Behind the Brand: Virtue

The Regimen August 06, 2021

Behind the Brand: Virtue

Finding haircare products is easy. Finding haircare products developed with groundbreaking technology that do what they say they will? That's a different story. Enter Virtue, a science-based haircare Brand that visibly repairs hair.

Read on to learn more about Virtue and their amazing founder, Melisse Shaban.
Brand name: Virtue
Founder: Melisse Shaban
Date founded: 2014
What was the inspiration for the line? 
The idea for Virtue really started with this technology that was unlike anything I had ever seen before in beauty, and certainly not in haircare. I saw an opportunity to deliver something completely revolutionary. 
Dr. Luke Burnett, the chief scientist behind the development of this technology, is a retired Colonel from the U.S. Army.  After two tours in Iraq, he made it his mission back home to find ways to speed healing and improve quality of life for wounded soldiers, and it was all based on his development of this newly patented form of a keratin protein.  Most “keratin” you’ve heard of on the market is a substance derived from animal sources (like sheep wool or feathers) and harshly treated and broken down into little more than amino acids.  It’s no longer a whole, functional protein.  Dr. Burnett’s breakthrough was the development of a fully functional, human-identical protein that the body could recognize as its own and use to help with wound-healing.
A young woman PhD candidate working in his lab had family members in the salon industry and asked if she could perform some experiments using left over material – she had heard of “keratin” in haircare and wanted to test and see if this new protein could also have benefits for hair.  A few experiments later, they liked what they saw, but haircare was not their mission or their expertise.  That’s when I was called in to take a look, really as a favor for a friend.  Seeing the extraordinary results that this technology has on damaged hair made me want to share it with the world.  And about five years after that, Virtue was born.
What was the first product you developed and why did you create it?
The first products we created were the Recovery Shampoo and Conditioner.  When we saw the incredible reparative results our unique protein could deliver to damaged hair, we knew we had to start there with a daily-use care and repair product.  And they are still among the bestsellers in the line.
What is the brand philosophy?  
At Virtue, we’re not about “me-too” products or jumping on trends.  We only go where our technology leads us, and where we can demonstrate that our products really make a difference.  So, basically our philosophy is: If you can’t deliver, don’t bother.
In addition to that, there’s our “free-of” statement: All Virtue products are free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic colors and dyes, and are safe for color-treated hair.  Gluten-free.  Vegan.  Cruelty-free.
What is your bestselling product and why do you think that is? 
Our bestselling product all around the world is our Virtue Healing Oil. It’s incredibly lightweight, non-greasy, and instantly imparts a really beautiful, healthy shine.
What's your favorite product in the line and why is that?
My favorite is still the Restorative Treatment Mask.  It’s extraordinary what this product can do for even the most damaged hair in just three minutes in the shower. 

What makes the brand unique?

 We have a unique piece of technology – our Alpha Keratin 60ku – that enables our products to do what we say they do – to give you your healthiest, most beautiful hair possible.

 What's one surprising thing people might not know about the brand?
Our Alpha Keratin 60ku, unlike any other keratin ingredients previously used in beauty products, is a patented, keratin protein born from regenerative medicine.  Virtually identical to the keratin that makes up more than 90% of hair, Alpha Keratin 60ku is recognized by the hair and binds naturally to refill and seal cracks of damage, keeping more moisture locked inside and improving the overall health and appearance.  Like a smart technology, Alpha Keratin 60ku goes only where it’s needed to repair trouble spots and has been clinically shown to restore structural integrity for improved overall hair health.
What do you want people to think of when they think of your brand?
That science works.  Our initial tagline for the brand was, Virtue: Real Science. True Beauty.  I think that sums it up.
What was one of the biggest challenges you faced when you launched? 
There were many challenges along the way, but perhaps the biggest challenge in launching the brand was how to break through the noise.  Haircare is such a cluttered category with most brands saying a lot of the same things to the consumer.  That challenge is still ongoing, but our difference is that we have a unique technology that actually does what we say it does.  The products deliver.  And once people try them, they see that and understand.
We like to say, the world didn’t need another haircare brand, so we created a biotech company to repair damaged hair.
How did you know you'd made it as a brand?
Well, I think we’re still in a stage of becoming.  But beyond the clinical results that we saw in the lab, I really knew we had something when I saw the customers coming back to buy again and again. 
What is your proudest moment as a founder?
It’s hearing from women that our products have changed the health and appearance of their hair – that we’ve delivered on our promise.

What can we expect from the brand in the future? Any exciting news you can share?
I honestly believe we have just scratched the surface of what our Alpha Keratin 60ku protein can do, and we’re learning more about it every day.  As we continue to develop the brand, we will only go where this technology leads us.  For the future, I think we’ll continue to explore scalp health, and we’re seeing some really promising results in relation to combatting hair loss.

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