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LustrePlex - A "Miracle Cure" for Black Hair??

As a manufacturer we tend to shy away from any claims that any ingredient or product is a "miracle" or a "cure" for anything. Miracles are reserved to God and Cures are reserved to the scientists and physicians.

However, every once in a while along comes an ingredient (or combination as in many hair products) that make you step back and say "that's pretty dang great" - as we say in Atlanta. So it is with LustrePlex.

LustrePlex has been around for a while, but not until the launch of Healthy Hair Plus's ProFolla Silk brand has it gained as much claim or recognition - especially as it relates to Black and African American hair. Here's why...

Targeting Specific Needs of Black HairProfolla Silk with LustrePlex for Black hair

Specific needs of Black Hair certainly is a broad phrase, yet LustrePlex, developed by Croda labs, has been patented to do just that - address biological requirements of coarse, thick, curly common to Black and many ethnic hair types. The use of LustrePlex in hair products can...
  • Improve overall appearance providing a lustrous, healthy and vibrant look and feel
  • Improve shine and reflectivity - especially needed for styles that have been chemically treated
  • Condition to add and help retain moisture and hydration
  • Control frizz and prevent tangles - especially helpful for hair/follicles that are porous and susceptible to high levels of humidity
  • No build-up - a requirement if styles demand use of sprays, gels, oils or mousse
  • Protects from cuticle damage - again, a requirement to guard against damage from flat irons, blow dryers, curlers and straighteners

Why The Fuss?

Hair is an interesting issue. For many of us, we do extraordinary things to get the right style, cut, design...and we invest heavily in products that help get us to where we want to be.

For Black hair, the opportunity for styles is endless, but there requires a lot of work. Straightening, relaxing, creams, gels, heated appliances (flat irons, curling irons, et al), relaxers, and chemical treatments are just the beginning if you want tightly curly hair straight, wavy or natural.

LustrePlex is one of the few ingredients - certainly the most successful - at
providing the fundamental needs required of thick, curly, coarse - and certainly - chronically dry hair. While we won't delve into the biology of Black hair, it's sufficient to say it's nature makes it very difficult to keep moisturized; thus, there are continued problems with dryness, breaking, loss of shine, and brittleness.

Controlling Frizz and Humidity Resistance

I believe we are all familiar with how high humidity and frizzy hair seem to go together.

Technically, frizz and puffiness is created as hair absorbs moisture beyond a certain level. Relative humidity at or below 50% generally has little effect on hair; however, as Relative Humidity (RH) rises towards 80% follicles become super-saturated and begin to expand resulting in increased curliness, loss of control, and the common term frizz.

Ironically, moisture in the hair gives it flexibility and allows nutrients to circulate and flow improving hair health. Conversely, low humidity levels make hair dry, brittle and prone to damage - especially during winter months when RF can be very low and is compounded by windy weather.

LustrePlex was shown to significantly reduce the effect of RH on the expansion of the follicle thus reducing frizz and out-of-control hair.


When compared to several ingredients commonly used to prevent frizz, it show a 10% more effectiveness than control elements and as much as 25% improvement over similar active ingredients - especially compared to PQ-10. In fact, studies indicate no relative increase hair tress frizz with RH levels as high as 80%!

Keeping the Shine & Shine Retention

Repeated washings, shampooing and styling can greatly reduce shine - which for many is a key indicator of healthy hair. In fact, studies indicate 3 shampoos sessions will reduce shine (Luster Index - L) by as much as 20%.

Again, in clinical studies compared to similar ingredients and with control shampoos, the addition of LustrePlex in the formula allowed for a 97% retention of L and reflectivity. This makes it especially useful for styles that have been bleached, are styled or shampooed often or for those that have been chemically treated.

Detangling

Effectiveness of detangling is measured by Wet Combing tests that measures the wet combing for and related friction. Effectively, the "slip" is measured to baseline formulations and conditioned and non-conditioned hair with silicone comparisons. Whether used in shampoos or conditioners, detangling is a key component reviewed on several hair types - including bleached hair. In studies, LustrePlex reduced combing for and detangling effort as much as 29% with significant improvements over comparable formulations on bleached and virgin hair.

Product Build-Up & Dulling

Though product build-up is not considered at the top of the list of concerns by many consumers, it is an item of measurement when considering efficacy of product ingredients. Build-up from shampoo, conditioner, or styling aid residue dulls hair, increases it's weight and can flatten styles. Often these effects go unnoticed until build-up makes hair unmanageable leaving the consumer wondering what is wrong with their style.

While "clarifying shampoos" per se wash-away residue, it is helpful and considered valuable to have an ingredient or shampoo that minimizes this residue accumulation to begin with. LustrePlex, when compared to 3 other formulations and ingredients had superior rinseability and low residue deposits - substantially increasing gloss and body over the testing period.

Strength & Protection

The ability of an ingredient to strengthen and protect is measured by Flexabrasion - measurement of three components of hair fibers - tensile extension (stretching), flexure and abrasion. In terms of strength - resistance to damage and breakage, Flexabrasion is an indicator of splitting and premature fracturing of the follicle shaft.

For excessively dry or brittle hair types, this is critical. LusterPlex performed tests showed significant improvement over control shampoos as well as a clarifying shampoo - some of which strip protective oils leaving follicles weak and prone to damage.

Use in Conditioners

While much talk concerns use of LustrePlex in Black and African American hair products - in particular shampoos, it is also an excellent additive used in conditioners. ProFolla Silk's Growth Conditioner and Moisture Conditioner both are formulated with LustrePlex for the very same reasons and benefits stated above.

Considering it washes-away clean and contains no sulfates, it's use in conditioners provide even more of the benefits stated above - namely...
  • Significant humidity and frizz resistance
  • Protection from shine loss
  • No build-up or residue deposits
  • Improves strength, flexibility and damage protection

Conclusion

While LustrePlex may not be a cure for Black hair it certainly provides many of the targeted treatments needed for maintaining healthy Black hair. Its ability to decrease breakage, improve and maintain shine, resist frizz and humidity, and add smoothness and detangling benefits make it ideal for Black and African American hair products!
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