philip Pelusi and systems for success. Philip created and trademarked, within the industry, the phrase “A Cut Above The Rest” to coincide with his creation of the registered Volumetric haircutting technique around which he built his empire.

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