KYOTO--The effects of Japan's hot, humid rainy season on human hair aren't pretty.

Step inside any subway car to witness scenes of costly and not-so costly salon creations drooping in shame in a losing battle with nature.

Luckily, help is on the way.

A research team here announced on June 20 that it found an ingredient that keeps hair in place, braves humidity, and even curbs shine, which is currently a no-no among younger hair styling product users.

The researchers from Mandom Corp., an Osaka-based cosmetics manufacturer, and Kyoto University, who teamed up to develop humidity-resistant hair products, also said it ensures hair still looks natural after the hair agent has been applied to it.

“It has been the eternal challenge to realize both (a perfect hold for hair and a natural appearance), and we wanted to develop the ideal hair agent,” said Shun Urabe, a supervisor at the Technical Development Center of Mandom.

Conventional hair products, such as wax, is designed to fix hair in place by coating its exterior. One effect of using it is that the more users apply, the shinier their hair gets.

But recently, consumers, especially young people, tend to prefer hair products that can restrict shine.

The team sought to find an ingredient that could blend into hair to strengthen the structure inside it. They discovered that alpha-ketoglutaric acid, which is used as moisturizing ingredient overseas, could keep hairstyles in place even in conditions of 80 percent humidity and still give users a natural appearance.

The Institute for Chemical Research of Kyoto University has confirmed the mechanism of how the ingredient blends into hair.

The safety of the hair ingredient has been confirmed by the team. It can be removed by washing one's hair.