The line, which consists of five products, is free of sulfates, silicones and parabens, mineral oil, paraffin, petrolatum and fragrance, says Director of Education Rebecca Mariolis.
"One of the things that we wanted to make sure with the new line was that we really paid attention to our ingredients—using botanicals and essential oils. What we found when we were testing is that is really makes a difference. A positive difference. Now, you can use product with those more-traditional ingredients and be fine. But hair is softer without those ingredients," Mariolis says.
The Natural line includes Curl Cleanser Sulfate Free Shampoo ($12.95/8 oz), Moisturizing Conditioner ($10.95/8 oz), Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($11.95/8 oz), Defining Crème Gel ($25.95/16 oz) and Curl Stretching Cream ($26.95/16 oz).
The Natural line includes Curl Stretching Cream, Curl Cleanser Sulfate Free Shampoo, Moisturizing Conditioner, Daily Moisturizing Lotion and Defining Crème Gel.
Comprised of nourishing ingredients like jojoba, cocoa butter and almond oil, the company says, "you are sure to produce beautiful healthy hairstyles that are rich in moisture, high sheen and strong hold."
Sholanda Armstrong, Design Essential's Director of Marketing, says, "We found that the new products give such as much moisture and shine. Hair looks just as beautiful."
"You may have to pay a little more. It’s a more about a personal choice. The others aren’t bad ingredients, just not as close to earth," Armstrong adds.
The line was developed to meet market demand, says Mariolis. "The research shows that the number of people who are getting away from relaxers and going holistic is growing. If they go natural, we’re there with them."
The line is aimed mainly at Type 3s and 4s, says Armstrong. "Our consumer is a woman of texture. Anyone with some curl and wave; it's probably not for people with straight hair."
The pair of Design Essentials execs had a hard time picking their favorites from the line.
"I love the Daily Moisturizing Lotion; it's curl-defining and a great leave-in conditioner," says Mariolis. "It's also a great second-day hair fixer. It's really lightweight —it's not going to make the hair feel heavy."
Armstrong raves about the Natural Defining Crème Gel, "The great thing is that is good for all textures. Great definition and hold, without a lot of crunch. The way to control that is to apply the Daily Moisturizing Lotion and then the Defining Crème Gel. Best hold and best sheen.
Mariolis says of the line, "We recommend you use the line as a system. Work your way through the line, product by product. The products work really well together. We definitely noticed a difference when the line is used as a system."