UNIQUE Styling Products
A clear hair styling polymer with a naturally derived and renewable profile compared to
market-leading synthetic nonionic styling polymers.
Laurie J. Marshall, Amanda Evers and Maryalice Belluscio, AkzoNobel Global Personal Care, Bridgewater, NJ
TODAY’S CONSUMERS are increasingly discerning and demand- ing when it comes to the products they’ll use to create hairstyles that look good, last long and feel great. The development of hair styling products that meet performance and cost
requirements is further complicated by the consumers’ desire for
products that contain naturally derived or sustainable ingredients.
To meet these requirements, formulators must move beyond
the traditional portfolio of synthetic polymers that have long been
employed as the hair fixative ingredients in gels, mousses and
styling aids. AkzoNobel Personal Care has developed a new hair
fixative polymer that features an improved sustainability profile
compared to traditional styling polymers, such as PVP (
polyvinylpyrrolidone) and VP/VA (vinyl pyrrolidone/vinyl acetate) copolymers. Innovation in natural polymer modification has enabled
the development of this new polymer, which can be used to create
styling products with a more sustainable and renewable ingredient profile while still maintaining the formulation attributes and
performance characteristics desired by the consumer.
Styling Gel Basics
Hair styling gels and related styling products are designed to help
create unique styles and hold the style in place. A well-formulated gel will remain flexible when initially applied to the hair but
will become stiff as it dries. The primary ingredient that makes
a styling gel hold the hair in place is the fixative polymer. These
polymers are typically based on synthetic vinyl monomers such
as PVP or VP/VA copolymer. They give good hold while remaining sufficiently hydrophilic to be easily washed out of the hair.
The other ingredient that is critical in a styling gel is the rheology modifier. There are countless cosmetically-acceptable rheology modifiers or thickening agents that can be used for styling
applications. The most common styling gel rheology modifier is
carbomer, a synthetic acrylic polymer that is acidic when put into
a water solution. When the polymer is neutralized with a base
such as triethanolamine, it causes crosslinking within the polymer, which in turn creates the distinctive gel rheology and texture
that is popular with today’s consumer.
Other ingredients, including colorants, solubilizers, solvents,
emollients, spreading agents, preservatives and conditioning
agents, have varying degrees of effect on the overall performance
of the styling product. But the fixative polymer and the rheology
modifier are the main determinants of the overall attributes of a
Chemistry and Properties
Consumer interest in naturally derived styling products continues to grow, but efficacy remains paramount. Consumers want
more natural products that strike the right balance of performance and value. By utilizing the naturally derived oligosaccharide maltodextrin as a starting material, scientists at AkzoNobel
Personal Care have created a styling polymer that features a more
renewable profile versus traditional PVP or VP/VA copolymers.
This unique polymer is produced via polymerization of n-vinyl
pyrrolidone in the presence of maltodextrin. This new hybrid technology has been assigned the INCI name Maltodextrin/VP copolymer. The polymer is nonionic, supplied as a 25% solids solution in
water, and contains a globally accepted preservative. The proposed
structure of Maltodextrin/VP copolymer is shown in Figure 1.
When incorporated into hair styling formulations,
Maltodextrin/VP copolymer provides exceptional clarity and
consumer-preferred rheology. These features are typically associated with synthetic fixative polymers, and to date have not
been achievable with more naturally derived starting materials.
Maltodextrin/VP copolymer contains more than 50% naturally
derived content, resulting in an improved sustainability profile
compared with traditional synthetic nonionic fixative polymers.
Maltodextrin/VP copolymer is the first more sustainable hair fixative polymer in the marketplace to provide excellent clarity, carbomer compatibility and desirable on-hair performance.
60 • happi