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SU spin-out makes beauty world spin with one of 100 best inventions
Author: Corporate Communication/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Rozanne Engel]
Published: 13/02/2020

A Stellenbosch University (SU) spin-out company is behind a nanofiber cosmetics product, which was selected by Time magazine as one of the 100 best inventions of 2019.

The Stellenbosch Nanofiber Company (SNC) has revealed that it is working with Taiki USA, a global leader in skincare and makeup tools, to help bring United States (US) company Artis' Artis Phantom Cleansing Silks to market.

Since last year, the Artis Phantom Cleansing Silks has been sold mainly online, and was one of only five beauty inventions that made the Time magazine list.

According to Anita Nel, Chief Director: Innovation and Business Development at Innovus, the success of SNC “has created a new benchmark" for each of the University's start-ups. 

SNC was set up in 2011 as a spin-out from SU's industry interaction, technology transfer and commercialisation company, Innovus.

The company has developed various cutting-edge medical nanofiber products, ranging from wound dressings that help burn wounds heal faster, to resorbable tissue scaffolds for generating replacement parts for the human eye.

“We are incredibly proud that an SU born technology was commercialised so successfully that their collaboration with international partners lead to a product acknowledged by Time magazine.  It shows yet again how much potential SU researchers' work has and it gives us all confidence that we can successfully work with partners to bring our own technologies to the market where it benefits society. I am personally so proud of Dr Eugene Smit and his team. SNC's success can be repeated in many more fields by our other spin-outs," says Nel.

The biggest goal of this nanofiber cosmetic product is to transform a traditional three-step process – oil cleansing, foam cleansing and gentle exfoliation – into one easy and effective beauty ritual.

The “silks" or small oval patches utilise a unique combination of biodegradable, dissolving nanofiber textiles and ingredients like jojoba oil and vitamin E.

Since the product does not activate until it touches water, there is no need for excess preservatives to stabilise the ingredients, as is the case in conventional cleansing gel, cream or foam.

​The Artis Company has described the product as the “Face Wash of the Future", and SNC, along with these US companies, hopes to bring this innovative skincare product to the general market soon.