The Latest at TRI

Updated: Nov 11

The ‘TRI/ITC Multi-Ethnic Hair and Scalp Care Symposium’, was held on-line on 4th, 5th and 6th October. Two of the hot topics shared at the Symposium in the area of hair research are covered in this short blog: hair porosity and hair braiding damage.

The symposium opened with a key-note presentation about the hair care market in Africa by Elke Weimann (BASF) . Elke showed that the sub-Saharan hair care market was worth €2.1 Bn in 2019 and that the biggest growth area was in hair conditioners and care treatments (3.3% value growth). Consumer research by BASF showed that hair breakage remained a major hair concern for 56% of women. However, a surprisingly high number, 70-80%, also believed their hair had medium-high porosity. Clearly this is another major unmet need.

Looking at hair porosity from a different, more scientific perspective, Kimum Park (Croda) described, in his poster presentation, how he and his team were looking at how hair damage and hair repair treatments affect water uptake into hair and hair swelling . His data showed that very curly hair does, indeed, swell more than straighter hair types. So, perhaps African consumers are right to say their hair is more porous! A discussion then ensued as to what hair ‘porosity’ actually means. Is there a disconnect between what consumers mean and what scientists mean? Clearly, more work is required to get the bottom of this intriguing question and to meet consumer needs.

Building on the theme of hair damage in African hair, Poonam Sewraj (L’Oréal ), in her key-note presentation, shared her team’s work on understanding the underlying mechanisms . Using SEM and single fibre mechanical fatigue testing, Poonam showed how typical styling practices used in Africa impart damage to the hair. It was interesting to hear that hair braiding, something that is widely regarded by consumers as a way of protecting their hair, can actually be damaging to the hair.

The subject of braiding damage was also covered by Rebecca Lunn (Diastron) . In good agreement with Poonam’s presentation, Rebecca showed how the act of twisting the hair, as you would when you braid it, reduced its fatigue strength. Clearly, further work is required to understand braiding damage in more detail, and to design ways of mitigating this damage.

For more information about hair and skin science, and information about future events, visit us at

Updated: Oct 21

The scalp microbiome emerged as a major theme at the recent ‘TRI/ITC Multi-Ethnic Hair and Scalp Care Symposium’, held on-line on 4th, 5th and 6th October. The key insights and latest discoveries shared at the Symposium are covered in this short blog.

An introduction to the skin microbiome was given by Dr Apostolos Pappas in a presentation called “Skin and scalp microbiome: An emerging era for innovation” . Many valuable insights were shared, but, perhaps, the most thought-provoking was idea that the diverse populations of microorganisms present on the skin, along with the skin itself, should be considered as an integrated ecosystem. Change one part of any ecosystem and the consequences can be wide-ranging. This is where the wolves came into the story. Apostolos shared a short film about the effects of the reintroduction of the wolves into Yellowstone National Park in the US. Adding the wolves back changed the whole ecosystem of the park. The same could happen, argued Apostolos, when, for example, a live probiotic or an anti-microbial active is applied to the skin.

In his presentation Apostolos reviewed recent publications on skin and scalp microbiome and how the microbiome changes in various skin conditions such as eczema and acne. New insights into the differences in the microbiome in normal vs oily scalp skin were also shared in a poster presentation from Sabrina Leoty-Okombi (BASF), titled “Comparison of oily versus normal scalp microbiota” . This work showed that oily scalp skin had a high abundance of lipophilic and anaerobic bacteria, which were hypothesized to be thriving off the sebum rich scalp. Oily scalps also had a deficiency in some commensal bacteria, which support good scalp health.

In another poster presentation titled “Exploring microbial associations on alopecia-affected scalps” , Jarrad Hampton-Marcell (Argonne National Laboratory) shared the work his team had done in trying to untangle the effects of alopecia on the scalp microbiome from other effects, such as panellist age. The surprising finding from this paper was that alopecia was associated with an increase in bacterial diversity. Those of us in the cosmetics industry claiming that increasing bacterial diversity on the skin (i.e. a higher Shannon Index value) is a good thing should take note. Life isn’t always that simple!

Finally, Christin Koch (Symrise) presented a poster titled “Innovative dandruff control based on mycobiome & microbiome understanding” . In this very innovative piece of work, Christin showed how a new anti-dandruff ingredient, propanediol caprylate, is cleaved by lipases excreted by Malassezia into caprylic acid and propanediol. The caprylic acid is anti-microbial and controlled the levels Malassezia. In this way the Malassezia became self-regulating. The active showed promising anti-dandruff efficacy.

In conclusion, many of the presentations at the Symposium ( have shown that scalp itch and inflammation is a common problem for consumers with very curly hair. Clearly, the scalp microbiome plays a huge role in this, and we are just at the beginning of a new era of innovation in this area.

For more information about hair and skin science, and information about future events, visit us at

Updated: Oct 19

The ‘TRI/ITC Multi-Ethnic Hair and Scalp Care Symposium’, held on-line on 4th, 5th and 6th October, has received tremendous, positive feedback from attendees.

The symposium co-organized by TRI Princeton and the International Trichology Congress ran over three days, with a poster session on day 1, and with keynote lectures on days 2 and 3(see for more info.). We had 200+ attendees on most days, coming from all around the world and from both trichology and cosmetic science backgrounds. The subjects covered were very diverse, including; hair science, scalp conditions and treatments, scalp microbiome and formulation science. Over the next few weeks our blogs will review the big messages coming out of the meeting. You can view the abstracts for all the presentations at . Only those registered at the conference can re-read the slides and view the videos.

Here are some comments from delegates made at the end of the symposium;

“Excellent online event! Very interesting topics from porosity to microbiome! Congratulations!!”
“Amazing and inspiring speakers this year, covering some really fascinating topics (especially microbiome!). Although this year’s event has been virtual, it hasn’t really impacted on the quality of the content and the overall experience. Thoroughly enjoyed all 3 evenings”
“Awesome collaboration ITC and TRI! Thank you so much for adapting the event so that it could be attended online. All fascinating speakers…brilliant!”
“This has been one of the best symposiums of 2020 and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the presenters and their presentations…”

For more information about hair and skin science, and information about future events, visit us at

TRI Princeton

601 Prospect Avenue
Princeton, NJ 08540


TRI is a 501(c)3 Corporation

@2020 by TRI Princeton

Quick Links
Contact Us