K18 Biomimetic Hairscience co-founder Suveen Sahib is looking to build on one of the biggest hair care success stories of 2021, the K18 Leave-in Molecular Repair Hair Mask. Thanks to a patented peptide to repair hair damage from bleach, color, chemical services, and heat—the mask has been likened to “retinol for hair.”

“Currently, we are ranking as one the top five hair brands alongside legacy players like Redken, Olaplex, and L’Oréal—and we are a startup brand,” said Suveen of the brand sold in more than 50 countries, with more in the pipeline. Indeed, Kline Pro U.S. data shows that K18’s revenues expanded more than 100 percent last year, and the brand ranked among the best-selling salon brands.

Next up for the super star brand are two shampoos, one for daily use and one for detoxing hair. Both will ride the social media buzz created by the brand over the past year.

The first of the two new shampoo’s is the Peptide Prep detox shampoo, a color-safe, clarifying shampoo with skin care-inspired ingredients that is micro dosed with the patented K18 Peptide. The shampoo aims to nourish hair while removing buildup for a clean hair canvas and is recommended for use once or twice a week. Since the product contains the K18 peptide it also strengthens hair while removing buildup.

The second launch is Peptide Prep pH maintenance shampoo, a smoothing shampoo also micro dosed with the K18 Peptide. It is optimized with a pH level to cleanse frequently without disturbing pH levels of the hair and scalp to ensure a balanced microbiome. It is suited for daily use.

“The beauty is that K18 works across every hair type, every texture and every generation and it has a strong presence on TikTok which is thirsty for hair content,” said Suveen, who also founded the Aquis water-wicking towel with his wife, Britta.

The science behind the K18 peptide is biomimetics—the practice of learning from and mimicking nature,” he said. By mirroring the natural structure of keratin building blocks (amino acid sequences), the K18 bioactive peptide is recognized as natural by the hair, fitting in and reconnecting broken keratin chains. Because K18’s peptide is “recognized” as natural, it’s not washed away by water or shampoo like traditional bonding agents and ionic crosslinkers. Biomimetics goes beyond bond builders to actually repair the hair from the inside out, he said.

“You cannot repair hair from the outside,” he added, noting that K18 restores hair to over 90 percent of its strength and elasticity. The product works with only one step, in four minutes.”

K18 was first embraced by the stylist community, who understood that it expanded their opportunity to be creative without sacrificing client hair health. They can also be attributed to propelling the brand to its current star status. When salons closed because of COVID-19, hairdressers took to social media to show K18’s transformative and instantaneous results in compelling before and after shots, shared around the world. “Stylists were using the product at home and TikTok was a great platform to share the results. Consumers were also using the mask at home during the pandemic and it all really grew from there,” said Suveen.

The brand garnered further momentum when celebs such as Kim Kardashian, Selena Gomez, Lily James, Hailey Bieber, and Halsey posted about their positive K18 results.

In just one year on the market, K18 became the number one trending brand on TikTok, fueled by its #K18 HairFlip Challenge. Entrants showed their best-hair flip to compete for a Sephora shopping spree and a K18 in-salon service. The post has since generated more than 11 billion views. TikTok also enlisted K18 to be a beta tester for their new user generated content campaign this past spring.

Suveen promised the brand won’t be too SKU intensive; he wasn’t even sure about adding shampoo to the mix. “The world didn’t need another shampoo,” admitted Suveen. However, hair health requires a clean canvas. “To have the cleanest hair possible it is necessary to detox,” Suveen said, explaining that metals (in water) and build up from dry shampoo and other styling products can clog the scalp and prevent products from working to their full capacity.

The two new shampoos will be available to both the professional stylist community and consumers for purchase on August 7 at Sephora and K18hair.com and will sell for $38 a bottle.