"Especially for an anti-frizz or smoothing product, this is a true torture test," Thomas told Alfonsi as they walked into a hot and humid testing room in the R&D center. "If your hair can still look good after 48 hours in this room, you know you're onto something."
Further testing involves focus groups to find out what women want, and even watching women shower to observe their shampooing and conditioning techniques.
Alfonsi has a special interest in taming bad hair after 15 years as an on-camera journalist, reporting from such bad hair hot spots as rainy Seattle and steamy Arkansas. Her hair even inspired a total stranger to set up a website that tracks her tresses' trials and tribulations.
Alfonsi plucked a strand of hair and offered it to be studied under the microscope powerful enough to magnify it 800 times. The findings?
"This is a very thick fiber of hair," said Thomas. "Very thick hair can absorb 40 times more moisture than finer hair so that's why it is more prone to frizz."
And so it is, said Alfonsi.