Silk protein scientist Lindsay Wray helps launch a skin care brand

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

photo courtesy of the brand
photo courtesy of the brand
Today, Wray and her colleagues announced the launch of Eighteen B, the indie beauty brand she’s developed around a biotech derived silk ingredient. The brand’s first 2 products promise improved skin texture, elasticity, and lift.

The new brand (a collaboration between Wray and a next-gen materials company called Bolt Threads) is promoting its products as so-called clean beauty, suggesting that biotech-derived silk protein is more sustainable, better, and/or safer as well as of higher quality than silk-based skin care ingredients derived from “highly processed” ​naturally occurring silk.

“As the clean beauty market rapidly evolves, the Eighteen B team is committed to rigorous testing and the development of safe, effective products that serve the health of your skin and our environment,” ​promises Eighteen B press materials announcing the launch.

By contrast, “most silk used in skincare today is highly processed, compromising its benefits. B-Silk Protein is developed through a fermentation process in the lab, retaining more of silk’s regenerative qualities, locking in moisture, and promoting long-term healthy skin,”​ a representative of the brand tells Cosmetics Design by email.

Sourcing silk without harming worms or spiders

The B-Silk Protein Eighteen B is using in its product formulas isn’t the first biotech silk on the beauty market. In 2015, for instance, Silk Therapeutics patented a stable liquid silk protein, as Cosmetics Design reported​. Though that innovation starts with silk made by the B mori silk moth as its input, and uses a biotech process to purify and isolate fibroin. Silk Therepeutics does have its own brand of personal care under the same name—a portfolio of nearly 20 EWG-verified skin and body care products.

The protein used in Eighteen B’s products (a Revitalizing Hydrogel Moisturizer and a Hydrate + Restore Rich Cream) is made using fermentation.

Beginnings and benefits

Lindsay Wray decided to use biotech silk protein in skincare after working in the Tufts University research laboratory and at a next-generation textiles company called Bolt Threads that does work with spider silk, among other materials.  At Bolt, “she realized that if she could get these full-length chains [of textile-quality silk] into skincare to retain more of silk’s natural properties, she could solve a serious unmet need,” ​as the brand’s press materials describe it. In fact, the new brand operates out of the Bolt Threads' lab in Emeryville, California, according to a brand representative.

As for the benefits of Eighteen B products made with brand’s special protein, the press materials explain that “B-Silk protein works with the structural proteins naturally found in skin, like collagen and elastin, to form a true support system for your skin and strengthen the extracellular matrix. It forms a breathable, protective barrier that locks in moisture and delivers visible lifting, restorative firming and smoothing over time.”

And the brand shared data from a clinical trial (with 33 women participants) showing that after 8 weeks skin elasticity improved on average 68%, 94% of participants had an improvement in skin lifting, and 97% had enhanced skin smoothness.



Deanna Utroske, Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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