News Release | Mar 28, 2023

Kerasylium™: BASF Personal Care launches plant-based alternative to animal keratin at in-cosmetics Global

  • Helps to repair damaged hair, and to protect it from daily aggressions
  • Upcycled plant extract from Silybum marianum seed cake, a by-product of Silybum marianum oil production
  • Recent example of how BASF researchers are rethinking hero ingredients within cosmetics

Barcelona, Spain – March 28, 2023 – External influences such as environmental aggressions, lifestyle, and styling routines can cause the proteins in our hair to wear out and become depleted. Hair becomes dry, dull and brittle. At in-cosmetics Global in Barcelona, BASF Personal Care debuts KerasyliumTM, a new hair care ingredient to help repair damaged hair and to protect it from daily aggressions. Kerasylium is a micro-complex, rich in peptides and containing nutrients. The peptides exhibit an amino acid composition similar to that of keratin, a protein naturally present in the hair, which ensures its resistance and elasticity. “Many cosmetic manufacturers rely on keratin for their hair care products because it helps to repair the hair from the inside out. However, the keratin-based ingredients that are usually used in hair treatments are of animal origin. We wanted to change that, so we developed Kerasylium, a plant-based alternative,” said Cécile Kalem, Launch Manager Europe, BASF Beauty Care Solutions France S.A.S.

Upcycled plant extract with proven efficacy

Kerasylium is the result of upcycling milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seed cake, a by-product of milk thistle oil production. It expands BASF’s growing portfolio of active ingredients produced via circular models to conserve resources. The milk thistle used is grown in France for oil production and is based on a traceable and sustainable supply chain. Thanks to its high peptide content (50-70% of the active matter), Kerasylium helps to prevent breakage, especially of weakened hair, through the stabilization and repair of hair keratin, making hair stronger, shinier, and softer. Moreover, comprehensive studies have shown that Kerasylium decreases keratin denaturation by protecting the structural proteins of the hair against oxidative stress, while helping to maintain its color for longer.

Re_think hero ingredients

Just like biotics, hyaluronic acid, retinol and the like, keratin ranks among the so called “hero ingredients” that have long-standing proven efficacy and a well-known mode of action. Challenging the status quo, scientists at BASF are “rethinking” these ingredients by constantly refining them through technological progress and performance improvement, unlocking untapped potential, and developing natural alternatives. At in-cosmetics, BASF will present some of these reinventions of popular ingredients, which, in addition to Kerasylium, include ProbioliftTM, one of the first live bacteria used as a cosmetic ingredient, and PostbioliftTM, the company’s new biotic solutions for healthful skin aging. The innovations pay tribute to BASF’s overarching trade fair concept Re_think, which is designed to reform, reshape and reinvent personal care. Kerasylium will also be on display in the Innovation Zone of the trade show.

The new hair care ingredient is just one recent example of how the company’s Care Chemicals Division is addressing future challenges. Sustainability, digitalization, innovation and new approaches to working together are the key cornerstones to Care 360°– Solutions for Sustainable Life.

About the Care Chemicals division at BASF

The BASF division Care Chemicals offers a broad range of ingredients for personal care, home care, industrial & institutional cleaning, and technical applications. We are a leading global supplier for the cosmetics industry as well as the detergents and cleaners industry, and support our customers with innovative and sustainable products, solutions and concepts. The division’s high-performance product portfolio includes surfactants, emulsifiers, polymers, emollients, chelating agents, cosmetic active ingredients and UV filters. We have production and development sites in all regions and are expanding our presence in emerging markets. Further information is available online at

About BASF
At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Around 111.000 employees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio comprises six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of €78.6 billion in 2021. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at

Related Contacts

Annika Müller
Communications Personal Care Europe
Phone:+49 2173 4995 446