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$70m ingredient in Virtue Labs ‘holy grail’ shampoo and conditioner

1 month ago 17

There’s one area of beauty people always want help with – hair.

Whether you’re a fully fledged beauty junkie who lives by a 10-step skincare routine or more of a simple soap and water gal, hair is something we all have to deal with daily.

Which is why when a leading Australian hairdresser declares a new product has “surprised” him, you pay attention.

Jaye Edwards, the brains behind the award-winning Edwards and Co salons, is a big fan of the American brand Virtue Labs and was the first to stock the products in Australia ahead of superstores Sephora and Adore Beauty.

“After 15 years in the hair industry, I didn’t think there was anything that could surprise me. Then I was introduced to Virtue Labs and its products,” he told The Beauty Diary.

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And the reason for his excitement? A clever new ingredient called Alpha Keratin 60ku that Jaye says “can seek out and find damage in your hair”.

“Once it finds the damage, it binds to it and fills in any weak spots. It transforms hair that is damaged, in turn leaving you with beautiful and healthy hair,” Jaye explains.

The ingredient is unlike other “keratins” on the market as it is made from real human keratin rather than a highly processed animal by-product.

“Because it is essentially hair, it ‘sees’ the cracks of damage, and goes where it’s needed to repave and heal the damage, to give you your healthiest, most beautiful hair possible.

“It was seeing the amazing results this technology has on damaged hair that made me want to stock it in my salons.”

The technology behind this hair wizardry is credited to the Virtue Labs’ founder and chief executive Melisse Shaban, who invested $US50 million ($AU70m) in researching and developing the biotechnology in its haircare products.

“We basically discovered that the same way in which the (keratin) protein could potentially benefit the body and the skin, it had extraordinary benefits in healing the wounds of the hair,” she told The Business Journal in October last year.

The range of shampoos, conditioners, masks and oils are so impressive, the beauty experts at Allure awarded the brand its coveted “Beauty Breakthrough” last year – and now you can get the products in Australia.

Jaye has one item in the range he recommends to everyone – the Restorative Treatment Mask – but brace yourself as it doesn’t come cheap, in fact it will set you back $92.

“This product is amazing and can be used once or twice a week for an intensive repair and conditioning, without any added weight to the hair,” he said.

Many fans of the products have described the prices as “dumb expensive”, but said it was the “holy grail” that was worth every cent.

The past couple of months I’d been visiting one of Jaye’s Sydney salons for my cut and colour – side note, him and his team have totally nailed my vibrant red colour, I am obsessed – where they’ve been washing my hair with this stuff.

But while I walk out of his salon with hair that feels fluffier than a brand new bath robe, I was keen to see what the “extraordinary” haircare range was like with regular use.

Here’s my thoughts on three of the bestsellers and a few other haircare items I’m loving at the moment that aren’t quite as expensive.


Available at: Sephora, Adorebeauty and Edwards and Co

Price: $54

The first time I used this, I didn’t get the swooshy results I’d hoped for – and I think it is because I used waaaaay too much product. I usually squeeze a blob of shampoo in my hands and rub it straight into my hair and scalp – but found this didn’t froth or foam up well that way, so I used more. It wasn’t a good idea as it left my hair heavy and greasy. But I persevered, next time using a smaller blob and foaming it up in my hands before transferring it to my head, where I massaged it into my scalp first. This definitely did the trick, it quickly foamed up and I was able to massage all the way through without having to reach for more product. After, my hair – which is of the fine and limp variety – was smooth and silky soft. It smells divine too, kind of like a vanilla cupcake, which I enjoyed. After a couple of weeks, I definitely noticed my hair seemed healthier and happier, especially when I let it dry naturally. It really is magic in a bottle and as you don’t need a lot of product, the investment goes a long way. It also is suitable for all hair types, straight, wavy, curly and coily.


Available at: Sephora, Adorebeauty and Edwards and Co

Price: $54

This conditioner packs a punch but thankfully isn’t too heavy and doesn’t weigh down my hair. After months of chucking my hair up in a top knot, this has soothed it back to normality, leaving my hair lovely and soft. It has the same sweet taste as the matching shampoo but it isn’t too strong or overbearing. It is great on coloured hair too and I’ve definitely noticed my red hasn’t faded down to copper as fast as it usually does. This is actually a huge win for anyone with coloured hair, especially with all the COVID-19 shutdowns when we can’t get our hair seen to as often as we did before the pandemic.


Available at: Sephora, Adorebeauty and Edwards and Co

Price: $58 for 50ml or $28 for 20ml

This honestly works wonders. Split ends are such a bloody nightmare and this serum literally seals them all in and stops them worsening. I was honestly really nervous about using this as leave-in treatments can really make my hair heavy or look greasy, but it gives locks a lovely gloss sheen and reduces frizz. While I don’t have bleached hair, I’ve seen multiple reviews online where users have said it has been a lifesaver on their damaged blonde locks and greatly improved their hair health. This is a joy to use.



Available at Hairhouse Warehouse and

Price: $25.95

This is my go-to when my hair needs some serious loving. It has a nourishing formula made from vegan ingredients, including one of my faves – Kakadu plum – which is famous for putting moisture back into thirsty hair strands. It also has argan and jojoba oils that help soothe scalps and hair follicles. It doesn’t leave hair heavy. I use it once a week when my hair needs some TLC and it really gives it a boost.


Available at Adorebeauty and

Price: $24.95

An oldie, but a goodie! This is a leave-in treatment that I find keeps my hair hydrated even three days after washing, which is unheard of. Usually I’d have to apply more product. I chuck it in after getting out of the shower as it’s also a great detangler too. After using, my hair is smooth and shiny and smells like coconuts. An easy to use delight.


Available at Chemist Warehouse,, David Jones and

Price: $21.95

If you’re a fan of the sachets of this stuff, you’ll be delighted to know there’s now a shower-friendly tub of it. This has a rich feel and thickness that just feels good for you. To get the best results, you need to leave on for about 20 minutes before rinsing away so make sure you give yourself enough time. After use my hair is lovely and soft and feels super silky. It’s also has an all natural ingredients list, made from vegan avocado oil, jojoba oil and squalene which are known to help strengthen hair. A really lovely product that goes a long way – and the tub will look chic on your bathroom shelf.

This column is not advertorial content. Every review is independent, honest and ad free.

If you have a question about a beauty product or an item you’d like to see road tested in The Beauty Diary, jump into our official Facebook group where you can join like-minded beauty junkies. You can also catch me on Instagram or tweet me – don’t forget to hashtag #TheBeautyDiary.

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