Every so often, a product comes along that shakes the beauty world to its core. Think the P50s, Augustinus Baders, and Rare Beauty blushes of the world. The latest example is without a doubt the K18 treatment, a bond-repairing leave-in that spread through the celebrity colorist community like wildfire, and just two years after launching counts Kim Kardashian and Hailey Bieber (among countless others) as some of it's most vocal fans.
Despite the brand's success, its offerings have been minimal—just the iconic mask—but that changes now. On August 4, the brand has finally launched two new products: the K18 Peptide Prep Detox Shampoo ($38), and the K18 Peptide Prep pH Maintenance Shampoo ($36). Both shampoos contain the brand's patented K18Peptide, but each has it's own benefits.
Just like the signature mask, both shampoos were created to protect and strengthen hair. "In the K18 shampoos, our K18PEPTIDE works as a protective shield to reduce protein loss that can occur during washing to keep hair feeling soft, strong, healthy and clean," says Suveen Sahib, the brand's co-founder and CEO. The Detox Shampoo has the additional benefit of—as the name suggests—clarifying any product, oil, and dead skin buildup from the scalp thanks to charcoal and salicylic acid.
On the other hand, the Maintenance Shampoo is better suited for daily or frequent washes, and throughly cleanses without stripping or drying. In addition to the K18 peptide, it's pH balanced to ensure hair and scalp health. "An optimized pH ensures that the formula promotes a healthy scalp, minimizes swelling of the cuticle during washing and protects hair’s natural moisture levels for a smooth hair result," says Sahib. "It also means it's color and keratin safe."
Both shampoos are suitable for all hair types, color-safe, vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free.
"We needed a shampoo that was actually created to work with the biology of hair," says Sahib on the inspiration behind the product. "By looking at nature as the ultimate designer, we can fundamentally restructure our relationship to our hair health. These two Peptide Prep shampoos clarify and cleanse with optimized pH ranges to be kind to your hair and scalp equilibrium."
If you're not familiar with the K18 technology, essentially it goes beyond the feel of your hair, and actually rebuilds it from the inside out. When hair is damaged it's due to a broken polypeptide chain, which results in visibly damaged hair like split ends and frizz. K18's peptide is able to fill in that chain, reconnecting and bonding it. This is able to essentially reverse the damage, and keep hair strong and protected.
In addition, "Each shampoo was made with only 17 intentional ingredients, plus our patented peptide to deliver the most optimized clean with less fluff and filler—and still clear the path for a true clean that delivers maximum results from our K18 molecular repair," says Sahib.
Below, we put the K18 Peptide Prep pH Maintenance Shampoo to the test.
Bella Cacciatore, News Editor
Shampoo is generally the least interesting category to me, but when I heard the term pH balancing, I was immediately intrigued and couldn't wait to try it. When I lathered up in the shower, I was a little worried since the sudsy formula felt a little more drying than the moisturizing formulas I usually use, but once I went in with a conditioner my concerns were quelled. The next day (I shower at night) I woke up to hair that felt super clean and bouncy, but not stripped. I also noticed that not as much of my red gloss faded out as it does during a usual wash. The bounce lasted all day, and I love the subtle fruity scent.
Holly Rhue, Associate Editorial Director
My hair is a wavy, sweaty mess during the summertime, so I love that this formula leaves my scalp and hair feeling squeaky clean without completely stripping the moisture out. Instead, it felt like I had a clean canvas for a rich conditioner (or K18’s leave-in mask) and styling products to really penetrate. I’m definitely adding this to my regular rotation!