Adhesion and interactions with hair biomolecules

A cosmetic perspective on how hair biomolecules interact

The project is designed to study adsorption to the lipid palisade that forms the boundary of hair. Strategies for robust, hierarchical adsorption are limited by lack of understanding of how the lipid density and the amount of methyl branching affect the attachment, and by the difficulty of direct study of hair. Such knowledge is crucial for the design of protective and restorative coatings and is thus vital for the industry partner, particularly in the current climate where there is an urgent need for new, sustainable materials to replace conventional additives which had years of optimization. Moreover, L’Oréal has developed adsorption models for coadsorbing polymers and surfactants to lipid surfaces based on Self-Consistent Field Theory, but these models require experimental verification and refinement.

Neutron reflectance provides the ideal experimental window to understand how the unique branching of hair lipids affects self-assembly and adsorption in water. It is ideal for understanding hierarchical adsorption, where deuteration will provide the contrast. Hair mimetic surfaces will then be produced and their characteristics as well as their interaction properties will be studied at the SuperADAM and FIGARO reflectometers at ILL. The studies will be supported by AFM and in-situ adsorption studies in Sweden.

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