The Latest at TRI

This year we celebrate TRI Princeton’s 90th birthday

It was on June 11th, 1930 that the US Senate passed Bill #327 demanding that we create an Institute to study Textiles, and up rose the new Textile Research Institute. Its mission, to research, educate and disseminate scientific information on textiles. Indeed, a copy of this Bill, signed by President Herbert Hoover himself (along with the pen he used to sign it!), still sits on the walls of the offices today.

With such a “royal” charter, Textile Research Institute Inc. started life investigating cotton and wool for clothing and created much that helped civilian and military garment design and manufacture throughout many decades.  It also became heavily involved into the growing industry of man-made fibers, made with home spun synthetic polymers.  Eventually the textile industry left USA and found other quarters in the Far East leaving the Textile Research Institute Inc. seeking another sector. It was then that the Institute began to focus on cosmetics through the study of hair properties and hair products. 

As the cosmetic market has grown year on year, TRI Princeton has grown too, and even launched into scalp and skin research through its spectroscopy work.  Today, TRI Princeton is a hallmark of quality in cosmetic science. We have over 20 Member companies, from all over the world, who gain full advantage of the research and claims testing we perform. Despite now having a modern, diverse and multinational team of scientists, TRI Princeton still retains that old-fashioned quality of professional service and support, and we plan to continue this into our upcoming 10th decade!

Dr Trefor Evans, Institute Fellow and Director of Research, has published another, in a long line, of his famous articles on hair claims substantiation in Cosmetics & Toiletries Magazine. This time Trefor focuses on hair softness.

The North American hair conditioner market is expected to reach $3.1 billion by 2023. Furthermore, hair conditioners account for 53% of the whole US hair care market. Despite this, one of the key end-benefits associated with hair conditioners, hair softness, has still not properly been characterized. In this article Trefor takes the reader through the latest developments in testing the flexibility of hair, including single fibre bending and torsion experiments. He also explains how hair water content and some formulation ingredients can affect fibre stiffness. In end, however, he explains that hair surface friction may be one of the main drivers for consumer perception of hair softness. Clearly, there is still much more to learn about this very important and illusive attribute. Please contact Trefor if you are interested in hair softness claims (


T.A. Evans, A Soft Touch. Concepts in Hair Softness, Cosmetics & Toiletries, Vol. 134(10), 46-53, Nov/Dec (2019)

Dr Paul Cornwell, Director Business Development, and Dr Ernesta Malinauskyte, Principle Research Scientist in Hair Care Research, have pulled together a new review on hair breakage in Afro-textured hair. This follows-on from an article last year on ethnic hair care from Dr Trefor Evans, Institute Fellow and Director of Research.

An Afro-textured hair fibre with a longitudinal crack forming.

Afro-textured hair, known for its tight curls, is well-known to be prone to breakage; chemically straightened Afro-textured hair even more so. As a result, hair breakage is one of the top concerns of consumers with this hair type. The question being asked at TRI is: why is Afro-textured hair so fragile? In this review article, Paul and Ernesta work through all the evidence in the literature that might explain what is happening. Is it related to the shape of the hair, or composition of the hair, or the inner structure of the hair? The conclusion, at this stage, is that tight curls increase tangling. The shape also creates internal stresses when the hair is unbent, untwisted or stretched. The uneven internal structure of the hair further adds to the problems. More work is being done by Paul, Ernesta and Trefor in the TRI Textured Hair programme to explore things further and to design solutions. If you are interested in supporting our Afro-textured hair research programme please contact Paul (


Cornwell, P. and Malinauskyte, E. Defying Damage: Understanding Breakage in Afro-textured Hair. Cosmetics & Toiletries Magazine, February, 21-29 (2020) T.A. Evans, New Focus for Ethnic Hair, Cosmetics & Toiletries Magazine, Vol. 134(6), June, 35-41 (2019)

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