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Here comes the science! The reality of 'Nutrileum' (aka Nutrillium, aka Neutrillium aka Nutrilium aka...well, lots of other mis-spellings). OK, so I need to learn to spell "Nutrileum".

To recap, and correct my previous unchecked post, there is no single chemical called Nutrileum. L'Oreal (not Garnier as I suggested) claim that the Smooth Intense (aka Elvive) shampoo/conditioner range contains this wonder-chemical which will do all the usual things glossy shampoos promise to do for your hair. Mainly making it more glossy. At the American website, Nutrileum is described as "a complex of camelina seed micronutrients and smoothing agents" (sic).

The US patents database contains no patent for Nutrileum. It also returned no published applications containing the word. It did return it as a trademark - [read the result].
The UK patents database also returned no results under patents. It did produce a result under trademarks - [read the result].
So what we have so far is the trademarking of a term but no application for a patent for the complex's formula.

There are two things listed as part of Nutrileum: camelina seed micronutrients and smoothing agents:

  • 'smoothing agents' is a rather bland and meaningless term to hide a multitude of potential inorganic chemicals. The most commonly used one is propylene glycol. This chemical is also used in anti-freeze although it has been passed as safe for use in cosmetics. Here's an article from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry on its potential hazards. Obviously, that is in far larger doses than anyone is likely to expose themselves just by washing their hair.

  • 'camelina seed micronutrients' only pulls up a google of the L'Oreal site. 'Camelina seed', however, produced information about camelina seed oil, which is high in Omega-3 oils and is highly emollient. Also known as "the gold of pleasure oil", it may have been introduced in the UK by the Romans and is often used to improve tans.

So, as far as I can make out, L'Oreal have used an inorganic chemical compound found in almost all cosmetics and an ancient organic chemical and marketed this under the scientific-sounding (and trademarked) 'Nutrileum' (with all the suggestions of newness and/or nutrtiousness the word implies). I'm not going to draw any conclusions about the potential toxicity of propylene glycol - instead try WEN. Comments and feedback from scientists on this would be welcome, however, since this isn't really my field. I do think the advertising of 'Nutrileum' implied something more complex than the actual facts appear to amount to.

Here's comes the science, my arse.

Posted @ 12:34 am on Sunday, June 06, 2004
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