Q&A With Joico R&D Director Rushi Tasker

Joico’s new line of hair care!

For their new styling-product line launching in January, Joico scientists worked with the Human Genome Project to develop their new Bio-Advanced Peptide Complex, which makes a cameo in each of the new stylers. The complex is made with bio-perfected peptides that mimic the natural hair chains. The match is so close that the complex stays in the hair for more than 20 shampoos. The Human Genome project made it possible to understand the DNA structure of every part of the human body, including hair and understanding the follicles’ DNA structure evolved the way Joico’s scientists approached the reconstruction. I caught up with Joico R&D Director Rushi Tasker to find out more about the creation of the brand ‘s new line. It’s science-heavy, I warn you, but worth it! Let’s make like Bill Nye (the Science Guy). 

Bill Nye

Beauty Blogging Junkie: Tell us a bit about your background?
Rushi Tasker: I am an R&D Director at Joico Labs, working with the company for over 12 years. My Education background is in science and business:  MS in Chemistry/ Chemical Engineering from Kiev University in Ukraine and an MBA from University of Connecticut.
The new Joico stylers. 

BBJ: Tells us about how the The Human Genome project’s role in Joico’s new product suite. 

RT: In 2003, the Human Genome Project (HGP) was completed.  It was a 13-year project coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. The project made it possible to understand the DNA structure of every part of the human body including hair.  Understanding the DNA structure of hair evolves the way we approach the reconstruction. Now, for the first time, scientists are able to see the exact structure of human hair, identify which peptides get weakened and damaged and replicate these peptides using Solid-phase peptide synthesis (SPPS). The SPPS allows us to engineer a highly functional advanced peptide (amino acid chain) that replicates any portion of the hair keratin. 
30 years ago, Joico launched Deep Penetrating Reconstructor with hydrolyzed keratin to repair and reconstruct damaged hair. The hydrolyzed keratin, which was a big innovation at the time, came from the process of hydrolysis of human hair (hydrolysis: breaking keratin into small pieces that can penetrate hair shaft). If you read ingredient listings, many products today contain hydrolyzed keratin that can be viewed as a sort of “keratin soup” because in process of hydrolysis, keratins break at random places in their sequence creating small and large amino acids, peptides and proteins. This process can not be controlled and is no longer the best practice in reconstruction as large portion of the hydrolyzed keratin is not functional and substantive to hair due to being the wrong size, either too small or too large.
BBJ: How does Joico’s patent-pending Bio-Advanced Peptide Complex mimic the natural hair chains and how does it affect the hair?
RT: Joico’s patent-pending Bio-Advanced Peptide Complex peptides replicate the exact amino acids in the exact order of the peptides that get damaged in hair. The sequence is so accurate that the peptides fit in perfectly creating sort of a molecular band-aid inside to seal damaged sites in hair.
How long did it take to create the complex?
Peptide synthesis, formulation and testing the complex for safety and performance has taken over three years, which is an extremely short timing. Making new ingredients for use in cosmetic industry requires a lot of testing and registration. Joico Management puts high focus on innovation and supports new initiatives in the R&D, which is what allowed us to bring this project to light in such a short time. This company has truly an entrepreneurial outlook. 
BBJ: What were some of the ingredients that tested and did not function as well?
RT: Creating the peptide complex was an engineering project and not a traditional ‘trial and error’ process used for new ingredients. The project was visualized and planned prior to starting the peptide synthesis. Once the peptides were created, they simply “worked” by locking into place to seal and condition the hair from within. 
BBJ: How does the complex remain in the hair for 20 shampoos?
RT: Since the peptide complex structure is identical to the peptides in human hair, the peptides can precisely repair the damaged areas. The peptides penetrate deep into the cortex, and anchor inside the hair so well that they can not be easily washed off with the surface hair treatments used in hair’s daily routine. This unique technology also prevents over-keratinizing hair and gives soft, shiny and supple feel to the hair in addition to reconstruction.
BBJ: What’s next for you? 
RT: On the Marketing and Education side, we will be busy next year with Joico restage, supporting the distributors, salons and hairdressers with education on new products and technologies, and in R&D… time will tell. We will continue finding new applications and ways to work with the Bio-Advanced complex to solidify our position as the leader in hair reconstruction.  
BBJ: What was the most exiting about working on this project?
RT: The most exciting moment was washing the hair swatches and looking at them under the microscope to see the complex was still there after 5, 10, 15, 20+ shampoos. The proof that the peptides fit so well and our theory worked was incredible. I think that is all we talked about the week of that experiment.
BBJ: What was the most challenging?
RT: The most challenging was to find the right laboratory to synthesize the peptides, people who are knowledgeable and entrepreneurial like us to work on a limited budget and short timeline.
The new line of Joico products will hit shelves in January. 

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