Polyphenol Factory to launch volumizing shampoo in Korea

2024.02.26 09:49:02 | 2024.02.26 10:12:05

Professor Lee Hae-shin. [Photo provided by Polyphenol Factory]이미지 확대

Professor Lee Hae-shin. [Photo provided by Polyphenol Factory]

Professor Lee Hae-shin from the Department of Chemistry at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) recently launched a startup offering beauty solutions, including a shampoo that thickens hair.

“I believe Polyphenol Factory is the first beauty company among KAIST faculty startups,” Lee told Maeil Business Newspaper. “I never thought I would actually start a beauty company myself.”

Polyphenol Factory uses polyphenols, a foundational component that allows mussels to adhere to slippery rocks underwater, to create various beauty products.

The first product introduced by Polyphenol Factory is its volumizing shampoo, Gravity. The patented substance that Lee created, Liftmax 380, combines with proteins inside the hair to form a polyphenol protective layer on its weakened parts.

This protective layer strengthens the hair, revitalizing its volume. After using the shampoo, the volume increases by more than 40 percent, with the effect lasting for 48 hours.

The product, initially launched in the United States in February 2024, is scheduled to be introduced in Korea in the first half of the year.

The next product in development, slated to be released in 2025, is a straight hair shampoo, which transforms curly hair into smooth, straight hair with just a wash.

All substances used in the shampoo are listed on the cosmetic raw material ingredient list disclosed by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

“Maximizing functionality by blending given ingredients is a task for humans,” Lee said. “Polyphenol is a naturally occurring substance, and it has been used in cosmetics as an antioxidant material or fragrance, so it is safe.”

In the past, Lee had also played a role as a technical consultant and development director for Kosdaq-listed company InnoTherapy’s hemostatic agent and Modamoda’s color-changing shampoo.

Lee was also involved in hair loss research that created a sensation in Korea in 2023 by developing an adhesive using tannic acid, a type of polyphenol, to transplant hairless hair onto the scalp in January 2023.

“When we experimented on mice, the transplanted hair was so robust that it could lift the mouse with three strands of hair,” Lee said. “We need to conduct larger-scale clinical trials to commercialize the product but if the company succeeds, it will be able to invest in the commercialization of related technologies.”

As Polyphenol Factory aims to be a beauty company, it has also developed artificial eyelashes and nail glue using polyphenols’ adhesive properties. For the nail glue product, the company signed an export agreement with a global nail company at the end of 2023.

By Lee Sae-bom and Lee Eun-joo

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