Interview with Klerissa McDonald Founder of Curly By Nature (& Competition)

KlerissaMcDonaldCBN

Klerissa McDonald

Klerissa McDonald is the founder and creative director of award winning UK Brand Curly By Nature.  She is based in North West London and has a family and two children aged 7 and 4. Not only has she perviously worked in salons styling hair she is has a BSc Honours in Management Sciences and Spanish and is also Certified in Advanced Natural Haircare Product Development.

I have had the pleasure in trying out her products past so she was kind enough to stop by the lounge for an interview and to give some products away. If you want to be in with a chance of winning read on.

Angel: When did you set up your business and why?
Klerissa: I set up Curly By Nature as a vehicle for my passion. I am driven to provide solutions for people- For people that have a desire to take great care of their hair, body and environment and for people that require guidance and support in taking good care of their hair. From the tender age of eight, I developed my passion to care for and style hair. I loved to be adventurous with hair, finding fun in creating beautiful protective styles on my own hair as well as family, friends and regular clients. After experiencing work life in several London salons, I witnessed the sad and shocking stories of chemical and heat damage that was plaguing the industry and the community. My desire to develop natural solutions for what I call ‘genetically curly’ hair began to grow. Instead of continuing to build a career in styling, I decided to focus on developing alternative effective natural haircare solutions to enhance and maintain the health of the hair and prevent common hair issues associated with heat and chemical treatments.

Angel: That is a wonderful reason to start, did you face any significant challenges?
Klerissa: The reality is that I experience challenges on a daily basis but it strengthening me, giving me character. For me, the biggest thing that I had to deal with was from the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey is rejection and doubters. I have had many knock-backs on my journey with people saying that it may not work for various reasons. I stayed true to myself, remained positive and persevered. I learnt that when people do not understand you or your idea—it is easy for them to say that it won’t work. Having faith in yourself, understanding how to best communicate and making sure you know what you are talking about helped me to overcome my challenges.

Curly By Nature Moisture Shampoo

Angel: Staying true to yourself is a good positive way of dealing with challenges, so now what does Curly By Nature mean to you?
Klerissa: Our name Curly By Nature® was chosen because we specifically design our products and services for each person who is born with or naturally develops Genetically Curly Hair® despite its current condition, style, state and no matter one’s ethnic origin. In fact it is amazing for chemically straightened or coloured hair. The DNA helix logo represents the curls and bends in genetically curly air, it also represents ‘origination’ with curls being in our DNA. It represents nature and science which is what we employ to formulate high performance solutions. We truly are inspired by nature and pledge to only employ high quality pure ingredients sourced from around the world that has been proven to benefit the hair, scalp and environment.

Angel: So now you have the products, what makes them different to others on the market?Klerissa: Our formulations are very complex, high performing eco- luxe solutions using 100% naturally derived ingredients that nourish, strengthen and intensely moisturise the hair and scalp. We are Genetically Curly Hair® care experts taking pride in using traditional artisan methods to produce high performance hair care and focused on creating and delivering holistic solutions and education. We’re passionately dedicated to sourcing premium quality ingredients proven to benefit both your hair, scalp, body, family and the environment in the best possible way. What’s more, the therapeutic benefits gained from the purity, integrity and complexity of our formulations are truly second to none.

The Curly By Nature Healthy Haircare Kit, (Shampoo, Conditioning Mask and Hair Repair Oil)

Angel: Who would you say your products are for?
Klerissa: For people that have a desire to take great care of their hair, body and environment with high performing professional natural products and for people that require guidance and support in taking good care of their hair.

Angel: For someone wanting to try out your products where would you recommend they start?
Klerissa: Contact me directly at info@curlybynature.com I can direct them to their nearest salon or outlet to experience and or purchase.

Angel:  I have tried and really liked your Nourishing Gloss Balm it made my hair soft and shiny. What is your favourite product in your range?
Klerissa: Every product has a different function and are the best in its own category but overall, I would recommend the Hair Repair Oil because of it multi-purpose capabilities. It may be used as a detangler, Hot Oil Treatment, Oil rinse, scalp massage, heat protectant, sealant and it can double up with other products if you need more moisture.

Nourishing Gloss Balm

Angel: Moving away from CBN Who inspires you and why?
Klerissa: I have many sources of inspiration including my husband, mother, father, family, peers, other beauty brand founders and bloggers. However, my daughter and my cousin truly ignited my inspiration. My cousin is biracial with lovely tight curls, her mother is white with beautiful curly hair, her father is black with dreadlocks. I used to babysit her from when she was a baby and as she got older I used to do style her hair with designer canerow’s hair from time to time. I then trained her and her mother how to take care of it as she got older and independent. It was then when I understood the need for everyday people to access quality advice and products. When I had my daughter (now aged 4), my desire to serve people with honest haircare solutions (both products & services) with integrity was at its most strongest. Not only did I NOT want her and every other child to experience that sad reality of what many curlies have previously experienced (and currently experiencing) with burns (from chemical processing & heat), breakage, damage, self image issues, confidence issues, badmouthing, abusing, neglecting or even hiding one’s own hair and the list goes on. I have continuously been inspired to personally help people through sharing my expertise and products for the whole family to use, that is effective on curls despite your ethnicity and that benefits the body and environment too.

Klerissa's Daughter

Klerissa’s Daughter

Angel: Tell us your hair story?
Klerissa: In short, I have done almost everything you can imagine. I was in love with my natural hair from when I was a toddler. My mother encouraged me to take care of it myself so I have done so independently from the age of 8. When I was 17 I experimented with relaxer. It was great at first but despite taking good care of it with professional care and attention, the chemicals and I did not get on – and the crown fell out. After that I listened to my body and stopped relaxing it. I have learnt through both expert training and experience that there is so much more to healthy hair care and it should be viewed holistically. Being anaemic and low in Vitamin D makes me more at risk to breakage and thinning so a healthy balanced diet, a high water intake and using Curly By Nature has a tremendous impact on the health of my hair. So far I have worn many styles including wigs, weaves and have recently coloured it for the first time plus I have big chopped 3 times. I think that people should have the freedom to experiment and express themselves through their hair without being boxed into a stereotype. However, I know that loving your natural self is essential for great healthy hair which boosts confidence and in practice, hair health must come before styling.

Klerissa Hair Story

Angel:  Gosh my hair started falling out in relaxer too…Klerissa In my opinion you have both the qualifications and the experience to work in this field, what is the one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to make their own products?
Klerissa: RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH. Use multiple strategies and research methods. Test your theories and conduct as much primary research as possible—this is a great way to learn about how they can achieve their goals easier and faster.  Share your idea and thoughts and get feedback. Make sure you are compliant with the current EU regulations and do lots of product testing making sure that it is safe to use. There is no point reinventing the wheel. Get advice from people who have ‘been there and done it’ what can you learn from them?

Angel:  Finally It was mentioned on my facebook group recently how women feel pressured to maintain defined curls and twist outs and that just wearing a fro is not considered beautiful. What are your thoughts?
Klerissa: I think that this statement may be true for some people. I love curls, fro’s and all the above- defined or not. In all honesty, I, have been one of those people- I think mostly because I represent a company called “Curly By Nature” so people naturally look at my hair and judge automatically. Pressure is not the word lol. I realised that there is a fine line and it is easy to get caught up in other people’s expectation of what they think I should look like. I decided that whilst I am the no.1 brand ambassador, I will not conform to other people’s expectations and do what’s best for me and my sanity. In fact, I recently cut and coloured my hair- everyone (I mean EVERYONE!) questioned my motivation. The truth is, as long as you are grooming your hair with tender love and care (using Curly By Nature lol) and enhancing the health of your hair, it should not matter whether you define your curls or not and you should not make that define you- in my opinion.

Angel…Wait before you go, you used to style hair?? Can you do mine?
LOL! I offer holistic consultations and treatment programmes and services (For more info please email info@curlybynature.com) I occasionally style hair but would prefer to recommend an amazing salon called Adornment365 in Brixton. I currently do hair care consultations there and the stylists are professional and actually care for your hair.

COMPETITION TIME

WIN WIN WIN

Win a set from Curly By Nature of Moisture Shampoo, Intensive Conditioning Mask, Hair Repair Oil & Nourishing Gloss Balm

Or be one of 3 Shampoo’s

Like and Comment on this post on The Natural Lounge Website
Like the Curly By Nature Facebook Page
Visit the Curly By Nature Website HERE to sign up to their newsletter

UK entries only, winners to be announced on 21st April

Full Terms and Conditions can be found HERE

comp photo

Signature

Teen Vouge Cover Amandla Stenberg.

It might surprise you to know that I don’t read teen vogue 🙂 however the February issue really caught my eye with this stunning cover. I wondered who this fabulous natural was:

amandla stenberg

image credit:teenvouge

So after having a read it turns out I have been way out of the loop, she was interviewed by Solange Knowles in the article and her name is Amandla Stenberg. She is an actress from The Hunger Games (Rue, if you watched it remember that little black girl) and she has also done a video which you can see here called “Don’t cash Crop on my Cornrows”.

In the interview which is really good  Amandla discusses that video, her natural hair, and some of her experiences. To top it off the pictures of her are stunning.

I’m so pleased to see a magazine aimed at teenaged girls showing the beauty of a natural fro it all serves to encourage them that wearing their hair out is ok and by the time they are my age natural hair won’t be a thing, a fad or a movement it will just be the norm. Times are changing peeps.

Read the full interview here

 

Signature

Curly By Nature – Product Review

Happy New Year everyone, I hope you had an amazing festive season. My first 2015 product review is going to be on the UK based Curly by Nature range.  Read on to find out what happened when I tried them to rescue my dry hair!

Curlybynature1158

Klerissa McDonald, MD Curly by Nature 

 

London based Klerissa McDonald launched the range in Autumn 2013 and I asked her….

Why did you decide to launch a natural hair brand?
“From the tender age of 8, I developed my passion and skills of caring for and styling hair. I have always loved to be adventurous with hair, finding fun in creating beautiful protective styles on my own hair as well as family, friends and regular clients. After experiencing work life in several London salons I saw that there was something missing. It may sound cliche but I am really driven to serve people with quality natural hair care solutions that revive the beauty, wonder and versatility of genetically hair- Curly By Nature gives me this opportunity. 

I use my experience as a natural hair care specialist and certified natural product developer to promote healthy hair care practices using effective high quality natural ingredients and simple methods. Each product we’ve developed contains many active ingredients some of which feature plant based proteins, vitamins, antioxidants and effective essential oils. Every ingredient has a direct benefit to the hair or scalp and is uniquely blended to nourish, restore, strengthen and intensely moisturise the the hair and scalp to enhance and maintain the health or your hair- naturally.”

This reply made me decide that I should try a few products but I wanted to know, for those of you who are thinking of starting your own hair product brand, what Klerissa found the hard parts and what she found easy, she said
“The easy bit by far is receiving the positive feedback from expert stylists, professional salons and individual customers. For me, this is the reason Curly By Nature exists- to serve people with rich, effective & quality products that truly make a difference. Our product portfolio maybe quite small at the moment but each individual product contains a high number of active ingredients and undergone rigorous testing that it has proved its versatility. 

 The hard bit is definitely the non-creative side of the business such as the high level of bureaucracy, financial management etc…. There is a high level of paperwork that is involved in setting up and running a beauty brand and really applies to most if not every business. These things are not particularly fun but it is essential to keep on top it”. 

 

CBN

 Its been so cold lately I asked her if she had any products that could save our hair from the cold, she said
“I can honestly recommend the whole range at the moment *big smile*. Our blog post “5 weapons to protect against winter-trodden curls” (http://www.curlybynature.com/5weaponswintercurls/) points out 5 simple ingredients that you could incorporate into your current regime that will help keep your curls healthy during the winter months. All of these ingredients are featured in our products- particularly the Hair Repair Oil (http://www.curlybynature.com/product/hair-repair-oil/) This is definitely a winner & best-seller amongst recognised beauty enthusiasts and our customers!” 

So, it was time for me to try it.
My hair was so dry dry it looked like this! I had just been wearing it in buns. (Why is it so short? I hear you ask in 2014 my stylist was too scissor happy, no more trims/cuts at the salon for me!)

IMG_20141221_185703

agggh!!!

Anyway with my hair like this, It was time for me to perform a hair rescue using the Curly by Nature Products and some of my own.

First things First – Pre Poo
I first put coconut oil all over my hair the night before, and when I woke up in the morning I sprayed by scalp and hair with a mix of warm water and apple cider vinegar. I then massaged this into the scalp.

Next Step Shampoo
I used the Moisture Shampoo, because I always shampoo when I wash.  Honestly, I wasn’t that keen on it, it gave my hair a slightly stripped feeling but it was cleaned properly and lathered excellently. A little sure went a long way. It retails for £18.99 a bottle and contains Sugar, Coconut, Honey Extract, D-Panthenol , A Blend of Protein , Fruit Extract, Ylang Ylang essential oil.

IMG_20141221_094603

I had a sample size

Then I conditioned
I put the Intensive Conditioning Mask on for 30 minutes, I used my home steamer for a bit of extra heat, but if you don’t have that, don’t worry, a warm towel works just as well. I liked the conditioner, it was an unusual smell but my hair felt so soft afterwards. This retails for £22.99 per bottle and contains Avocado Oil , Grapeseed Oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Phytokeratin , Provitamin B5

IMG_20141221_094539

When I had finished rinsing the conditioner I two strand twisted for a twist out on damp hair with nothing but my usual leave in on and this Nourishing Gloss Balm, (which launches this march).

IMG_20141221_094458 IMG_20141221_094421

 

The Results…
My hair was definitely rescued, it has not been dry since.  Please don’t laugh at me readers when I say that I loved the twist out SO much that I was so busy rocking it I didn’t take photos :/ In fact I suddenly remembered in the car 5 days later! and this is what I have.

IMG_20141225_123543

The twistout lasted so long and I did not retwist at night. Check out my hair in those photos, look how shiny and nourished it is. I used a small bit of the nourishing balm on my hair every day and my hair is loving it.  This is a close contender to my usual moisturiser I will let you know when it launches and for how much it is.

For more information about Curly By Nature visit their website at www.curlybynature.com
They are also on Twitter 

Signature