Silk Skincare Cosmetics Made from Spider Silk
Bolt Threads is a company that likes silk. Silk ties, silk toques, they’re all about it. But their silk isn’t ordinary.
They use spider silk. Without requiring any spiders.
Bolt Threads uses cellular agriculture to grow spider silk from cells. By designing cell cultures to produce the same silk proteins found in spider silk, Bolt Threads can make the same material. Without any animals.
And now, Bolt Threads announced that they are entering the cosmetic space with the launch of its spinoff company, Eighteen B, to produce skincare products with silk. Eighteen B launched with two products with its trademarked ‘b-silk’: a silk protein moisturizer and cream.
When added to cosmetics, silk proteins help create a protective barrier around the skin. Making it a useful ingredient in skincare products.
And, according to Eighteen B, their silk skincare products do more than that. They also help smoothen the skin, improve its firmness, and help the skin retain moisture.
Bolt Threads: A Build Up to Silk Skincare
The launch of Eighteen B is a great start to the year for Bolt Threads after a grand 2018.
Having released their first products in 2017, Bolt Threads began 2018 by raising a massive $123 million in their series D round of funding. The following month, Bolt Threads was named in Fast Company’s list of Most Innovative Companies of 2018 for applying spider silk to clothing.
Moving beyond spider silk, Bolt Threads also announced its latest product line in 2018: Mylo. Unlike their other products, Mylo is not made from spider silk. It’s leather, made from mushrooms. Licensing the technology from Ecovative Design, Mylo is a leather-like material made from mycelium, the root structure of mushrooms.
Later in the year, Bolt Threads announced their first commercial product from the Mylo line: The Driver Bag. Each bag is cut and hand-sewn in partnership with Chester Wallace, a bag company in Portland, Oregon.
Alongside Modern Meadow’s ‘bioleather’ (which is animal leather grown from cell cultures), Bolt Thread’s Mylo offers a sustainable source of leather that can be the future of sustainable clothing and fashion design.
Cell Ag and Cosmetics
Besides Bolt Threads, Geltor is the only other cell ag company to produce sustainable cosmetics.
Geltor is a company that uses cellular agriculture to produce collagen from cell. Collagen has many functions and can be used to make a variety of products, like gelatin, leather, and cosmetics.
Last year, Geltor released their first cosmetic product. In May 2018, Geltor won the CEW’s Award for Innovation for their product: N-Collage, a collagen product for skincare use. The CEW Awards is one of the beauty industry’s top awards, and it’s promising that Geltor’s first product earned them early recognition in the industry.
It will be interesting to see if Eighteen B’s innovative use of spider silk proteins for cosmetics earn the company similar recognition in the cosmetic space.
Growing Silk Without Spiders
While the only companies currently using animal-free spider silk in cosmetics, Bolt Threads and Eighteen B are not the only companies to produce and use animal-free silk.
Spiber is a Japanese company that uses cell-grown silk proteins to make various products. At the end of 2018, Spiber announced that the company raised ¥5 billion (US $44.1 M) to set up their first production plant in Thailand.
Similarly, AMSilk is a German company that also uses cell-cultured spider silk proteins. Calling their biofabricated silk ‘Biosteel’, AMSilk recently announced a partnership with watch company Omega to use their silk to make watch straps. AMSilk’s website suggests that they are also interested in entering the cosmetic space.
Spider silk clothing, mushroom leather, and now silk skincare products.
The variety of products showcase how Bolt Threads is a multifaceted company that can innovate in more than one space and product. The company also highlights how bioengineering has the ability to innovate and improve product design and materials in various fields.
It will be interesting to see if Bolt Threads and its spinoff Eighteen B will release any other products this year. With the release of Eighteen B’s skincare products, Bolt Threads and Eighteen B are still among the first companies using cellular agriculture to have a product in the market.
In 2017, Bolt Threads made the first spider silk necktie and sold 50 of them for $314 each. Later that same year, Bolt Threads partnered with the Best Made Company to make toques and released a limited amount of them.
My name is Ahmed Khan, and I am the Editor of CellAgri. Please subscribe to my email newsletter at www.cell.ag to get the latest research and news about cellular agriculture, which I share exclusively with my email subscribers. We are regularly tweeting out interesting articles and thoughts via twitter @Cellagritech