RALEIGHVirtue Labs wants every day to be a good hair day. And its using the latest technology to make it happen, while winning critical acclaim in the process.

The Raleigh-based startup, which focuses on hair, skin and nail treatment, has won Popular Science’s 2019 Best of What’s New Awards for its latest innovation, Virtue ColorKick.

It’s a pure keratin protein powder used by professional hair colorists to prevent damage associated with the coloring process.

“We’re proud to be part of the technology and innovation boom in this state,” explained Melisse Shaban, founder and CEO of Virtue Labs, in a statement.

“The technology that makes Virtue products possible was discovered by a group of scientists in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, seeking to heal severely wounded military soldiers. By chance it was also found to repair damaged hair.”

The proprietary, patented “hero ingredient” — Alpha Keratin 60ku — is keratin in its purest, native form.

A hair follicle treated with keratin. Virtue Labs photo.

Shaban says it’s virtually identical to the keratin protein that makes up 90 percent of hair.

Colorists can mix ColorKick in the color bowl to promote the integrity of clients’ hair. The keratin protein, which  is typically eroded through the coloring process, is refilled by the product, “repaving and sealing the cuticle for improved health, flexibility, and shine.”

This is the third innovation award Virtue ColorKick has received since its launch earlier this year, and the 27th award bestowed upon the company’s hair care products since debuting in February 2017.

In September of this year, ColorKick won an Allure Best of Beauty Breakthrough Award, and an Indie Beauty Innovator Award given by the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD) in July.

In recent years, the startup has raised more than $38 million.

Investors include Greensboro’s Piedmont Capital Partners. It has offices in Raleigh and labs in a renovated former tobacco plant in Winston-Salem’s Whitaker Park.