L’Oréal files patent on natural sugar-based curly hair styling formula

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

L'Oréal says its formula offers an alternative to polymer-based products that can often be sticky on application and dry stiff [Getty Images]
L'Oréal says its formula offers an alternative to polymer-based products that can often be sticky on application and dry stiff [Getty Images]

Related tags L'oréal Patent Hair care Hair styling products natural beauty curly hair Natural cosmetics

International beauty major has developed a hair styling formulation for curly hair from a blend of sugar compounds and plant fibre, offering a natural and light-weight alternative to film-forming polymer and silicone products.

Writing in its international patent​, L’Oréal said it had developed a leave-in hair styling composition from a blend of sugar alcohols, saccharide compounds and pectin that provided “excellent hair styling benefits” ​for curly hair, without the need for synthetic film-forming polymers and/or silicones. The formulation, it said, offering durable styling, shaping benefits, curl definition, curl regularity, improved shine and frizz control.

The blend could be used in a variety of non-emulsion leave-in hair styling formats, including gels, creams, milks, mousses and clays, but also even sprays where it could be incorporated as part of a hair care kit with a shampoo, conditioner and hair mask. L’Oréal said this international patent claimed benefit of priority to US and French patents filed back in February 2020 and March 2020, respectively.

Multi-functional hair care that is ‘pleasing to the senses’

“Consumers desire new multi-functional hair products that can impart good styling benefits to hair, are durable, and impart certain cosmetic characteristics to the hair,” ​L’Oréal wrote in its patent.

“Such products should be pleasing to the senses, have innovative, interesting and/or pleasing textures, without loss in functional performance. Furthermore, many consumers prefer hair products that provide a light feel, are easy to apply, and add shine and lustre to the hair.”

However, the company said some existing products designed for hair styling and shaping were “often sticky or tacky upon application”​ and once dried could become “stiff and/or crunchy” – ​aspects that were “undesirable for many consumers”.

L’Oréal said its formulation addressed these issues, providing a “clean, natural and light-weight feel”.

‘Hold and control’ with a ‘soft touch feel’

The blend of at least one sugar alcohol, at least one saccharide compound, a pectin, at least one water-soluble solvent and water imparted a “variety of desirable properties to hair”,​ it said.

“The synergy amongst these components results in compositions that provide desirable softening attributes, holding ability, and styling properties to hair.”

The sugar alcohol used in the formulation could be an individual ingredient like isomalt, sorbitol, erythritol, among others, or mixtures thereof; suitable saccharide compounds included glucose, sucrose, cellulose or blends.

Testing showed the inclusion of sugar alcohols imparted “appreciable discipline to the hair”,​ L’Oréal wrote, increasing hair fibre distribution and glucose provided “hold and control” ​– better than inulin and maltodextrin. Inclusion of pectin then provided “hydration and moisture with a soft touch feel”, ​it said.

Importantly, L’Oréal said the formula could be used on wet or damp curly hair for air-dried styling but also be used on the second day as “a refresher to reactivate the curls”.

No synthetic polymers or silicones

The company said that whilst a variety of additional ingredients could be added to the composition, it was possible to use this natural ingredient blend without synthetic polymers, like film-forming polymers, or silicones; making it unique and avoiding undesired product attributes.

“Depending on the chemical make-up of these polymers, they may be either soluble in water, or they may be water insoluble polymers (…) Solutions comprising these polymers tend to be viscous, i.e. as the concentration of the polymer increases, its viscosity builds up rapidly. Translated to styling applications, as the solvent evaporates, the polymer solution becomes thicker on the hair surface, resulting in a sticky or tacky film,” ​L’Oréal said.


WIPO International Patent No. WO/2021/173399
Published on: September 2, 2021. Filed on: February 17, 2021.
Title: “Cosmetic compositions containing a sugar alcohol, a saccharide compound and pectin and methods of use”
Inventor: L’Oréal – D. Parikh, V. Comeron-Decarlo and AK. Suleiman

Related topics Formulation & Science Hair Care

Related news

Show more

Related products

Calendula Cellular Elixir: Alchemy in a cell

Calendula Cellular Elixir: Alchemy in a cell

Content provided by Naolys | 11-Jun-2024 | Product Brochure

Get ready to experience a cellular evolution in skincare with InnerLift Calendula's advanced Plant Cell biotechnology.

Follow us


View more



Beauty 4.0 Podcast