It goes without saying that we're product junkies over here at NaturallyCurly. When we hear about a new product line, we jump at the chance to test it out and talk to the creators behind it.
So when U R Curly launched earlier this year, we couldn’t help but sit down with one of the natural women who helped develop the line that promotes growth, education and helping you “own it!”
Check out Monica “Queen” Carruthers’ natural hair journey and see how she ended up helping to create a product line that, in her 21 years of hair care expertise, she wholeheartedly stands behind.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and how you got started in the hair care business?
I've been in the hair care business around 21 years. I started when I was about 13 when I developed an interest for hair. I spent a lot of time in the salon because my mom was a stylist. She still is to this day, 40 plus years! You know, just being around, catching on to the different techniques, I developed a big interest in it and started to do it. It has basically been my life and career since about the age of 16.
Are you natural yourself?
I am. I have been natural at right around 10 years.
Wow! Can you tell me about your natural hair journey?
"I do a lot of hydrating. Hydration plays a big part in having healthy hair. Period."
I grew up on the permanent waves to the relaxed hair and wearing braids as a child. As an adult, I always wore relaxers. I always had an issue with color, though, and with wearing two chemicals: the color and the relaxer at the same time. I was one of those people who just could not do both. My love for color encouraged me to learn more about natural hair and letting my relaxer go. I just decided that color was greater to me than wearing straight hair, and I decided to go for it.
I was probably with the natural afro look for about two years. After that, I decided to go ahead and loc. That is where it started. I was able to wear my color treated hair along with my natural hair and locs without having to worrying about the things that come along with wearing two chemicals: color and relaxer.
Are you currently loc’d?
How do you maintain them?
I maintain my locs pretty much the same way that I maintain my hair. There are a lot of similarities since hair is kind of general when you step away from the chemicals.
I do a lot of hydrating. Hydration plays a big part in having healthy hair. Period. I always seek out shampoo and conditioners that keep my hair hydrated. Then I follow-up with an oil. I maintain that pretty much once a week, applying the oil, just to keep it hydrated.
Are you sulfate-free and all natural in the products that you use?
Oh, yes! Definitely. U R Curly is sulfate-free, with no parabens, alcohols or things that cause irritation. We stay away from those ingredients. We have an all natural, soy based shampoo, our conditioner is enriched with quinoa, and our enhancers, which I don’t use because I have locs and I don’t need the enhancer, are sulfate-free with no parabens or alcohols as well. I do use the enhancer on my natural clients and on clients with relaxed hair too.
What hair type is the enhancer best for?
I would use the curl enhancer with any type of hair with any type of pattern, be it a wave, a curl, tight or loose. It doesn’t matter about the ethnicity of the person as long as you have a pattern.
When they purchase the product, I tell people to use the enhancer as liberally as they like because it dries with the hair. It is enriched with oil, which acts as a protector and a buffer for the hair between the different natural elements or over processing.
You mentioned that you use the products on your clients as well. Could you talk to me a little bit about your experience in cutting and styling natural hair as a stylist yourself?
Well, if I had a client that came in who was in the beginning stages of transitioning and we were going to do the big chop, I would actually use the U R Curly shampoo and conditioner and then create a nice cut that framed her face. Cutting for me, I guess, it comes easily. I’ve been cutting a long time.
Since you were 13?
Yeah! There are a lot of similarities in all hair types. There are, of course, a lot of different techniques, but to me, natural hair is a lot easier to cut.