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Does Keratin in Cosmetics Come from Cadavers?

Posted Feb 17 2013 1:01am

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Rozy says…I bet the keratin (in cosmetics) comes from cadavers.

The Beauty Brains respond: 

That’s an intriguing notion, in a weird “Walking Dead” kinda way….

As most of you probably know keratin is a tough type of protein from which hair, nails, hooves, and horns are made. A number of beauty products contain keratin under the assumption that adding it back to your hair will help improve its condition. (Is that true? Only if the keratin is chemically modified to stick to hair.)

So where does all this protein come from? From piles of bald cadavers, as Rozy suggests? Sadly, in this case, the truth is much less interesting than fiction. There are two types of keratin sold for cosmetic use. The vast majority is “regular” keratin which comes from wool. The second type, known as human hair keratin, comes from two places. First, it can come from “reputable sources” of hair remnants. (Think beauty salons, wig makers, etc.) It does NOT come from dead bodies! Second, it can be bioengineered by using wool to duplicate the amino acid sequence of human hair. So either way, no humans are harmed in the production of your hair care products!

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