The Latest at TRI

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, TRI has continued to work with students enthusiastic about cosmetic science.

TRI has many requests every year from students all over the world asking to join us for summer internships and research placements. We also have many requests to help co-supervise undergraduate and post-graduate student projects. The COVID situation this year, however, has meant that we could not work directly with students and we have had to be a very creative in the ways that TRI could help.

Vanessa Castro is a third-year undergraduate chemistry student at Pennsylvania State University with a real passion for cosmetic science and was interested a summer internship at TRI. We couldn’t arrange an on-site role, so this summer Vanessa has been working remotely, helping us to add material to the TRI Library. She has done a fantastic job, indexing and uploading hundreds of TRI research reports. Take a look at her work at . Dea Zhilivoda is also passionate about cosmetic science and is completing a master’s degree in Cosmetic Science at Liverpool John Moores University, UK. The COVID epidemic has meant that laboratory-based projects for students at Liverpool had to be cancelled. Instead, Dea has worked remotely with Paul Cornwell from TRI on a literature review on hair conditioning ingredients. Four months and many Zoom meetings later, Dea has submitted her dissertation on time and to very high standard. We all wish her the best of luck for her final marks!

TRI’s commitment to education continues, with new projects and collaborations starting this academic term. Fingers crossed we can fully open our doors to students again in 2021.

Recent studies by TRI show how shampoos, conditioners and leave-in styling products also spread on your skin.

We are all guilty of it aren’t we? If it says it is a ‘hair product’ on the label then, we rationalise, that the hair is the only part of the body it affects. We don’t think of hair products as skin products, but, of course, they are. When you apply and rinse-off, for example, a shampoo in the shower, this product is contacting your scalp, your face and rest of you body. Normally, this doesn’t matter, because cosmetic products are, by law, formulated to be very safe for us to use. However, some dermatologists now suspect that hair product build-up on the skin might, in some people, be related to skin conditions such as scalp acne.

In order to study this further, Dr Samuel Gourion-Arsiquaud and Dr Rezma Shrestha, both of the Skin and Bio-substrates Group at TRI, together with Iris Rubin M.D., of SEEN Hair Care, have used spectroscopy techniques to measure hair product deposition on the skin during normal in-use conditions. Their study, recently published in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology, shows that shampoos and conditioners are not completed removed by rinsing and that residues end-up on our scalp, forehead, cheek and upper back. They also show that leave-on styling products applied just to the hair, also, over time, transfer to our skin.

Please visit our TRI Library for more information, or our website if you are interested in working with us to explore this fascinating area.

This month Dr Trefor Evans from TRI presented his work at an on-line version of the International Wool Research Conference.

COVID-19 and the associated lock-down has made things very difficult for conference organisers. However, many scientific associations have now started to embrace on-line events. These make international conferences much more accessible and affordable to scientists around the world and also help reduce carbon emissions. This year the International Wool Textile Organisation ( moved their International Wool Research Conference on-line. The event, hosted by AgResearch in New Zealand, ran over two sessions, on 26th and 27th August, and attracted a wide range of presenters and attendees from around the world. Dr Evans represented TRI and presented on ‘New insights into hair breakage from single fibre fatigue experiments’. For those who missed Dr Evans’ presentation, a copy will be made available in the TRI Library for TRI Member Companies ( ).

The International Wool Research Conference will hopefully return as a live event in 2021, but Virtu-Wool has shown what is possible in the new on-line world. Nothing will be quite the same again.

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