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NZ wool biotech key to new haircare range

Keratec: NZ wool biotech key to new haircare range

Wool protein biotech has inspired leading Christchurch hairdresser Mike Hamel to release an innovative new haircare range with excellent export potential.

Keratec Ltd - a Wool Equities Limited (NZX: WEL) subsidiary - has developed powerful but gentle processes to extract wool protein (keratin) ingredients that have unprecedented age-defying, strengthening and softening properties for hair. These ingredients have been developed with Kiwis in mind - particularly with regard to UV damage - and incorporated into several leading cosmetic formulations.

New Zealand Master Hairdresser Mike Hamel has created a funky new haircare range called Mike containing Keratec IFP and Keratec PEP as active ingredients. The range was launched to the pharmacy industry at the Pharmacy Expo trade show in Auckland last month and is being distributed via pharmacies and department stores.

Keratec Chief Executive, Bruce Foulds says the company is pleased to be working with local manufacturers such as those making the Mike product. "While the majority of our products are targeted at export markets, we create great benefits from working with local innovators to get consumer products containing our ingredients onto the local market," he says.

Mike Hamel says the Keratec ingredients have excellent commercial potential. As a hairdresser who spends much of his time around the catwalks and boutiques of New York and London, he can see significant export opportunities in the formulations.

He chanced upon Keratec's products through one of his hairdressing clients who knew of Keratec's work in keratin-based ingredients. The researchers are based in Lincoln, a short drive away from Hamel's salon in Merivale, Christchurch.

- ends-

Extracting keratin - why Keratec is so innovative

Keratin is the main substance of protective elements such as hair, skin and nails, making it an ideal ingredient in personal care applications. However, keratin is very difficult to extract without damaging the amino acids that make up the protein or sacrificing potency.

Keratec has discovered how to extract keratin proteins in a gentle patented manufacturing process. Keratec not only keeps the protein intact - it has worked out how to make some forms of the protein soluble and digestible, meaning it can be used as a dietary supplement (particularly to support joint health), along with applications such as bone graft and fixation devices, wound dressings, adhesives, bioplastics, and fibers.

Keratec IFP has a range of molecular weights. Smaller molecules penetrate the hair cortex and improve the hair's quality such as lustre, strength and moisturisation - from the inside. Larger molecules coat the hair and act sacrificially with "environmental insults" - this coating gets sacrificed to pollutants like UV rays, smog and smoke, meaning the human hair is less likely to be damaged.

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