Jul 14, 2021
By Pae Wu
Aja Labs: Superhuman hair engineered from plants

“This is bone black” she said as she handed me a sample of jet black hair.  Silky smooth, shiny, and knottable — the bundle of plant-based hair extensions was, unmistakably, hair.

Aja Labs’ biodegradable, plant-based hair samples on display at IndieBio Batch 11’s Expo on 12 July 2021

Co-founded by Osahon Ojeaga and Suna Lumeh, Aja Labs is a direct-to-consumer company premiering at IndieBio San Francisco’s Demo Day on July 15th.  Their mission is to make superhuman hair, from plants, for healthier hair, healthier people, and a healthier planet.

Ojeaga’s vision sprang from her experiences using and selling hair extensions and braids.  During her travels through Asia, she grew disillusioned with the hair industry’s toll on the environment, users’ health, and the human exploitation powering human hair products.

After recruiting Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Mary Moore, a polymer engineer who had pivoted from R&D in the Department of Defense and Raytheon to starting her own natural products line to solve her daughter’s hair product allergies – the Aja Labs team developed two product-line prototypes for plant-based hairs.  They boast a growing following of users, stylists, and distributors alike. 

Aja Labs’ co-founder, Suna Lumeh, models their caramel-colored, plant-based hair at IndieBio Batch 11’s Expo

By some estimates, hair extension and braid users spend between $2000 and $5000 per year on hair extensions alone and no products exist that address the comfort and safety of the users while simultaneously creating minimal environmental or human cost in the production process.  Combining their vision, biotech and chemistry backgrounds, and extensive experience in the market the Aja team executed a two-pronged development plan — first a nourishing, biodegradable, biopolymer to improve the user experience and second a low energy, green chemistry approach directly transforming agricultural waste into supple, beautiful hair that rivals the natural products “donated” from India.  Seeing their technical development paths unfold, there is no question the team is committed to the overall vision for Aja Labs to give the consumer what she wants, ethically, sustainably, and healthfully.  

If you’re interested in learning more about Aja Labs, come to IndieBio SF’s Batch 11 Demo Day on July 15th and book your time with Osahon and Suna!