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11/23/89 11:38 123/6781 larry@kitty.UUCP (Larry Lippman)

In article <>, (Mark Robert
Thorson) writes:

> I was in the store a few days ago looking for a new bottle of shampoo.
> Reading the label, I was surprised to see it contained hydrolysed animal
> protein.  Protein is a big, stupid fad in shampoos.  Somehow, people have
> gotten the idea that because hair is made of protein, that it is good for
> the hair to put protein on it.  This is false, totally false.
        While the marketing of shampoos and "hair conditioners" containing
a-keratins, collagen, casein, etc. is largely based upon hype, there is
some factual basis for the use of these ingredients in "conditioning"
and "stabilizing" the structure of hair.  So the point is, there is a
"grain of truth" for the inclusion of these substances in hair preparations.
        However, the actual *quantity* of these ingredients included in the
product is usually far less than that which is required for any efficacy.
If one examines the wording on a typical product label, there is usually
never any claim as to the quantity of the ingredient - only an ambiguous
statement like "Contains Keratin".
        The deception is NOT that the special ingredient has no efficacy,
but that the quantity contained within the product is insufficient for any
reasonable degree of efficacy.  My use of the word "deception" above may
be somewhat harsh, but such is the simple truth of much consumer product
        Why not include an *effective* quantity of a substance such as
a-keratin?  Two reasons:
1.      These "special ingredients" are very expensive when compared to
        the basic ingredients in say, a shampoo.  The base formulation
        for a typical shampoo contains such ingredients as: one or more
        surfactants (ammonium lauryl sulfate, lauramide diethanolamine,
        etc.); a softener (polyethylene glycol); an emulsifier (hydroxypropyl
        methylcellulose); a detergent "enhancer" (citric acid); a foam
        inhibitor (sodium chloride); a pH adjusting agent (phosphoric acid);
        antibacterial and antifungal agents (methychloroisothiazolinone
        and methyl para-hydroxybenzoate); fragance; FDA-approved dye; and
        deionized water.
        The above ingredients may be used to produce a reasonably effective
        shampoo having a typical formulation cost of between 10 and 15 cents
        per pound (if this sounds low, don't forget water is still the primary
        constituent).  Adding enough a-keratin to be truly effective increases
        formulation cost by an order of magnitude.  Adding enough a-keratin
        to satisfy the FDA and FTC with respect to "truth in labeling" costs
        only a few cents.
2.      Cost issues notwithstanding, adding *effective* quanities of an
        ingredient such as a-keratin creates some significant product
        formulation problems with respect to undesired reactivity with the
        surfactants, overall product stability, product "appearance" and
        product "feel".
        I'll tell y'all a little "inside" story about consumer product
formulation and marketing which underscores the above.  I don't usually post
personal details to the Net, but I'll make an exception here.
        During the 1950's and 1960's my late father ran a family-owned
business which produced various soap and chemical specialty products.  The
most notable product (with which some Net readers may be familiar) is a
water-waterless hand cleaner known as "DL".  Revealed to the world for the
first time is the fact that "DL" was the initials of David Lippman. :-)
        When I was growing up during these years I spent many saturdays and
school vacation days at my father's plant in Buffalo, NY learning about the
soap and cosmetic industry.  When I was in high school, at various times I
actually ran the process equipment and formulated soap in 5,000 pound
        During the 1950's and 1960's "DL" (and many other soap products
of the era) were advertised as containing lanolin and hexachlorophene, with
lanolin being touted as a skin conditioner and hexachlorophene being touted
for its germicidal capability.  Of course, today, the use of hexachlorophene
is taboo, and the use of lanolin is no longer common.
        During the above years "DL" containers had a prominent label stating
that the product was "Fortified with Lanolin and Hexachlorophene"; however,
this label said *nothing* about quantity or efficacy of these ingredients.
In a typical year when I was in high school, say, 1960, "DL" production was
probably around 4 million pounds per year.  As I recall, there was a 5-pound
fiber container of hexachlorophene which lasted for almost *one year*.  The
hexachlorophene for each batch was so little that it was weighted on a piece
of filter paper and then dumped into a 1,000-gallon "oil-phase" mix tank.
Slightly more lanolin was used; a *single* heated 55-gallon drum (lanolin is
extremely viscous) supplied all of the lanolin necessary for at least six
month's of production.  Some simple arithmetic reveals that the percentage
composition of 500 pounds of lanolin in 2,000,000 pounds of product is
not very much.
        As one can see from the above example, the product was *truthfully*
advertised as containing lanolin and hexachlorophene, and these ingredients
were in fact formulated into the product.  However, no representation was
made as to the included quantity of these ingredients; the amount added was
large enough so as to be immune from any allegation of misrepresentation,
but nevertheless was small enough that no significant cost was added to the
product, and that quite frankly no significant benefit could be derived,
        The above firsthand experience from many years ago serves to
illustrate what still takes place today in many types of consumer soap
and cosmetic products.
> The only
> way that protein could benefit your hair would be if you drink the shampoo.
        Not true; there is some benefit from application of proteins,
although in reality there is usually not be enough protein ingredient in a
product to have any significant effect.
> So, I'm wondering what source of protein they use?  "Hydrolysed animal
> protein" could be leather scraps, fish tails, dried earwigs, or the brains
> of scrapie-infected sheep!
        Animal hair, feathers, hooves and outer skin layers are comprised
of more than 95% a-keratins.  Tendons, ligaments, cartilage and bone marrow
contain large quanities of collagen.  Hydrolysis of such collagen results
in the formation of gelatin.  Remember that the next time you eat a gelatin
dessert, you are probably eating a dead horse.  Really. :-)
<> Larry Lippman @ Recognition Research Corp. - Uniquex Corp. - Viatran Corp.
<> UUCP  {allegra|boulder|decvax|rutgers|watmath}!sunybcs!kitty!larry
<> TEL 716/688-1231 | 716/773-1700  {hplabs|utzoo|uunet}!/      \uniquex!larry
<> FAX 716/741-9635 | 716/773-2488      "Have you hugged your cat today?"

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