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What Is Karmatin™? VEGAMOUR's Quest for Vegan Keratin

Keratin is the building block of our skin, hair and fingernails. This vital protein is also found in fellow creatures, in the scales of turtles and tortoises, lizards, snakes and fish, in fur, wool, horns, hooves and claws of many kinds of animals, even in the beaks and feathers of birds. Keratin is a powerful protein but it's simply not in line with the VEGAMOUR philosophy — all of our products are 100% vegan and cruelty free.

Learn more about this revolutionary ingredient featured in our best-selling shampoos, conditioners and scalp serums.

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Traditional Keratin Is Not Vegan

Is keratin vegan? No, traditional keratin is not vegan. Traditional keratin hair products come from the feathers, hair, horns and hooves of animals. This means keratin is not an option for those that are vegan or prefer cruelty-free products.

While keratin is a powerful hair care ingredient, it's not an ingredient VEGAMOUR would ever use —our products are 100% vegan and cruelty free. So we began the challenging task of formulating a vegan keratin. The rest is history.

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The Heyday of Animal Keratin Is Behind Us

A decade or so ago, the salon keratin treatment — called the Brazilian Blowout — was all the rage. This treatment typically involved mixing animal keratin with formaldehyde and sealing it into the hair with a burning hot flat iron, typically set at about 450 degrees fahrenheit. Initially, the effect is magical: frizzy, dull hair is transformed by using harsh chemicals and high heat, and falls as sleek and shiny as a satiny ribbon ... for about a month.

Now for the bad news: keratin treatment products have been cited many times by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for containing higher levels of formaldehyde than are allowed in the U.S.

A less drastic approach is to treat the hair with a “densifying” keratin solution, making hair less prone to breakage. Keratin bonds to the rough edges of individual strands, coating the cuticle and making the hair straight and shiny. Keratin smoothing treatments now are offered by salons which may be formaldehyde-free — or may not be. It’s complicated. Formaldehyde isn’t actually a single ingredient. It’s a gas that’s emitted from other chemicals being exposed to heat. Technically, a product can say it’s free of formaldehyde but still contain the ingredients that create the gas.

So we began pursuing vegan alternatives to keratin — in search of something just as powerful but more importantly safe and vegan.

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The Search for a Vegan Keratin Substitute Began

We hold VEGAMOUR to the highest standard of safety. So when considering the big picture regarding anything keratin, it was a hard pass. Made from animal parts? Pass. Requires 450 degree fahrenheit heat to be effective? Pass. Contains formaldehyde? Pass.

Add to this that the keratin in conventional hair products cannot cling to strands of hair. So, keratin in a shampoo or conditioner that is in your hair for just a few minutes means all of the nourishing awesomeness is rinsed off and down the drain — not a great value for the customer. Hard pass!

Since keratin was off the table for many reasons, we began to explore other options. What qualities does a healthy hair strand have? It’s strong and stretchy, elastic enough to resist breakage. What other natural substance meets these criteria? Silk.

Silk, as you may or may not know, is an animal product. Most of us are familiar with the silk of the famous Silk Road of antiquity, where for centuries exquisite textiles woven in China made their way by camel, oxcart, ship and wagon to the mercantile centers of Europe, starting with Florence. Those silks were made from the cocoons of the silk moth, and to be clear, the moths don’t simply give up their silk— the live cocoons are boiled and unravelled by the millions, of course killing the caterpillar within the silk sheath. Pass.

Learn: What Exactly Is Hair Made Of?

Along Came a Spider

But we discovered that an even stronger silk is made by spiders. A spiderweb is literally stronger than steel, incredibly pliable and, well, silky in the way we want our hair to be. One definition of veganism is that vegans don’t consume anything that “casts a shadow,” so of course we wouldn’t harm spiders in our formulations. Instead, we use a 100% vegan, synthesized version of keratin that exactly mimics the silk of the wasp spider, or Argiope Bruennichi, the gorgeous, non-poisonous, yellow-and-black garden spider that inspired this vegan alternative. 

It is an example of biomimicry, where a lab-synthesized ingredient copies the genetic code for an organic ingredient and grows it in organic medium (in this case, yeast) through a fermentation process.

The common name is silk protein, and scientists call it sr-wasp spider polypeptide-1 oligopeptide-178 (silk protein). What’s important to know is that this is a cruelty-free ingredient, inspired by spiders, engineered for beauty and is totally vegan. It forms a protective yet breathable barrier, providing immediate hydration, with restorative strengthening properties. The lab uses a fermentation process to create a non-animal silk protein that delivers both an immediate boost and sustained improvement to the appearance and feel of your hair.

Karmatin™ Is Here

VEGAMOUR's unique spin is something called microencapsulation, the process which turns b-silk™ protein into Karmatin™. It’s instant good karma for your hair!

Karmatin™ delivers the silk protein in super-small size to repair the roughened surface of the hair cuticle. Because of its small molecular size, Karmatin™ bonds to the hair, filling in tiny cracks and crannies to give an instant, glass-like feel. Unlike animal keratins used in non-vegan hair products, Karmatin™ doesn’t harm animals, and also doesn’t rinse away before it can repair damaged hair. Karmatin™ bonds to hair and remains attached to your strands even after rinsing. It's a vegan keratin hair treatment product, and it's the star ingredient in several of our products, including:

Karmatin™ deeply nourishes needy strands, protects hair from external aggressors like chlorine and sun, and keeps color vibrant.

GRO Revitalizing Shampoo & Conditioner

Our best-selling shampoos and conditioners do more than simply cleanse and repair. Karmatin™ smooths, strengthens and repairs damaged follicles, plus added shine, body and softness. Wild-harvested marula, baobab and ximenia oils nourish and moisturize every strand.

After years of research and development, Karmatin™ is finally here and we can't wait for you to try it!

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Disclaimer: Information in this article is intended for general informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician.