Optical properties of hair: effect of treatments on luster as quantified by image analysis

J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Jul-Aug;54(4):335-51.


Image analysis has been employed to measure the luster of hair simulated by light reflected from a curved hair tress. Hair samples (up to four) were mounted side-by-side in a special sample holder in the form of a cylinder and illuminated by a uniform beam of white light. Digital images of hair tresses were captured with a high-resolution camera and were analyzed by scanning across highlighted and dark areas of the resultant image using image analysis software with developed macros. Plots, similar to goniophotometric scattering curves, were used to calculate luster values according to previously published work by Nickerson, Stamm, and Reich-Robbins. Both the Stamm and Reich-Robbins approaches were found to give similar results, while the Nickerson gloss parameter exhibited less sensitivity to hair modification with cosmetic ingredients. The procedure was employed to assess the luster of natural white, light blonde, light brown, medium brown, and dark brown hair, and revealed an increase in luster indices in proportion to an increase in fiber pigmentation. Cosmetic oils such as phenyl trimethicone, amodimethicone, and castor oil were also found to increase the luster of hair as a result of the change in contrast between specular and diffuse reflection. Styling resins such as butyl ester of PVM/MA copolymer, vinyl caprolactam/PVP/dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate copolymer, and isobutylene/ethylmaleimide/hydroxyethylmaleimide copolymer were shown to increase hair gloss by a similar mechanism, as evidenced by calculated higher values of the Stamm and Reich-Robbins luster parameters. An effect of hair dulling by deposition of micronized ZnO at various concentrations, as well as by synthetic sebum, is also discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetics*
  • Hair*
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Optics and Photonics*
  • Polymers
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Silicone Oils


  • Cosmetics
  • Polymers
  • Silicone Oils