Researchers at Loreal have found that what makes hair curly or straight and skin smooth or rough is much deeper than the old adage, "beauty is only skin deep".
It actually is linked to molecules within the body, says the study.
C and EN Senior Editor Lisa M. Jarvis points out that Loreal, one of the biggest spenders on R and D in the personal care market, is researching beauty "from the cell to the gesture," referring to all aspects of that elusive phenomenon.
The company's broad studies include research into the origins of hair shape, searching for a new ingredient to better protect skin from the sun and understanding the effects of the dabs and strokes a woman in a particular country uses to apply makeup.
The researchers are trying to research the molecular origin of hair curliness because they say understanding the basic biology and physics might enable them to take an entirely new approach to hair straightening, curling and even hair color.
The scientists are analyzing the biochemistry, protein structure and cell types within hair fibers to learn how they work together to give sheen, shape and color to hair.
It is possible that their work might lead to a new method of hair straightening and even the development of a pill that would replace hair dyes.
The study has been published in Chemical and Engineering News (C and EN), ACS' weekly news magazine.