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Is WINDSCREEN SEALANT secret of luscious locks? Filloxane based on motoring technology

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  • Filloxane inserts itself into the hair shaft, bulking from within
  • Works like silica gel which is commonly used to fix car windscreens
  • Used in a new haircare range due to launch later this month

By Ruth Styles

PUBLISHED: 12:43 EST, 12 January 2014 | UPDATED: 19:28 EST, 12 January 2014

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It might sound like something from a science fiction novel but technicians at beauty giant L'Oréal claim to have unearthed the secret of thicker hair - in the garage.

According to experts working for the brand, filloxane, an ingredient used in an upcoming haircare range, works like silica gel which is used to fix cracks in car windscreens.

Named 'sol-gel' technology by its creators, the thickener works by inserting itself into the hair shaft, bulking it up from within.

The dream: Eight million British women suffer from thinning hair but filloxane could be the solution

The dream: Eight million British women suffer from thinning hair but filloxane could be the solution

By contrast, conventional hair thickeners work by coating the outside of the hair strand and can only manage temporary results.

The new technology, which could offer a solution to the estimated eight million British women who complain of having thinning hair and hits the shelves as part of L'Oréal's new Elvive Fibrology range this month, has even received a cautious welcome from hair experts.

Speaking to the Sunday Times,  Franz Wortmann, a professor of fibre and textile technology at Manchester University, described the new wonder ingredient as a 'breakthrough'.

He added: 'What makes it interesting from a chemical point of view is that they have produced this glass-like three dimensional structure that gets into the hair because it is positively charged and hair is negatively charged, so it sticks there.'

Sealant: Filloxane works in a similar way to silica gel which is commonly used to fix cracked car windscreens

Sealant: Filloxane works in a similar way to silica gel which is commonly used to fix cracked car windscreens

According to data released by L'Oréal, using a shampoo with a 10 per cent concentration of filloxane could expand individual hair strands by 60 per cent - an effect that remained for a further 10 washes.

But it seems that not everyone is convinced. In an interview with the Sunday Times, Des Tobin, the head of the centre for skin sciences at Bradford University, said:

'It would be difficult to see how the highly compact nature of the hair cortex could tolerate an expansion equal to 62 per cent.

'A key measure would be to see a side-by-side comparison of the hair fibre before and after treatment.'

NOT CONVINCED? NATURAL ALTERNATIVE LOVED BY SUPERMODEL STELLA TENNANT CLAIMS TO BOOST HAIR GROWTH BY 93 PER CENT

Swell conditioner, £26

It might not have the eye-catching technology but if the claims are to be believed, all-natural British brand, Swell, could give limp locks an equally impressive boost.

The new range, which launches at Marks & Spencer this week, contains Peruvian maca, which has been clinically proven to stimulate growth by a massive 93 per cent, all while protecting it from environmental stress and reducing hair loss.

Swell products also contain blue lupin, which helps lock in colour, and Swiss apple, an old-fashioned fruit thought to increase hair growth and reduce loss by 50 per cent.

Speaking about the brand, the famously fine-haired Tennant said: 'I like using natural products on my hair and Swell’s volumising system makes my hair fuller, thicker and stronger naturally as well as smelling divine.'

And she's not the only celebrity fan of the range, which includes shampoo, £23, conditioner, £26, and 'Root Nutrient Complex', a £30 volumising styling spray.

Model, athlete and TV presenter Jenny Pacey, is also a fan and says it has given her fine hair an impressive boost.

'I have struggled with fine thin hair for my entire life. After using the Swell 3-step system for 3 months my hair feels fuller, thicker, and has been left in incredible condition.'

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