5 Questions With Our Formulation Chemist

5 Questions With Our Formulation Chemist

Ever wondered how our Straand products are formulated? Ever wondered how long it takes to develop one of our products? We spoke to our formulation chemist, Sarah Adams, to discuss how she got into formulations, her favourite Straand products and what it takes to formulate a product. 

Serum drip

What inspired you to want to become a formulation chemist?

I always loved science throughout school, especially chemistry and thought I wanted to end up doing something involving health research. Towards the end of high school I became obsessed with all things beauty related including makeup and personal care (skin, body and hair) products. My dad was the one who suggested I looked into cosmetic formulating. It didn’t even cross my mind as a potential career but it made perfect sense. 

What do you wish people knew more about what it takes to formulate products?

Just that there are so many aspects of a formula that can be changed to alter the final product experience and at times how long it takes to nail that. I have worked on many projects which have taken 20 plus rounds of laboratory trials to reach the final product formulation. I think it’s also interesting to understand that there are so many steps that are taken after product formulation to achieve a successful product. Upscaling a formulation to a commercial size brings its own challenges and packaging choice also plays an important role, there’s a lot that goes into the final product. 

What’s your favourite Straand product you’ve formulated and why?

My ride or die from the beginning has been the conditioning treatment. It is the best conditioner I’ve ever used. I have super thick hair which has the tendency to get frizzy, the conditioning treatment really helps to smooth out the hair and de-tangles instantly. However I do need to give a shout out to the scalp serum, I have taken a little longer to warm up to this product as I have always been very simple/lazy with my hair routine and never went beyond shampoo and conditioner. However I have now religiously added this into my hair wash routine and I swear my scalp has never felt or looked better.

Swatch of Head Doctor Conditioning Treatment

What’s the process for formulating one of our products?

It’s different for every product, some we nail quite quickly and others take a lot of trial and error. For all products it starts with a product briefing which outlines the goals for the product including texture, colour, scent and performance. From there I research ingredients which will achieve the desired performance whether that be hydration, dandruff, soothing ect. I then create a draft formula and begin playing around with that in the lab until I am happy with the product. The Straand team then conducts their own testing and provides feedback. I tweak the formula from there and continue doing so until everyone is happy with the final product formulation. In general, formulating a product can take anywhere from 3 - 6 months. 

Lastly, what’s your favourite ingredient or trend you'd love to see in Straand’s new product development? 

Selfishly, I would love a silicone free de-frizz treatment that doesn’t require blow drying to see results. I’m also excited to work on products which incorporate commonly known and effective skincare ingredients into scalp care products.

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