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KeraMatchTM V, Croda’s Optimized Vegan Alternative Solution to Keratin

Croda Inc
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The vegan trend continues to be on the rise globally across industries, including the beauty and personal care industry. Within hair care, shampoos have dominated the vegan hair care market with 43% of launches in the last five years, and conditioners and treatments closely following with 26% and 22% of launches, according to Mintel GNPD. Consumers have traditionally looked for keratin proteins in their hair care products to improve the sensory feel and overall quality of damaged hair, recognising keratin as the main component in hair, and therefore relating to the simple logic of treating “like-with-like”. However, this poses a conflict for consumers seeking vegan options due to the animal derivation of keratin. Hence, a non-animal alternative providing performance equivalency to keratin is ideal to meet the needs of the growing vegan market. 

KeraMatch™ V (INCI: Aqua (and) Hydrolyzed Pea Protein (and) Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein) is an optimized protein blend derived from pea and potato sources, specifically designed to offer performance benefits equivalent to animal-derived keratin. 

During the product development process, the amino acid profile of KeraMatch V was optimized to ensure as close a match as possible to that of a hydrolyzed keratin of similar average molecular weight, with the exception of the amino acid cystine which is naturally present at significantly lower levels in proteins of plant sources compared to keratin. Nevertheless, that lower level of cystine did not demonstrate any performance drawbacks with KeraMatch V when tested against the animal-derived keratin.   

Single fiber tensile testing was used to assess and validate the performance efficacy of KeraMatch V on damaged bleached European hair. The data illustrated in the graph below demonstrates that in comparison to untreated virgin hair (blue curve) which requires more energy (or Total Work) for hair fibers to break, bleached damaged hair ( orange curve) is shown to require much less energy, and therefore much easier to break equal percentage (e.g. 50%) of hair fibers. Bleached hair treated with KeraMatch V (green curve) demonstrated that a comparable amount of energy is required to break a similar percentage of hair fibers as virgin hair. The tensile data also confirms performance equivalency of KeraMatch V to the animal-derived keratin (yellow curve) tested on bleached hair. 

To confirm consumer-perceivable efficacy of KeraMatch V, additional performance studies were conducted through half-head conditioner salon testing on panellists with damaged hair by licensed cosmetologists. Ratings by both the cosmetologists and panellists demonstrated overall comparable perception of strength with KeraMatch V vs. animal-derived keratin. Furthermore, the side treated with KeraMatch V was rated better than the side treated with the animal-derived keratin in a number of wet and dry attributes, including wet combing, wet feel, dry combing, dry feel, softness, anti-frizz, style retention, and the perception of moisture/hydration.  

Overall, KeraMatch V is an optimally designed, natural gluten free vegetable protein blend with performance efficacy comparable to an animal-derived hydrolysed keratin protein, and thus a suitable solution for various vegan hair care applications.


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