Shantelle Smail did not like her fine curly hair when she was growing up.
“I was a girly-girl in love with makeup, perfume, and all that good stuff, but I hated my hair,” Small says. “My hair was always fine and somewhat wavy, but it didn’t go curly till I was nearing puberty.”
So all throughout middle school and high school, she had her hair chemically straightened, and she says for years many of her friends didn’t even know she had a head full of naturally curly hair.
“I thought that it would always be my fate to fight with my hair,” she says.
However, in 1990, while living in England and watching a morning television show she discovered John Frieda and fell in love with his frizz-fighting hair products. After seeing how John Frieda transformed frizzy hair into “glorious heads of defined, shiny frizz-free curls" with his Frizz-Ease serum, she immediately went searching for the product and used it.
Caitlin's Conditioner and Curl Enhancing Treatment
“For the first time thought I could love my curls because they looked fantastic and that started my obsession with making the most of my natural curls,” Small says.
Small refers to herself as a “do-it-yourselfer” and she says that she was always trying to make things better.
In college she majored in chemistry because she loved makeup and she wanted to develop cosmetics.
“I became a serious label-reader when I started being able to decipher all the chemicals that were in the cosmetics and hair and body care products on the market,” she says. “I would look at a product and I wanted to make it myself but better.”
Deeply Decadent Moisturizing Treatment
By the time she graduated from college she was married with two kids. She ended up getting her degree in business but she had had a lot of education in math, science and chemistry.
“I learned to mix up my own concoctions for my hair and body but they were just simple things that I didn’t even use recipes for: A spray mist for dealing with my bedhead every day and an oil blend to soothe my sensitive scalp,” she says.
One day her son’s fiancé, Caitlin Borland, wanted a conditioner that would make her nearly waist-length highlighted hair soft and shiny.
“The “do-it-yourselfer” in me was happy to take on the challenge,” Small says. “I made some, gave it to her and she loved it.”
Emollience Hair and Scalp Oil
Small says that Caitlin is the person who encouraged her to think about selling the conditioner and the idea of Spiral Solutions Hair Care was born.
The Spiral Solutions Hair Care line was launched in January 2010; there are currently eight hair and body products available.
The products include:
- Deeply Decadent Moisturizing Treatment
- Firm Hold Styling Gel
- Strength & Shine Protein Spray
- Emollience, Hair & Scalp Oil
- Caitlin’s Conditioner and Curl Enhancing Jelly.
Almost all of these products do double duty; they not only can work on your hair but also as body butter and after-shower moisture creams.
The prices range from $12-$18 and the most popular product is the Firm Hold Styling Gel. The gel has aloe vera and a natural silicone alternative that gives the hair a shiny appearance and a silky feel.
Small says that people also use this product as a curl enhancer during the summer and that it works really well for them.
Firm Hold Styling Gel
“Once this product dries it feels like there’s nothing in your hair; it just feels silky and soft,” she says.
Almost all of her products can be used on every type of hair and she says that women with fine, curly hair love her products.
“I have fine, curly hair and if the products didn’t work for me then they wouldn’t go in my line,” she says.
Spiral Solutions Hair care products are available at spiralsolutionshaircare.com through Etsy, a site that allows entrepreneurs who make homemade products to sell their products. Small’s business is headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and her products are also available in two Colorado Springs salons, Studio 111 and Spiral Evolution.
Small hopes to expand her line and she currently has five to six products in the works. She also wants to develop products that can help women with 4c curls or women with thicker and coarser hair.
Strength and Shine Protein Spray
“The challenge is that all ‘curlies’ don’t have the same needs and I’m trying to keep that in mind with my newer products,” she says.
Small says she wants her customers to feel as though their having a spa experience while using her products.
“I use only the finest ingredients, and I try to keep the products as natural as I can, but the chemistry lover in me looks for the best modern ingredients to use as well,” she says. “I utilize a mix of nature and science when I’m designing a product. I also focus on RESULTS. I want every curly girl out there to love her curls as much as I have come to love my own. That means products have to deliver.”
Small feels that her knowledge of business practices and chemistry will help make her business more successful.
“I really feel that I’ve come full circle. I began with a love of chemistry and a desire to design my own products, ended up getting my degree in business, and now I’m utilizing everything I’ve learned to bring my products to the public.”