Lipstick with New Zealand strong wool a world-first

Lipstick with New Zealand strong wool a world-first

Image of Karen Murrell lipstick and packagingMEDIA RELEASE – Monday 28 November 2022

New Zealand-based company Wool Source and leading lipstick brand Karen Murrell have teamed up to create an unexpected new avenue for strong wool – a lipstick coloured with wool keratin-based pigment.

This collaboration marks the first product to be created and commercially available using Wool Source’s drop-in ingredient and is believed to be a world-first in beauty.

Wool Source Chief Executive Tom Hooper says, “We’re excited that the first product using our ingredient is coming to market in New Zealand and will be something New Zealanders and growers can get behind.

“By collaborating with an experienced and respected brand like Karen Murrell, we’ve been able to test the performance of our pigment with a rigorous product development process and we’re delighted that it’s created a product that Karen and her team are excited by and keen to promote.”

Wool Source Pigments are one of the products Wool Source is looking to commercialise out of the New Uses for Strong Wool programme backed by wool growers, supply chain participants, Ministry for Business and Innovation and Employment and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund. The seven-year multi-million-dollar research programme was spearheaded by Wool Research of New Zealand (WRONZ). WRONZ then founded Wool Source in 2021 to test market potential for its world-leading technology in deconstructing wool fibre into pigments, powders and particles that retain wool’s performance benefits at ultra-fine particle level.

Leading global Lipstick Designer and beauty entrepreneur Karen Murrell says she was blown away by the research and the performance of the ingredient.

“The wool keratin powder can absorb and neutralise pollutants, preventing them from damaging your skin from oxidative stress. The absorbent nature of the keratin powder in the pigment and its light sponge-like character locks the moisture in close to the skin, keeping the lips well hydrated.”

Murrell explains the ultra-fine keratin powder is undetectable in the application of the lipstick and is incredibly soft, completely non gritty, and applies like a very smooth, balm-like lipstick with a deep red colour.

Murrell was particularly excited to see the collaboration come through testing stage 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 and she says, “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.”

Hooper adds, “We’re seeing a lot of interest and excitement in our products from different sectors and organisations around the world. We have ingredients that are natural, sustainable, ethically sourced, biodegradable and completely traceable and that’s increasingly important to brands and to consumers. And then wool brings all these amazing performance benefits like moisture management, pollution control, odour absorption, flame retardance and more.”

In keeping with its strong rural ties, the new lipstick dubbed “Kera Kisses” will be launched at Fieldays on 30 November and available for purchase online at