Living Proof’s Frizz-Busting Technology Unveiled, Sort Of

Xconomy Boston — 

When I wrote last month that MIT professor Robert Langer and Polaris Venture Partners had teamed with veterans of the beauty industry, the burning question on my mind was: What would their product be? Well, I’ve just learned the answer (most of it, anyway).

Living Proof, the Cambridge, MA, startup formed to apply innovations in science to address beauty challenges, has in recent days begun to sell its first hair products on its new website. The firm claims that it’s got “the first new anti-frizz technology in over 30 years,” and for one month only customers can buy its hair sprays, creams, and the like directly from its labs. I was tempted to buy some for kicks, but with its $24 price tag, I think I’ll stick with my cheap tube of L.A. Looks “Mega X-Treme Hold” hair gel.

In true form, the secretive startup wouldn’t reveal details about its online product launch, which, sources told me, began over this past weekend. “At this point we’re not making any comments about the company or the products other than what’s on the website,” says Cassie Kelley, vice president of marketing at Living Proof. “Everything you need to know is there, for now.”

Everything? The website gives virtually no details about how its new technology combats frizz. However, here’s a patent filing I found that describes at least some of the technology that Living Proof (formerly Andora) is working on. And here is a webpage with links to descriptions of—and ingredient lists for—half a dozen of Living Proof’s frizz-fighting products. I’m no chemist, and it’s not clear to me whether these ingredients match with the technology in the patent filing or not. (If you are a chemist, feel free to share your thoughts.)

One of the inventors listed on the patent filing is Amir Nashat, a partner at Polaris Venture Partners in Waltham. Amir, the former acting president of Living Proof, is on the board of the company. Nashat has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from MIT, where he studied in Langer’s lab. Langer is also on the board of Living Proof. I tried to reach Nashat at his office yesterday without any luck.

So the mystery continues, fueled in no small part by Living Proof’s simultaneously minimalist and grandiose marketing materials. In a videotaped introduction on the new site, for instance, CEO, Rob Robillard, a veteran of beauty products giant L’Oreal, stands in front of a plain-white backdrop and says: “Everything we do in Living Proof… is about creating science that has never been used in this industry before.” He follows it up with a series of similarly non-specific statements about the company’s scientific pedigree and approach. But his hair looks pretty good the whole way through.

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16 responses to “Living Proof’s Frizz-Busting Technology Unveiled, Sort Of”

  1. Wade RoushWade Roush says:

    I love the part of the video where Robillard says “We are really a company about solving problems and we are going to tackle each one, one by one, until there are no more left.”

  2. Stacey Williams says:

    All the details for the No Frizz line by Living Proof are now available in the October 2008 issue of Allure, where the product earned an award for one of this year’s “beauty breakthroughs.” Living Proof’s website also says that the products will soon be available for purchase at Sephora and through QVC.

  3. Heather G. says:

    I bought a tube off their site after reading about it in Allue. They sent me 2 for the price of one as an introductory gift and charged zero shipping!!!!

    I’m very happy with the product so far. It makes blow drying your hair straight very easy, and makes my hair look very thick without nasty product buildup. I actually stumbled by this article when looking for their website to order more.

  4. Katharine says:

    QVC just had this product on. Two bottles, one for straight hair and one for curly hair for $34 something. Only need the curly one so too bad I wasn’t able to buy it to try. Will wait until it come out at Sephora or HSN.

  5. Kelli says:

    I suggest not waiting – unbelievable is what this product is. Does not leave your hair greasy in the least, incredibly straight and shiny. I swear this doesn’t even look like my hair. I can’t imagine the two formulas are that different. It gets better every time I use it. Fabulous

  6. Colleen says:

    This product is absolutely amazing! I bought during the trial period as well, and am very glad I did – because now I can’t find the it anywhere (I guess until Feb 2009, it’s mass-launch date). I’m wishing I would’ve purchased several tubes, because now I will have to ration until Feb *scream*. If you’ve purchased every anti-frizz product under the sun, only to be disillusioned, try this one to restore your faith in anti-frizz technology. It’s well worth the 24.00 price tag… because it actually WORKS!! My hair is very thick, coarse & dry, but it feels silky and lush after applying No Frizz & blow-drying. I’ll willing pay the slightly high price if it means my hair will no longer look & feel like straw. No-Frizz is a savior for out of control hair!

  7. Karen says:

    I placed an order on 10/10/08 after seeing it mentioned on the Today Show with Hoda Kotb and Kathe Lee Gifford on 10/03/08. I have yet to recieve the product and their web store has been closed since I placed my order. I ordered direct because I was not able to watch the date it was to be featured on QVC. Hope I have not been scammed. Starting to think maybe too good to be true. Hope Not!

  8. Patty says:

    Love No Frizz! I live in Florida and have alot of trouble with frizzy hair. This product works great!

  9. Kirsten says:

    I have tried both the straight-making and wave-making products and they both work amazingly well. My only concern is whether or not this stuff is safe to breathe in. The smell of it gags me and I get a headache right after using it. They encourage you to use a lot of it, saying “you can’t use too much.” But by the time you’ve applied an ample amount the whole bathroom is a fog of noxious fumes, which you can’t escape because they are now emanating from your head of hair and follow you around from room to room. Does the FDA have to inspect something like this? Bottom line: Products definitely are sort of miracle workers. But are they safe on our lungs?

  10. Sunny says:

    Oh, no! Everything I read about these products sounds so great and now I hear that they SMELL really bad???? I have been trying to find a no frizz hair product that has no fragrance at all because I am allergic to fragrances if they are synthetic which most hair products today contain. I am so upset!


  11. Susan says:

    I’ve used frizz for thick to coarse hair and like it. I have below the shoulder length, coarse, thick, naturally wavy color treated hair. It does make my hair feel really clean even when I use the amount they suggest. I didn’t notice a lot of difference however when I reduced the amount. I do find that I still must straight iron to get it as straight as I like it. I’m not sure if frizz is a protective for straight ironing so I use my old product on top of it. I wish I could just use frizz because I feel that using a silicone straight iron protective product attracts dust to my hair. So, if anyone else knows if I could use frizz as a protective product for straight ironing, let me know. Also, does anyone know if it’s safe? Chemicals worry me.

  12. Colleen says:

    I use this product before blow-drying and then proceed directly to straightening my hair, without applying any other product. It seems to do a great job protecting from heat styling – it seems to work WITH heat to provide a frizz-free glossy look. As far as the anti-frizz technology goes, the cream coats your hair strands making it resistant to absorbing the water in the atmosphere that creates frizz. You know how most products say “the more you use it, the better it will work” ~ and it’s just some sort of scam to get you to buy more products? Well, No Frizz is one product that actually DOES work better the more you use it. After using it for the past 6 months and my hair is in the best shape ever, with the least frizz ever. Even when I skip using the product for a few days, the frizz isn’t nearly as bad as it was before I discovered this product.

    I was very surprised to see that a couple of people thought the scent was too strong! I use the No Frizz Cream for thick coarse hair & thought the product had a light, clean, refreshing scent.

    I’m not a scientist and have no clue what the chemical names in this product mean. But I do know that chemicals are all around us, every day, in basic products like deodorants, soaps, shampoos, aluminum cans, water bottles, and especially in the air we breathe. There’s no avoiding the chemicals in our environment, so I’m not going to worry about the ones in No Frizz. All I know is that they make my hair gloriously frizz-free!!

  13. lethe says:

    Anyone take a look at the ingredients? Notice that vinyl is one of them? VINYL? Yikes.

  14. lola says:

    one more chemical product to give us instant shine
    There are many people who have healthy hair with out the use of chemicals.