Scheme 1. Introduction to the self-assembly of halloysite clay nanotubes on hair: hair with applied clay nanotubes and development of the coating from anchoring in the cuticle to capillary force/drying driven surface assembly (A) and atomic force microscopic (AFM) and scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images of a group of dried clay nanotubes (B–C).
Kazan Federal University and Louisiana Tech University are working on an innovative hair solution.
The technology is based on halloysite nanotubes, which can be filled with various compounds, such as dyes, medications, etc. A dye-filled powder can distribute itself over hair surface and persist for up 30 washing episodes.
Researchers have found a way to treat hair surface with strictly physical effects and without chemical reactions.
Head of Bionanotechnology Lab Rawil Fakhrullin, Kazan Federal University, explains, “We have been working with halloysite – ceramic nanotubes with external diameter of about 50 – 60 nm, internal diameter of 10 – 15 nm, and length of 0.5 – 1.5 mcm. We use halloysite for new ways of drug delivery and tissue engineering. This time, we approached the problem from the opposite direction and asked ourselves – what would happen if we suspended hair in ceramic nanotubes.”
The effect is based on self-assembly of nanotubes and does not require any solvents or alkaline additives. Thus, an opportunity emerges to use non-water-soluble dyes, something that was not possible before. Experiments have shown that grey or damaged hair can be dyed in 5 minutes.
The most obvious application here is the improvement of cosmetic and medical solutions for hair care with the use of safe clay colloids. Moreover, pediculosis treatment is also viable in this case.
“We managed to load the tubes with several medications for lice eradication. Experiments were conducted on worms, and the compounds prove to be biocidal,” adds Dr. Fakhrullin. “Usually, lice can be easily gotten rid of at home or in a clinic. However, in extreme situations, such as floods or earthquakes, the problem may become of a different scale. Lots of people may be cramped together, and hygiene routines can be disrupted. Nanotubes can be of help in such conditions. You can wash your hair once, and no repeated treatment is needed.”
Veterinarian practice may also benefit from the technology. In summer, parasites pose serious threats to cattle. Labor-intensive treatment procedures can be replaced by nanotubes as well.
Interestingly, the same approach may be applied to textile goods – they are structurally similar to human hair. Modifications in coloring, fireproof properties, and other parameters become available.
Self-assembly of clay nanotubes on hair surface for medical and cosmetic formulations
Abhishek Panchal, Gölnur Fakhrullina, Rawil Fakhrullin, and Yuri Lvov
Source text: Natalia Doroshkevich
Translation: Yury Nurmeev