Objectives: This study describes a novel carrier, the ethosome-based system, which is composed of non-ionic surfactants, ethanol, and water. Methods: Brij®52 (non-ionic surfactants), soya phosphatidylcholine (PC), cholesterol, and the major compounds (caffeine and gallic acid) of black tea extracts were dissolved in the ethanolic phase. The aqueous phase containing Paragon III was heated to 60 °C and mixed with the previous solution. Finally, 3.4 ml NaOH (6.5 N) was added to adjust the pH level to 4.05. The mixture was centrifuged at 2000 g for two minutes, and the precipitate was taken as the end product. Black tea extracts were applied in ethosome-based formulations, and the efficacy of these formulations in penetrating nude mouse skin and in dyeing white hairs was investigated. Results: Compared with an ethanolic solution and black tea extracts, the non-ionic ethosomal delivery system dramatically enhanced the adsorption of black tea extracts onto hair surfaces in vitro. The non-ionic ethosomal system was much more efficient in delivering and facilitating the adsorption of black tea extracts to the hair surface than hydroalcoholic black tea extracts. Conclusions: This formulation may have potential for development as a hair dye and protective agent.
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