How to Measure Hair Combability

Combing force measurement applications using the TA.XTplus Texture Analyser

COMBABILITY is the ease with which hair can be combed. Keeping healthy and manageable hair is very important, as hair and hairstyle contributes to a large extent to the overall facial image of a person. The loss in manageability can directly be attributed to an alteration of the hair surface. The state of the cuticle governs the frictional properties of hair fibres and determines how the hair feels to the touch and how it combs.

These physical changes lead to a rough hair surface and can directly be correlated to the fact that higher forces will be required to comb, for example, UV-damaged hair. Combability measurement is a method of choice to assess any alteration of the hair cuticle due to external aggressions and has already been proven to be a sensitive tool to detect UV-induced hair damage.

It is well known that conditioning shampoos and hair conditioners are used to provide a variety of benefits to hair: they reduce the combing force, enhance the gloss, confer smoothness and antistatic properties and they improve the manageability of the hair. Various types of benefit agents including cationic surfactants, polymers, emollients, and special compounds such as vitamins, UV filters, etc. contribute to cosmetic properties. For example, silicones are insoluble oils that are commonly use as conditioning agents for hair as they can effectively reduce combing friction of hair and provide a soft, smooth feel and a shiny appearance.

Hair products are usually sold with cosmetic claims which require substantiation. Combability measurement using a Texture Analyser is one of the methods that is used to determine and quantify the effectiveness of shampoos, conditioners and smoothing agents by measuring and comparing the force to comb hair swatches with and without treatments.

Typical properties that can be obtained from a texture analysis graph:

Combing Force, Resistance to Combing, Work of Combing
Typical texture analysis graph

Typical Texture Analyser comparative graph of hair cyclic combing test

Typical Probe/Fixture used for Measurement:

Hair Combing Rig >>


The above are only typical examples of combing force measurement. We can, of course, design and manufacture probes or fixtures that are bespoke to your sample and its specific measurement.

Once your measurement is performed, our expertise in its graphical interpretation is unparalleled – no-one understands texture analysis like we do. Not only can we develop the most suitable and accurate method for the testing of your sample, but we can prepare analysis procedures that obtain the desired parameters from your curve and drop them into a spreadsheet or report designed around your requirements.

Show me more properties that a Texture Analyser can measure...

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Texture Analysis probes

Probes and attachments

The Texture Analyser uses a range of different probes and attachments according to your specific application.

Exponent Software


Whether you require a simple test and data analysis solution or a fully featured software package – we give you the choice.

Peltier cabinet

Temperature Control

If your product is temperature sensitive, we have a range of temperature monitoring and control options.

Acoustic Envelope Detector setup

Additional measurement options

By attaching peripheral devices you can collect additional measurement parameters during your standard texture analysis test.

Automated Linear Indexing System


Find out how to increase your sample throughput, walk away time and testing efficiency with several automation options.

Loadcell in case


Our range of Texture Analyser accessories covers requirements for the use, maintenance and protection of your instrument.

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