How Molecular Weight Impacts Silk Sericin’s Performance in Hair Care Formulations

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Silk proteins have gained popularity in hair care formulations due to their remarkable benefits for promoting healthier, more lustrous hair. As a formulator looking to incorporate silk proteins into hair care products, it’s crucial to understand how the molecular weight of silk sericin affects its performance and benefits.

Understanding Silk Proteins in Hair Care

Silk is composed primarily of two proteins:

  •  Fibroin: The structural protein that gives silk its strength
  • Sericin: A gummy protein that coats and binds fibroin fibers

When processed for use in cosmetics, these proteins are typically hydrolyzed to create smaller peptides and amino acids. The molecular weight of hydrolyzed silk proteins, particularly sericin, plays a significant role in determining their properties and effectiveness in hair care formulations.

Impact of Molecular Weight on Sericin Performance

The molecular weight of sericin can be classified into four main categories:

Ultra-Low Molecular Weight (<5 kDa)

  • Penetrates deeply into the hair shaft and scalp
  • Provides intense moisturization and nourishment
  • Acts as a humectant to retain moisture
  • Improves hair elasticity
  • Exhibits anti-aging and anti-wrinkle effects

Low Molecular Weight (5-20 kDa)

  • Penetrates deeper into the hair shaft and scalp
  • Provides moisturization and nourishment from within
  • Helps repair damage and strengthen hair roots
  • Acts as a humectant to retain moisture

Medium Molecular Weight (20-50 kDa)

  • Balances penetration and film-forming properties
  • Creates a protective barrier on the hair surface
  • Imparts smoothness and shine
  • Delivers nutrients to the hair cortex
  • Improves manageability and reduces frizz

High Molecular Weight (>50 kDa)

  • Forms a robust protective film on the hair surface
  • Provides excellent conditioning and detangling effects
  • Enhances hair gloss and texture
  • Adds volume and structure
  • Limited penetration, focuses on surface-level benefits

Formulation Considerations

When developing hair care products with silk sericin, consider the following best practices:

1. Determine desired outcomes and select appropriate molecular weight(s)

2. Balance benefits of different molecular weights for comprehensive treatment

3. Consider combining multiple molecular weights for synergistic effects

4. Match molecular weight to product type (e.g. ultra-low MW for deep treatments, high MW for styling products)

5. Optimise formulations for specific hair types and concerns

Ultra-LowIntense Moisturization, ElasticitySerums, Intensive Treatments
LowMoisturization, RepairLeave-in conditioners, Hair masks
MediumProtection, ShineDaily shampoos, Conditioners
HighConditioning, ManageabilityDetangling sprays, Styling products

By understanding how molecular weight impacts sericin’s performance, formulators can create innovative and effective hair care products that harness the full potential of silk proteins. Partner with trusted manufacturers of hydrolyzed silk proteins to source high-quality ingredients for your formulations.

Remember to conduct thorough testing to ensure optimal performance and compatibility with other ingredients in your hair care products. With the right approach, silk sericin can be a powerful addition to your hair care formulations, providing multiple benefits for healthier, more beautiful hair.






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