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Fundamental hair science with L'Oreal


Description of impact

“Our experience of working with the research team at the University of Portsmouth was excellent both technically and humanly, it was good to have direct contact with the researchers, fruitful discussions."
- Dr Gustavo Luengo, Nano-physics and Electron Microscopy Laboratory, L’ORÉAL Research, France.

Who is affected

Researchers at L'Oreal as a result of the Contract R&D work (2 UPEL contracts) that also led to a joint publication in Journal of Structural Biology.Researchers (academic and industrial) involved in hair science, cosmetics and toiletries. 


Since the company was founded in 1907 by the chemist Eugene Schueller, scientific research has been the heart of the L’Oréal Group's strategy. The performance, safety and quality of products rely on continuous search for innovative scientific advances. More than 3% of the Group’s turnover is invested in R & D every year with research centres in France, Japan and the United States employing over 2,800 staff working in 30 different specialist fields such as chemistry, biology and toxicology. L’Oréal is able to carry out all stages of research and development, starting with advanced research into hair and skin.
Hair is of obvious importance to those engaged in the cosmetics industry. Most cosmetics try to improve the hair’s sensory perception, such as touch and softness, especially when it has been subjected to various treatments and repeated handling. Behind this macroscopic perception, there exists a molecular mechanism that is poorly understood.
L’Oréal Research commissioned the Scanning Probe Microscopy Laboratory of the Faculty of Science to measure the frictional properties of the outermost surfaces of a variety of human hairs, using Atomic Force and Lateral Force Microscopy, with the aim of both understanding the role fatty acids on the surface of the cuticle and investigating how treatments or ethnic origin affect this layer.

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