That dad, Dr. Boyce Clark, combined a PhD in biogeochemistry and love for his daughter to create treatment that would tame often unruly, frizzy locks, all without damaging heat or questionable ingredients that might impact her health.
It all started when his daughter Alden was 10; she was being bullied because of her wild, unmanageable hair. She was reluctant to go to sleepovers because she didn't want anyone to see what her hair looked like when she woke up in the mornings, and she even quit swim team because of the constant teasing about her "pool hair,” according to Clark, who is a single dad.
They tried over-the-counter products that didn't provide long-term results, and booked salon straightening treatments that were expensive and contained chemicals like formaldehyde, an ingredient that Clark was not comfortable using on his pre-teen daughter.
He decided to take matters into his own hands, and dove into books on the chemistry, morphology and composition of hair, hoping to develop his own fix.
Clark hypothesized that by altering the natural keratin protein in hair to make it more water-repelling (hydrophobic) and sealing the hair shaft, by locking down the cuticle via the bonds between hair proteins, this would reduce friction between hairs, thus increasing hair’s lubricity.
With an understanding of the molecular cause of frizz, Clark set out to change the chemistry of hair to remove frizz at its origin. During his research, he found that compounds like silk proteins and fruit acids could bind to hair’s natural keratin and make it repel water, thus preventing frizz. He also discovered that using these agents after coloring hair would dramatically repair damage often caused by the coloring process. This process uses naturally-derived biopolymers, such as silk amino acids, quinoa proteins, fruit acids and aloe vera, to change the molecular structure of the hair’s protein core and locks down the cuticle surface layer, effectively locking out humidity and air pollutants, while sealing in hair’s natural oils, according to the company.
“My PhD in biogeochemistry and extensive lab research experience allowed me to apply the scientific method to understanding the cause of frizz and developing a scientific solution to it,” Clark explained. “Alden and I did nine months of research in our kitchen in which Alden acted as my test subject several nights a week.”
When he hit upon the right mix, Alden’s hair was significantly strengthened and softened, it repelled humidity and gave off incredible shine, without sacrificing her hair’s natural body and wave.
Clark dubbed it The Lubricity System. The at-home treatment has two steps— Step 1 Penetrate and Step 2 Encapsulate which are applied to hair for 15 minutes each and then rinsed out completely.
“We are currently patent pending for both our formula and our application method onto dry hair,” Clark told Happi.
The system is designed to be used every three to six months, and is maintained with regular use of the company’s Q-Shampoo and Q-Condition products.
Clark has expanded his range with products designed for men, too.
“I did create the M series (men’s line) for myself which is a body wash, a 2-in-1 hair co-wash and a shaving/beard oil. All three are scented with tobacco and bay leaf and smell amazing,” he said.
Lubricity Labs recently started working with a contract manufacturer to begin large-scale production.
“This is a long and difficult process, as scaling up is very complicated,” said Clark.
It is complicated to build a brand (as any entrepreneur can attest), but it has to be easier to do when living with a happy teenager (as any parent will agree).
Now 14, and with her hair issues solved, Alden remains part of the NPD process.
“I am always innovating and testing new products and Alden is still my number one tester – right now, we’re playing with a progressive smoothing treatment that would be available to salon professionals only,” said Clark. "Scientific discoveries are always advancing and I love innovating new solutions to help solve people’s hair woes.”