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Living Proof Enters Bond-building Category

Living Proof's intentional approach to product development has been at the core of the brand's entry into bond-building.

A new hair care player has entered the bond-building arena.

Living Proof, which minted a partnership with actress Lily Collins in April, has launched its Triple Bond Complex, which seeks to not only repair but also prevent damaged hair bonds before they happen. 

Infused with the brand’s patent-pending, bio-based 3D Fortifying Technology, Triple Bond Complex is intended for weekly application and claims to make hair stronger and more resistant to future damage after just one use.

Said Living Proof’s chief executive officer Zach Rieken, “Our approach whenever we enter a category is that we are always searching for a scientific breakthrough — we don’t just launch products to launch products.”

With consumers increasingly seeking out at-home hair treatments since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, bond-building products have seen an uptick in both consumer demand and industry innovation, with brands including Amika, K18, The Inkey List, Sebastian Professional and, of course, Olaplex, which pioneered the bond-building category upon the brand’s launch in 2014, all cashing in on the trend (albeit some more than others).  

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According to Rieken, Triple Bond Complex was in development for roughly two years, but the brand’s foray into bond-building has been several more in the making. “Triple Bond Complex was inspired by research that our discovery team had actually done several years ago,” Rieken said. 

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“The way that we thought about entering this category is kind of similar to the way that we thought about dry shampoo, which we’re now the market leader in, where we weren’t the first ones to the party, but we knew that when we entered the market, we wanted to do it in a differentiated way that really brought with it a scientific discovery,” he continued. 

In order to set Triple Bond Complex apart from existing bond-building products on the market, Living Proof sought to incorporate heat-activation technology into the product, which has been formulated to target the three main types of chemical bonds that exist in hair: hydrogen, ionic and covalent bonds. 

“When we looked at this category, we saw a lot of opportunity,” said Rieken, who noted that the majority of bond-building products on the market primarily build hydrogen and ionic bonds, the weaker two of the three, while neglecting covalent bonds, the first and strongest on the bond chain of command.

triple bond complex product
Living Proof Triple Bond Complex. courtesy of living proof

Triple Bond Complex’s proprietary 3D Fortifying technology combines with a lipid and peptide blend, a biomimetic emollient blend and a cuticle-sealing agent with the aim of nourishing, protecting and rebuilding hair fibers.

“Triple bond complex actually builds all three types of bonds in the hair, and that’s really what makes our technology different,” Rieken said. “Another thing that makes our technology different is that it doesn’t rely on the hair already being damaged we don’t just repair bonds that are broken, we also create new bonds in the hair with our heat-activated technology.” 

According to the brand, incorporating heat-activated technology not only allows the product to better actuate covalent bonds, but also makes the product a seamless fit in a salon environment, where many treatments often end with a heat-styling service. 

Living Proof’s celebrity colorist ambassador, Jenna Perry, is one hairstylist who will carry the product at her New York City salon, through which the brand aims to boost its profile in the professional channel, as well as overall consumer awareness of the brand. 

“While there are a lot of people that know Living Proof, there are still a lot that don’t, and so we’ve been investing a lot more in brand awareness,” Rieken said.  “We’ve got a big opportunity to expand way beyond North America — expanding our omnichannel presence internationally has been a big driver of our growth, particularly in the U.K. and China.”

Launching Monday on the Living Proof website and sephora.com, Triple Bond Complex retails for $45 for a 45-ml. bottle and $20 for a 15-ml. bottle, and will roll out to Sephora stores on Aug. 11 and in-store at Ulta Beauty Sept. 11. 

Rieken did not comment on the brand’s sales, but industry sources estimate the brand will do over $300 million in retail sales in the next year, and is on track to reach over half a billion dollars in annual sales by 2025.

Last March, the Unilever-owned brand teamed with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to award up to $100,000 across up to four women-led teams in the school’s annual Solve Initiative. The partnership marked the brand’s latest effort in its ongoing mission to tackle the gender disparity in science.