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It started with a survey in 2011. I asked the Truth In Aging community to tell me what anti-aging products they were most interested in. The answers, from more than a 1,000 of you, were unequivocal: products to help hair growth and restore volume, as well as anti-aging devices that would bring the esthetician home. Unable to find existing products that truly met these needs, I started to have this crazy idea. What if I created them under the Truth In Aging brand?
It did turn out to be a crazy idea. Product development is far from easy, and it has been a long and iterative process. But today we have two Truth Vitality product lines, an FDA-approved device and TV, traditional retailers and ecommerce sites interested in taking them. Here’s the story of how Truth Vitality evolved, with a series of prototypes that have been directed by feedback from the Truth In Aging community.
In my own search for a hair growth product that would help restore my hair to its pre-menopausal glory, I tried many that simply didn’t work. Eventually, I came across copper peptides and found that not only did they have an impressive pedigree for wound healing, but they were also associated with hair growth. It seems to work on the follicle in two ways: increasing follicle cell proliferation and decreasing programmed follicle cell death, which results in smaller follicles. What’s more is that copper peptides worked for me. My receding hairline started to fill in. The problem was the products with copper peptides that I found were difficult and unpleasant to use.
So I approached Darrell Owens the founder and chief formulator of Your Best Face, a favorite anti-aging skin care line. I asked Darrell if he could help me formulate an all-natural hair serum based on copper peptides. He gamely agreed to give it a try. After much tinkering and using my hairline as the proverbial guinea pig, we had a prototype that was worth testing on a larger group. 170 TIA community members answered the call for volunteer testers, and at the end of three months, more than 70% reported that our serum worked, and they would buy it.
They also told us that they didn’t like the smell, and we improved the initial product based on the feedback we were getting. Hair Vitality Complex was launched in 2012 and became one of the bestsellers in the Truth In Aging store.
Earlier this year, I changed the branding to Truth Vitality Advanced Complex ($59-79 in the shop) and boosted the copper peptides in the formula. This summer, it was taken on by the first major retailer, Henri Bendel on Fifth Avenue, no less.
So many women have thinning eyebrows. It can be the result of over-plucking or, in my case, those uncooperative hormones. By the time I was 50, my eyebrows were moth-eaten, with distinct gaps that I feared would never grow back, and the left eyebrow tapered off somewhere in the middle.
Using the same copper peptides as the Advanced Complex, the brow growth serum also uses emu oil. Believe it or not, oil from a large, flightless bird has been proven by researchers to revive even dormant follicles.
Responding to feedback from users, Brow Empower ($39 in the shop) has been given a copper peptide boost and has been formulated to dry quickly on the brow to enable makeup to be applied if desired. I use Brow Empower about 4 to 5 times a week and now have a full set of brows. Eat your heart out, Cara Delevingne.
I wanted a shampoo and conditioner that would complement Truth Vitality Advanced Complex. They should augment healthy hair growth by giving the hair volume and reducing shedding.
The shampoo has been the most challenging and has been through three major iterations. More of a cleansing treatment than a conventional shampoo, Truth Vitality True Volume Shampoo ($29 in the shop) doesn’t lather much (the surfactant we ended up using in this third version is mild but cleansing). We also managed to hone in on a refreshing lemongrass scent.
We added in the copper peptides to both the shampoo and the conditioner, so they are well worth leaving on for as long as possible before rinsing off (while finishing ablutions or cleaning teeth, for example). There’s some instant gratification with increased volume, especially from the Truth Vitality True Volume Conditioner ($35 in the shop) and fewer hairs around the drain hole.
I believe that LED light and ultrasound are the most effective DIY treatments available for treating lines as well as plumping and firming the skin, and it has been exciting to work on creating a model that’s effective. Truth Vitality Lux Renew ($279 in the shop) is the fourth version of our LED and ultrasound system. LED and ultrasound are established technologies, and increasingly, science is understanding the mechanism by which they improve the skin. Ultrasound waves prompt the vibration of the surrounding tissues, particularly those that contain collagen. Red LED light works by targeting water layers on elastin. Blue light wavelengths penetrate the skin and produce singlet oxygen, which destroys acne-causing bacteria.
On the way, we have constantly improved performance and reliability and, very importantly, got FDA clearance for it. The FDA process was complex and took over a year, so I am very proud of the result.
And why stop there?
I have two products planned for use with the Truth Vitality Lux Renew. One of them will feature copper peptides. In addition to being the signature ingredient in our Truth Vitality hair line, copper peptides have an affinity with LED. There is compelling research that shows that LED light is more impactful on collagen production when used in conjunction with copper peptides. I hope to have these ready by the end of the year. And in a few weeks, I’ll have my prototype microcurrent device available. Check back for an update!
The strategy continues to be to work with the Truth In Aging community to discover what is needed, research proven ingredients and technologies and create (through trial and error) unique products that really work.