Replenishing the 18-MEA layer will go a long way toward repairing the hair, making it stronger and healthier. Shine, smoothness and softness is returned. The results of including this ingredient into the formulations are:
- Restores the natural lipophilic character of damaged hair - less prone to frizz
- Hair becomes much easier to comb when wet or dry as the cuticle lies flat
- Reduces tangling associated with damaged hair and becomes smoother
- As the cuticle lies flat, it reflects light, giving hair a vibrant and shiny appearance.
- Hair is protected against dryness, humidity and environmental aggressors while simultaneously being infused with long-lasting smoothness and shine.
The cuticle is a thin shingle-like structure consisting of layers of overlapping, flat scale-like cells. The cuticle constitutes the outer surface are of the hair fibre and surrounding the cortex, acting like a protective sheath. As the visible area of the hair, the cuticle also gives hair its optical properties (eg; shine and gloss).
|Sandwiched between the overlapping cuticle cells is a multi-component layer known as the Cell Membrane Complex (CMC), which acts as a protective cushion and cement between the cuticle scale layers. It is within this framework that most of our natural lipids are bound.|
18-MEA is the significant component of these lipids, with an inclusion of up to 40%. 18-MEA is responsible for providing hair with its hydrophobicity (water-repellent property), which protects hair by preventing it from absorbing too much water from the environment. It also provides hair with softness, smoothness, and shine. An intact layer of 18-MEA acts to decrease tangling in wet hair and during the transition from wet to dry, by encouraging adjacent hair strands to lie neatly in parallel to one another, smoothly aligned.
When hairs surface is damaged and the 18-MEA is reduced, the strands become entangled and stuck to one another, and the hair dries more quickly in these tangles, resulting in greater tangling when hair is dry. Loss of the protective 18-MEA layer renders hair hydrophilic, so that it absorbs too much water from the environment, which leads to frizz and physical damage to the hair due to swelling and breaking of structures. Hair lacking its lipid layer is also more prone to tangling, frizz, breakage, and loss of curl structure.