How Military-Grade Science Is Changing The Hair Product Game
Picture this: the ability for soldiers to quickly heal from disastrous battlefield injuries using real human keratin to regenerate nerve, tissue and bone. Incredible, right? Now picture using the same principles and technology in haircare. It’s happening now, and it is game-changing.
It started with a chance meeting between Melisse Shaban, founder and CEO of Virtue, and military colonel and neurobiologist, Dr. Luke Burnett, who was developing a new biotechnology to be used in regenerative medicine, primarily for the military to help heal catastrophic battlefield injuries. “They thought it had the ability to revolutionize the beauty industry as well,” Melisse says. “Crazy, right? Beauty wasn’t their thing – they were chasing a higher cause – and that’s why they called me to come take a look.”
And what Melisse saw impressed her. “They had found a way to extract a whole keratin protein from human hair, which provided amazing benefits for nerve, tissue, and bone regeneration. Further testing showed it could also heal human hair with unprecedented results.”
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That’s why Melisse, who’s been at the helm of many beauty and personal care companies (including Frederic Fekkai), started Virtue. “Let’s face it, the last thing we need is another ‘me-too’ hair care line. And after all my years in the industry, I really only wanted to get involved with something if I thought it could truly make a difference. When I came across this new technology and tested it and really saw the possibilities of what it could do in terms of repairing the underlying health and quality of the hair, I knew I had to jump in.”
Behind words like “regenerative medicine” and “biotechnology” is a development that intrigues both scientists and hairdressers. The whole keratin protein, called Alpha Keratin 60ku™, is carefully extracted from human hair.
“Our exclusive extraction and purification process removes keratin protein from virgin human hair, and keeps the full protein whole, intact, and fully functional,” Melisse says. “What that means for hair, is that once Alpha Keratin 60ku™ hits your hair, it ‘sees’ the damaged spots, goes there, and naturally adheres, smoothing and repaving the hair shaft to return it to its healthiest state, as if the damage never existed. It’s literally hair healing hair. And this technology is exclusive to Virtue.”
All the claims in the world can’t back up true results, so Melisse called her friend Adir Abergel (stylist to some of Hollywood’s A-listers, including Kristen Stewart, Rooney Mara, Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon).
Besides being a total hair expert, Adir has science on his side—his husband is a Harvard scientist. “In our house, we talk about biotechnology and how the hair industry is stagnant when it comes to real innovation—it’s new branding, but it’s rarely new innovation,” he says. “I put my husband to work and he said, ‘Adir, this is very real technology.’ So I asked Melisse to send me the products to try.”
He used Virtue products on his assistant, who’s hair was bleached and fried. “I used the products and, I’m not joking, her hair was like virgin hair,” he says. “It was soft, the cuticle was shiny, the color was vibrant. It was different hair.”
The transformation was so total that Adir immediately asked to be a part of Virtue, but not as just an endorser—now, he’s creative director. Another huge name who’s hooked on Virtue? Sharon Dorram, master colorist to celebs like Kate Winslet, Christie Brinkley and Linda Evangelista.
“Adir and Sharon are consummate artists at the top of their fields. To have them personally involved with building our little brand is amazing, and a testament to the healing power of our technology,” Melisse says. “Both of them decided to come on board because they have seen the results first-hand and truly believe in the power of Virtue.”
Virtue is beginning with products that fit into three categories:
- Care: shampoos and conditioners designed to help hair recover from damage, amp up volume or smooth frizz
- Correct: a serum and cream to undo damage and solve hair problems
- Create: three stylers that can be layered and cocktailed
“The products are about transforming how the hair feels,” Adir says. “The next phase I’m working on will be the hardworking hero products, like volumizers, harder mousses and pomades.”
And if you want to try Virtue products, you’ll need to go online. “I like to think of Virtue as small but mighty—mighty in terms of the technology. We are dipping our toes into the salon world, and we’re doing it thoughtfully, selectively, and building personal relationships with the salons that choose to work with us,” Melisse shares. “We’re not using a distributor—it’s all hands-on through our in-house Customer Care department,” so see what Virtue is all about!
Virtue in Action
We caught up with Adir at #thebtcshow in Austin, Texas and got his tips on creating the coveted, beachy S-wave with Virtue products. It was one of the first times hairdressers from across the world could try the products. “The #1 thing that professional cosmetologists should know about Virtue is that you really can change the health and quality of your clients’ hair with these products in ways you’ve never seen or imagined before,” Melisse says.
Check out Adir’s tips and watch his how-to below!
- Always start the first wave just above the eyebrow with the clamp facing the ground.
- To break up the texture just slightly, tilt her head to each side and apply Virtue 6-In-1 Styler from the midlengths to ends.
- If you’re not satisfied with how a wave is sitting, just go right in and touch it up where more bend is needed.
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