The past month and a half has been nothing short of a whirlwind of e‑mails, products, and research. Compiling information about small businesses and their products is a lot of work — but rest assured that it is indeed a labor of love. I’ve “met” some pretty amazing entrepreneurs and businesswomen along the way, and if I have to do it all over again for a part IV and V in the future, I’d do so in a heartbeat. But for now, I present the third and final (for now) installment of the Small Businesses to Support!
In the same vein as parts I and II, this list is by no means conclusive. But just for fun, I’m doing this one in alphabetical order!
Backstory: A trained and licensed massage therapist specializing in working with cancer sufferers, AfroVeda founder Mala Rhodes has always been focused on providing relief to those in need. Inspired and grounded by her own father who lost his battle with cancer, Mala pursued the creation of AfroVeda as a means to provide a holistic way to care for hair, mind, and body. Five years ago, she shared a homemade moisturizer with a few women on a haircare board, which encouraged her to move forward in creating her line of products. The natural hair scene had not grown to encompass Ayurvedic practices as of yet, and Mala saw this as an excellent opportunity to share with naturals everywhere the benefits of Ayurveda for natural hair.
Benefits: AfroVeda products are based on the ancient traditions of Ayurveda, using some of the most potent and vitamin-rich herbs and botanicals proven to benefit both hair and skin. Because studies show that approximately 60% of what we put on our skin goes into our bloodstream, Mala and the AfroVeda team are very conscious of the ingredients chosen for products. AfroVeda products are also created according to a person’s dosha (body type), not hair type. This is the traditional Ayurvedic method for treating hair and scalp issues — and customers enjoy much better results with products that are in line with their body’s chemistry. All AfroVeda products are 99 — 100% natural, and do not include parabens, sulfates, pthalates, propylene glycol, PABA, mineral oil, paraffin, petrochemicals, DEA, synthetic colors and animal ingredients.
Best Sellers: The number one fan favorite AfroVeda product is the PUR Whipped Hair Gelly. It is used by celebrities, stylists, and everyday naturalistas everywhere. It was even listed in the list of favorite products in Audra Davis-Sivasothy’s book, The Science of Black Hair. A close second is the Shea Amla Whipped Butter Cream. I took the Dosha Quiz (I’m Pitta with a lil’ bit of Kapha by the way), and used products that were tridoshic (good for all 3 doshas). My personal AfroVeda favorites are the M3 Curl Quench and Carrot Seed Clarifying Shampoo Bar. The M3 Curl Quench is THEE go-to for protective styling, providing tons of moisture. I even used it for a wash n’ go (under my styling product) and found that it left my hair super soft and moisturized for days on end. The Carrot Seed Shampoo Bar, I simply love — and it shocked me that I could feel such a way about a bar of shampoo. Read more about it here.
Where to Buy: Most Afroveda products are available on Amazon.com. AfroVeda also has their own shop, located in Grand Prairie, Texas. You can mix, match, and create your own custom products at the Gourmet Hair Cafe, and even make a hair appointment with a natural hair stylist. For those of us not located in Grand Prairie (or anywhere nearby), products can be purchased at www.afroveda.com.
2. Brown Butter Beauty
Backstory: Christine Gant started Brown Butter Beauty after a transitional period in her life. She was struggling with her weight and her hair — it was short, very thin, and almost bald in some places due to over-relaxing. She was very unhappy with the way she looked, and knew she needed to make some changes. After a lot of praying, she was determined to work on herself. She began exercising and eating healthy natural foods, which ultimately led her in the direction of a natural hair journey in 2000. After a lot of reading and research, she began experimenting with making natural beauty treatments and formulas. Her hair grew back thick, and people began approaching Christine and asking to purchase her products. Brown Butter Beauty officially launched in 2007 with hair pomades, oils, and body butters. Since then, the brand has grown to include conditioners, shampoos, and other skincare products.
Benefits: Brown Butter Beauty products feature food grade oils and organic herbs. They are free from silicones, mineral oil, petrolatum, parabens, and sulfates. Products are cruelty-free and never tested on animals.
Best Sellers: Brown Butter Beauty best sellers include the Rhassoul Herbal Shampoo Bar, Babassu Cream Deep Conditioner, Sweet Milk Detangling Leave-In Conditioner, and Mixed Greens Hair Pomade. I fell head over heels in love with the Rhassoul Herbal Shampoo Bar — so much that I was convinced that it was made just for me. Seriously. It’s in my top 3 favorite shampoo bars of ALL TIME. The Babassu Cream Deep Conditioner is worth it’s weight, leaving my hair buttery smooth (that’s really a thing for me) — especially my randomly kinky thicket of crown hair. Sweet Milk reminds me of Kinky Curly Knot Today, and is a detangling dream. It is also really lightweight, and incredibly ideal for transitioners and naturals with fine hair.
Where to Buy: Brown Butter Beauty is available in three locations across the US, and five internationally. Click here to find out if you can get some Brown Butter Beauty products in-hand, or if you have to order online at www.brownbutterbeautyshop.com.