The Latest at TRI

Updated: Oct 5

The pH effect on the bleached hair was presented by Dr. Ernesta Malinauskyte during the Hair S’19 Conference, organized by DWI in September of 2019. We have received many requests to share our findings by attendees of the conference, as well as those who attended our seminar held at TRI at the end of 2019. Unfortunately, we were not able to share the unpublished information...until now!

Figure 1. Medium brown virgin and bleached hair

We would like to introduce a joint publication by Lonza and TRI titled “Effect of equilibrium pH on the structure and properties of bleach-damaged human hair fibers” ( ). This published research paves a foundation for soaking experiments of bleached hair. A lot of scientists seem to struggle to explain certain effects of treatments because there is more than one variable involved. We have begun dissecting this issue by experimenting with clean 3x 9% liquid bleached hair (Figure 1B), which is a model substrate in damage repair studies. Although such levels of bleaching sound terrifying to some people, it really is not. If you look at image B, this is considered to be half-way stage between medium brown European virgin hair (Figure 1A) and hair that is bleached to the level of “platinum” (Figure 1C). Thus, damage levels are reasonable and can represent “real life”.

During this study, we exposed hair to different pH solutions that were composed only of water, sodium hydroxide and hydrochloric acid for 24 h. Minimal composition together with only low molecular sizes of molecules ensured a decent penetration profile and moreover, the possibility to attribute the observed effects to hydrogen or hydroxide ion concentration, or in other words, pH.

The main findings suggest that:

  • pH does not affect tensile breakage within the region of 3-10.

  • Under highly acidic conditions (equilibrium pH~3), the glutamic & aspartic acid side chains of the hair proteins protonate, making the hair less hydrophilic and more compact.

  • In turn, this makes “bad hair days” on humid days less of an issue because hair absorbs less water, is more flexible in dry conditions and less “mushy” in wet conditions. Unfortunately, it also reduces the diameter of the hair fiber and possibly the penetration levels of hydrophilic nutrients including those that are claimed to enrich hair.

  • Slightly acidic conditions (equilibrium pH~5) allow the formation of the best structural integrity and makes hair the stiffest in dry conditions.

  • Under alkaline conditions (equilibrium pH ~10), the hair swells, opening themselves for water and possibly other actives to penetrate, but otherwise not practical for bleached hair owners.

The choice of pH conditions can simply depend on your research and/or marketing goal, or what you want to achieve at home!

For more information about hair and skin science visit us at

Read the full paper at

Updated: Oct 1


An update on how COVID has transformed the way people work at TRI and celebrating promotions for Shruti Patel and Britney Yates.

TRI team members at NYSCC Suppliers Day, May 2019 (L-R) Ernesta Malinauskyte, Jennifer Van Wyk, Britney Yates and Shruti Patel

“Change is the only constant” is a well-used phrase. However, it feels very true at the moment during the COVID-19 pandemic. Measures to contain the virus have changed everyone’s lives dramatically around the world. At TRI we have made many changes to the way we work in order to protect staff and to keep the institute up and running. The biggest change has been the move to flexible working hours and home working. Most of us now work at home where possible and come in only for essential tasks. The good news is that the new flexible working patterns have not hit productivity and TRI has managed to support all its clients throughout lockdown. The team also enjoy the flexibility and the chance to work from home. Home working has helped people manage family commitments and avoid unnecessary commutes. In a way, these changes, although forced upon us, have been a positive thing for the team at TRI, and flexible working patterns are probably here to stay.

Through all these changes the team at TRI have continued to grow and develop. This month two team members received promotions. Shruti Patel has been promoted to Principal Research Associate and Britney Yates has been promoted to Senior Research Associate. Both promotions were very well deserved. “Shruti has shown commitment and dedication to producing high quality data, and strong leadership skills within the team” according to Eleanor Lehman who leads the contract testing team at TRI. Eleanor also praised Britney for “becoming a figure of authority in the virtual team philosophy and mastering a wide range of claim techniques”. Congratulations and well done to both of them!

For more information about testing your products at TRI contact us at

We welcome the littlest new addition to TRI’s family of spectroscopy instrumentation, but don’t let its diminutive size fool you!

With the acquisition of the world’s smallest benchtop FTIR—the Agilent Cary 430, TRI can now bring its spectroscopy capabilities to wherever needed. With a portable, compact unit that can literally fit on the palm of your hands, TRI now offers more flexibility and versatility in its spectroscopy measurements and analysis, without compromising data quality.

TRI has continued to offer a wide range of testing methods and advanced analysis based on its expertise in vibrational spectroscopy. The Remspec fiber-optic spectroscopy system enabled us to directly analyze scalp and other skin tissue, advancing applications in pre-clinical and clinical settings. The Cary 430 FTIR will similarly provide us with opportunities to develop novel applications—the world is now TRI’s proverbial oyster.

Equipped with a diamond ATR accessory as well as a standard transmission module (with the option to add further sampling accessories), the Cary 630 FTIR is easy to use, extremely fast and reliable. Diminished size here does not equal diminished quality.

For more information about TRI’s spectroscopy-based testing capabilities and to subscribe to our newsletter visit

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