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A lipstick made from wool? A new Kiwi innovation makes it a reality

A lipstick made from wool? A new Kiwi innovation makes it a reality

New Zealand based company Wool Source has collaborated with Kiwi lipstick brand Karen Murrell to produce what it says is a world-first lipstick containing activated keratin powder from wool fibre.

It has been used in Karen Murrell’s new Kera Kisses lipstick, a blue-based red with a dewy, hydrating finish.

Wool Source has developed technology that extracts wool keratin with minimal processing and transforms it into a fine powder. The powder can be used to take on eco-certified colour to create a natural pigment that offers wool’s natural characteristics, including moisture retention and even pollution and free radical protection, protecting skin from oxidative stress.

“Wool, as we know from garments, is very good at taking on colour, explains Wool Source Chief Executive Tom Hooper. “We’ve discovered that the same is true in the wool powder we’ve developed when you add colourant. We now have this new ingredient for colour cosmetics – a natural, wool-based pigment that delivers a long-lasting, vibrant hue in cosmetic products.”

Given sustainable, traceable, ethically-sourced alternatives to carmine (an insect-based dye) and synthetic pigments are currently a key focus in beauty innovation, the potential for the powders’ use globally is promising.

It was developed as part of a seven-year research program to investigate new uses for wool that are both good for people and the planet.

The ultra fine keratin powder is undetectable in Karen Murrell’s new release now available to purchase, which applies like a very smooth, balm-like lipstick.


Murrell says she’s excited about its use in the new arrival, giving the lipstick impressive protective and hydrating qualities.

“The absorbent nature of the wool pigment makes it a good moisture buffer. Its light and sponge-like character holds moisture next to the skin, keeping the lips well hydrated by effectively maintaining a moisture cushion on their surface”.

The lipstick creator  says she was excited to see the collaboration come through the rigorous development and testing stages so well, as she hails from a rural background in Te Awamutu and was keen to support the farming sector.

The wool used for the pigment is from Westmere Farm in Ashburton.

“The traceability of the keratin held huge appeal for us and the design on the product box is a shot of the actual farm that the sheep are from.”

The new lipstick is available for purchase online at



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