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So where do you get your protein?

First it was runny, then it got naked and went all hard, now find out what our shampoo is doing next… (Hint: It’s gone vegan!)

Where do you get your protein? It’s a question asked of vegans the world over, and one we found ourselves considering when we made the decision to remove eggs from our products.

Lush product inventor Daniel Campbell took up the challenge of experimenting with plant-based alternatives that wouldn’t only replicate egg’s texture, but also provide the protein it offers. Through his advancements he discovered a handful of substitutes that not only improved existing formulas, but also led to the genesis of an entirely new range of haircare: Vegan Protein Shampoo.

 

Adios egg! Hola aquafaba!

The new family of shampoos consists of four packaging-free, conditioning shampoo blocks;  Silica, Café, Fix, and The Black Stuff. Each features a different combination of proteins, but aquafaba - the nutrient-rich gelatinous liquid which comes from boiling chickpeas, headlines all four. “When I started doing these products I wanted to see what would happen if I took a solid shampoo base and whisked it through aquafaba,” Dan begins. “It gave me this amazing marshmallow like texture and allowed me to put a lot more things in to create different effects.”

Other proteins packing into the party include: linseed gel, soya lecithin, silken tofu, and hydrolysed wheat gluten, plus the amino acids arginine and leucine - commonly found in protein shakes. Unlike egg, which has relatively large proteins, arginine and leucine provide protein polymers small enough to fit inside the cortex of the hair, rebuilding it from within, resulting in greater volume, softness and shine.

 

Protein and Go!

Each Vegan Protein Shampoo hosts a different portfolio of ingredients to suit a variety of hair types, but one thing they all have in common is at least two anti-statics. “It’s what smooths the hair down,” explains Dan, who suggests rubbing the entire block over wet hair, as the friction helps to create the lather. “Once you rinse the shampoo out, the hot water melts the product and creates a conditioner; so there's this lovely 2-in-1 effect.” Available in 100g blocks that will provide between 50 to 100 washes, the shampoos, which are predominantly aimed at those with damaged hair, are also ideal for those requiring something milder, as they contain significantly less surfactant than traditional shampoo and bars. So all that’s left to do, is meet the new arrivals...

Cafe Vegan Protein Shampoo

Silica: colour protection

Silica’s MO is to stop colour fading and features sun protection courtesy of BMBM; “it's like a suntan lotion for your hair,” Dan explains. “BMBM pushes away both the UVA and UVB so it gives you double protection, enhanced by the raspberry seed oil.” Silica gets its name from the stores of naturally-occuring silicone it holds, produced by Horsetail herb, which increases shine and elasticity. Playing with your perception, Silica forgoes the sweet-scented fragrance you might expect from a bright pink shampoo, delivering a fresher, herbier edge, thanks to its assortment of absolutes and oils including spearmint, lavender, and thyme. Fresh organic lemon juice adds a slice of citrus flair that encourages cuticles to lay flat and reflect more light.

 

Fix: bottle blonde booster

The purple Vegan Protein Shampoo harnesses chamomile and marigold to naturally brighten bottled blondes. “We’ve also added the Violet 2 colour,” Dan adds, “used in toners to neutralises yellow.” Coconut oil adds moisture, as does extra virgin olive oil which teams with aquafaba to increase the tensile strength of the hair, making it less prone to breakage. Organic jojoba oil, well-known for its close affinity to hair’s natural oils, intensely nourishes the chemically damaged hair. Lemon juice brings shine and a zesty note, while jasmine, rosewood, ylang ylang, and violet leaf entwine for a heady, floral scent.

 

The Black stuff: volume and shine enhancer

For those craving shinier locks full of swell, The Black Stuff is the one to go for says Dan, “this one isn't quite as conditioning as the others, but out of all of them is the most voluminous.” One of the key, not-so-secret ingredients is stout - which lends the shampoo its name - adding softness, volume and shine, and is said to be particularly effective on dark hair. Molasses, which like honey, acts as a humectant, actively draws moisture into the hair. Yeast and balsamic vinegar protectively coat the cuticles and cause the strands to amplify, while charcoal eliminates congestion in the follicles, aiding new growth. Benefiting from intoxicating jasmine and uplifting orange flower absolutes, the shampoo delivers a bright and botanical scent that stays with you for hours.

 

Café: hair retention stimulator

As the name suggest, Café serves up a shot of caffeine to help promote hair retention and growth. “If someone's worried about their hair falling out and wants something to keep hold off the hair they’ve got, then this is a really great product to use,” Dan says. While caffeine serves to send rich oxygenated blood to the scalp, fresh mint and menthol crystals produce a tingling, cooling sensation which constricts the hair follicles, keeping hair locked in for longer. Conditioning absorbent lycopodium powder to naturally degrease the scalp, which decongests follicles and encourages hair to grow. Brazilian orange and Sicilian lemon oils plus vanilla absolute welcome a sweet, fruity fragrance, while clove bud oil adds a warm, spicy edge, which thanks to its antiseptic abilities help to cleanse and stimulate the scalp some more.

So will you head for the Café to give your hair a wake-up call, or do you need a pint of The Black Stuff to get it bouncing back to life? Perhaps you’ll turn to Silica for protection or use Fix to keep those brassy blondes at bay. Whatever you plump for, the next time you get asked; ‘so where do you get your protein from?’

You’ll have a better answer: Lush

Translated by Anthea Wong; edited by Kadii Chan.

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