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A longtime beauty brand CEO, Melisse Shaban (seen below with Virtue’s creative director, Adir Abergel) wasn’t looking to start a biotech haircare company in 2012. But when presented with the opportunity (in the form of groundbreaking, damage-repairing technology), she couldn’t say no. The result is Virtue, a haircare line beloved for its ability to transform even the most ravaged strands.What drove you to start your own brand? I haven’t always been an entrepreneur, but I have had the privilege of working alongside some legendary entrepreneurs, like Horst Rechelbacher of Aveda and Anita Roddick of The Body Shop, and that has shaped me and given me what you might call an entrepreneurial spirit.
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 human keratin protein. Most “keratin” you’ve heard of on the market is a substance derived from animal sources (like sheep's 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.