Ashland brings performance and style to crystal clear gel with AquaStyle ™

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New, highly functional polymer for hair styling formulations offers consumer-perceivable styling benefits that stand up to high humidity conditions

WILMINGTON, DE - Ashland Specialty Ingredients, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH), today introduced AquaStyle&#8482 SH-100 polymer, a highly functional technology that brings all-day hold to virtually any hair style, anywhere. With AquaStyle SH-100 polymer, consumers may create individual hair styles with the benefits of long-lasting hold, high humidity curl resistance and style memory delivered from crystal clear formulations. The latest addition to Ashland's popular line of styling polymers, AquaStyle SH-100 polymer provides the means for a range of consumer preferred benefits, including smooth comb-through, with no flaking. A highly efficient polymer, formulators also benefit from ease of use, cost efficiency, and the ability to achieve the desired clarity in today's hair gel products.

"Bringing crystal clear gel formulations to much of the world is now achieved with AquaStyle SH-100 polymer, particularly in areas with high humidity." said Sangeetha Subramanian, global marketing manager for styling, Ashland Consumer Specialties. "AquaStyle SH-100 polymer is an enabling solution, an extraordinarily functional technology that gives consumers the ability to better define their spikes, curls, blowback and waves, even in high humidity. The new polymer chemistry for hair styling allows edgy, trendsetting hair styles with handling and performance attributes preferred by many consumers."

In designing the AquaStyle SH-100 polymer, Ashland offers a very efficient technology to manufacturers of crystal clear gels, cream gels, spray gels, creams and lotions, waxes and pomades and mousses. When incorporated into a gel system, the new styling polymer, supplied as a low-viscosity liquid, builds viscosity rapidly, uniformly and consistently. A thickening benefit with carbomer further adds to formulation efficiency. Incorporating a number of formulation capabilities in a highly functional polymer, Ashland opens consumer-identifiable hair styling attributes to a significant and growing segment in the nearly $10 billion styling products market.

Adding performance to style

Studies conducted in high humidity show that hair styled with AquaStyle SH-100 polymer excel in curl retention, style memory and stiffness, without crunch and tack. In hair gel formulations, performance evaluations of spreadability, manageability, initial stiffness and hold elasticity ("gel memory") further demonstrate the performance advantages of AquaStyle SH-100 polymer. Mannequin head high humidity storage results illustrate hold durability after 22 hours at high temperature/high humidity storage conditions, and mannequin head immersion testing again demonstrates the hold characteristics and resistance to softening with water.

"Together, these studies demonstrate AquaStyle SH-100 polymer lends consumer-perceivable benefits required in today's world markets," said Subramanian.

Functionality and efficiency

Functionally, AquaStyle SH-100 polymer is a pourable dispersion, characterized by a polymeric structure aggregated into tightly bound, low viscosity particles. With neutralization, the polymer becomes activated, allowing polymer aggregates to swell and to become water soluble. As water solubility increases, the polymer strands interact and form a polymer network that builds viscosity.

Unlike other polymer systems that start thick and stay thick, the AquaStyle SH-100 polymer produces a pseudoplastic shear-thinning solution, creating a gel that is thick in the package. As desired, the gel dispenses easily, won't run between your fingers and has easy application on hair with smooth comb-out.

Another useful benefit of the AquaStyle SH-100 polymer is its contribution to viscosity in gels. The AquaStyle polymer has a positive rheological benefit with commonly used gellants.

Starting point formulations

Ashland formulation and technical teams will support a range of styling gel formulation types conceived for differentiated styling effects. Crystal clear gels, cream gels, spray gels, creams and lotions, waxes and pomades and mousses all serve as viable applications for the AquaStyle SH-100 polymer.

"Formulators are now free to imagine new products that open styling benefits to consumers that want to express themselves with a virtually limitless set of styles. We invite formulators to create styles with lasting impressions using AquaStyle SH-100 polymer," said Subramanian.

About Ashland Specialty Ingredients

Ashland Specialty Ingredients, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc., offers industry-leading products, technologies and resources for solving formulation and product performance challenges in key markets including personal care, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, coatings and energy. Using natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic polymers derived from plant and seed extract, cellulose ethers and vinyl pyrrolidones, Ashland Specialty Ingredients offers comprehensive and innovative solutions for today's demanding consumer and industrial applications.

About Ashland

In more than 100 countries, the people of Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) provide the specialty chemicals, technologies and insights to help customers create new and improved products for today and sustainable solutions for tomorrow. Our chemistry is at work every day in a wide variety of markets and applications, including architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, food and beverage, personal care, pharmaceutical, tissue and towel, and water treatment. Visit ashland.com to see the innovations we offer through our four commercial units - Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Water Technologies, Ashland Performance Materials and Valvoline.

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