The evolution of inclusive hair care is here. Taking center stage is formulating for the care of natural hair curls. And waves. And twists. And kinks. Broadening beauty concepts are becoming more visible every day, and innovative haircare systems require strong base formulation to meet discerning market demands.

Hair with medium to coarse texture has its own formulation needs but innovative chemistry is allowing these hair textures to shine. Natural hair needs to keep moisture in to look its healthy best, and consistent conditioning is a key factor. Koster Keunen offers the waxes, esters, and butters that help you build exactly the formulation to suit your brand needs. Here we will compare two formulations, both designed for medium to coarse hair for optimum hydration – with a twist on formatting.

Small Difference Yields Big Results

The two featured example formulas below show the versatility and scope that can be obtained even with small changes to the formula and mixing process. Both products utilize Kostol TMC-25 to provide conditioning to the hair and structure to each product. Both offer Kester Wax K-24, a non-oily natural conditioner and lubricant that enhances shine. The Kester Wax K-82P acts as a plasticizer, to give glide and increase each product’s heat stability—a serious consideration in haircare products. So far, the formulas appear quite similar. As always in chemistry, it’s the finer points that make the biggest differences.

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Our Buildable Oil Treatment has a lovely, jelly-like texture, suitable for a pot container or pump, while the Sleek and Style Balm formula sets up hard, making it suitable for retractable or pushup sticks, and even for package-free bars. The key difference is the Rice Bran Wax. Acting as a structurant, it turns a soft jelly into a stick with minimal effort on the formulator’s part. As the graph shows, rice bran adds significant gel strength, beginning at relatively low percentages.

This is a scientific gel chart showing the concentration of the wax in different oils and the gel strength obtained. For a more in-depth discussion or questions about this chemistry email us at info@kosterkeunen.com.

From the product line building point of view, the formulation similarities and ease of compounding, the two formulas offer a great jumping-off point. For marketing your brand’s range, these sulfate-free, PEG-free, silicone free formulas incorporating natural and plant-derived ingredients set the stage to appeal to a customer base that appreciates the care taken to create products that sustain more than beauty.

A Closer Look at the Example Formulas

Both the Buildable Oil Treatment and Sleek and Style Balm contain Vitamin E Acetate and Olive and Castor Oils to nourish the cuticle and keep the moisture in each strand. They also cover a variety of conditioning needs to bring styling success to each ‘do.

Buildable Oil Treatment can be used sparingly or layered to create a wetter look. It has a pleasant, jelly-like texture. Applied wet or dry, styled with fingers or cold tools, this versatile conditioner also may be used as an overnight treatment to smooth the look of split ends. A fun fact about this formula is, it is designed for an easy wash out, and in some cases it will wash out without shampoo, which may make it ideal for those trying to reduce shampoo damage or those who prefer to co-wash.

Formula#: 9/22-358/10013/154-1

Ingredient Trade Name INCI Name %
Phase A    
Kostol TMC-25 Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimmonium Chloride 12.0
Kester Wax K-82P C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate 15.0
Kester Wax K-24 Lauryl Laurate 14.0
Syneth C15K Polyglyceryl-10 Caprylate/Caprate 10.0
Olive Oil Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil 27.0
Castor Oil Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil 20.0
Vitamin E Acetate Tocopheryl Acetate 1.0
Fragrance “Tropical Coconut” Parfum 1.0

Our Sleek and Style Balm embodies that ideal blend of ease of use and effective styling, whether you are styling braids, twists, or a bun. It also works well for short styles, where you want to control frizz. This formula can give overall control by rubbing on the hands and applying all over. It can be used directly on frizzy, fraying, or generally rebellious spots. Sleek and Style Balm imparts a styled, controlled look to braids and up-dos. The potential for presenting it as a push up styling stick or with no packaging allows you to offer this on-the-go formulation in formats that suit your brand image.

Formula #: 9/22-224/10013-1

Ingredient Trade Name INCI Name %
Kostol TMC-25 Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimmonium Chloride 12.0
Kester Wax K-82P C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate 10.0
Rice Bran Wax Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax 15.0
Kester Wax K-24 Lauryl Laurate 14.0
Olive Oil Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil 27.0
Castor Oil Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil 20.0
Vitamin E Acetate Tocopheryl Acetate 1.0
Fragrance “Tropical Coconut” Parfum 1.0

Cosmetic chemistry is continuing to formulate for inclusivity. The whole world of multicultural beauty has opened up both genuine appreciation for our differences, and the potential we have to support sustainable and natural formulation for personal care and the greater environment. Koster Keunen is committed to these goals, and we would be delighted to help you to achieve your sustainability goals through responsible formulation. Contact us for expert consultation regarding maintaining your brand’s signature characteristics, while developing products that meet the needs of a more inclusive market.

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About Koster Keunen

Koster Keunen has been working with wax since 1852 and has used our extensive experience and knowledge base to continuously develop new chemistries. Whether you are developing a new product, or need help with a reformulation or replacement, contact us to learn more about how we source, refine or develop waxes so you can create the perfect formula.