Last updated February 7, 2018 at 8:49 pm
Wheat could hold the key to achieving shinier, more manageable hair.
It may not sound too sexy in one of those ubiquitous TV shampoo commercial, but Chinese researchers say modifying the natural glutens allows them to interact more effectively with dirt and oils in the hair, helps shampoos foam better, and could deal with the dreaded curse of split ends. And they have found a way to make the appropriate modification.
By weight, human hair is 90% keratin, a fibrous protein characterised by high concentrations of disulfide bonds.
When sunlight, bleaches, straighteners or hair dyes damage hair and alter its physical structural components, this leads to the oxidative cleavage of disulfide bonds.
Not surprisingly, the main driving force to strengthen hair is the hydrophobic interactions and disulfide bonds between small peptides and the keratins.
And what’s more, it’s cheap
Wheat proteins, which have abundant disulfide bonds, have the potential to be an effective and healthy ingredient to recover damaged hair by connecting the free sulfydryl exposed on the hair surface and the free sulfydryl exposed from the inner structure of protein through enzymatic hydrolysis.
And because they are abundant and easily extracted, they are available quite cheaply.
The problem to date has been that the common methods used to modify wheat gluten have not been in sync with the properties of the many types of protein hydrolysate from plants and animals used in hair repair products.
“Keratin, whose isoelectric point is 3.8, is negatively charged when applied with hair care product whose pH value is 5–6, whereas most protein hydrolysate is neutral under that condition, which makes the adherence difficult,” the researchers from China’s Jiangnan University say in their paper.
In this study, enzymatic hydrolysis and cationisation with EDDAC of wheat proteins were conducted to improve properties such as solubility, emulsifying ability and disassociation behaviour to enhance the binding ability with damaged hair, and the researchers say the effect was obvious.
“The shampoo with quaternised wheat proteins hydrolysate possessed excellent properties in recovering damaged hair, making the surface of hair smooth and compact,” they say.
The paper published by Royal Society Open Science.