The Serious Science behind K18

When bond builders were invented in the mid 2010s, the beauty industry saw the creation of an entirely new category of products that transformed color services and made possible the ultra-platinum trends we see today. Something this transformative to the pro beauty world only happens once in a lifetime…or does it?

Ed Connaghan, president at K18 Hair, says that “applying keratin genomics makes repairing hair possible now” and said this new discovery is “another unicorn.”

Unlike bond builders, this isn’t a temporary fix. According to Connaghan, this biosciences discovery, 10 years in the making, can progressively renew the hair’s keratin dimer structure (which is key to repairing hair) while also re-conforming the disulfide bonds that traditional bond builders temporarily strengthen.

Serious Science

Connaghan shared that the hair’s broken keratin chains are reconnected to restore hair back to near virgin strength and elasticity. Ten years of bioscience research went into the creation of the patented K18 peptide, including scanning and analyzing 1,242 decapeptides. In plain English—this is serious science.

This research connected K18 with Professor Artur Cavaca Paulo, a top bioengineering scientist out of Europe whose decade-long work in keratin genetic expression led to him mapping the set of keratin proteins produced in hair.

Professor Paulo patented the full library of bioactive agents encoded by human genes of hair keratin and keratin-associated proteins. For those of us who aren’t scientists, here’s what this means: The patented K18 breakthrough is an outcome of this collaboration.

How the K18 Peptide Works

Why is K18 so groundbreaking? Sahib explains, “Think of the hair structure like a ladder. The sides of the ladder are made of keratin, the rungs of the ladder are the disulfide bonds. Both parts of the ladder are crucial for the hair to remain in a healthy, unbroken state, and both parts of the ladder can be destroyed through chemical services.”
“Bond builders repair the rungs of the ladder—the disulfide bonds—by patching the broken bonds like a hard glue. This fixed repair is not permanent and can wash away over time. The keratin sides of the ladder are still damaged, though, and if the sides of the ladder are weak, it can’t support the rungs,” Sahib said.
According to K18, what makes their product different is that the newly discovered K18 Peptide repairs the sides of the ladder. With the sides repaired, the rungs of the ladder are reconformed, too. Because the peptide imitates real keratin, it heals the hair itself, integrating with the strand for flexibility and permanence. 


K18's "Less is More" Mantra

The K18 leave-in molecular repair mask is vegan, not tested on animals, and contain no sulfates, silicones, sodium chloride, formaldehyde or parabens, and Connaghan said a little K18 goes a long way.


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