I am a sucker for amazing products. As a licensed stylist, natural hair educator, and owner of Georgia-based salon, DyeVerCity, I am always researching products. To me, ingredients and performance speak volumes. I don’t care how great your ads look or how many followers you have--if your product cannot deliver healthy hair, I am not impressed. This leads me into my Behind The Brand Series in which I give you an in-depth look into brands that top the charts in the curly hair world. First up: Original Moxie.

Meet Original Moxie Founder and CEO, Rachel E. Blistein.

She came up with Original Moxie as a solution to a problem that plagued the natural hair market. “In 2009, I was a recent transplant from Maryland to Michigan and had just begun to transition from relaxing my hair to wearing it curly," she says. "My first experience of a Northern winter sucked what little moisture remained out of my straw-like hair and left me totally frustrated and unhappy with how I looked.

I began tinkering with my own natural concoctions and started with what I knew, which were natural and botanical remedies--I was a landscape architect at the time. As I shared what I was doing with friends and family, I was shocked to realize that I wasn’t alone. This mindset led me to research the science of hair and the chemistry of hair products so that I could create specific solutions for the hair challenges that came my way.  In time, this problem-solving mindset grew into the diagnostic approach that encompasses and shapes the brand.”

What sets Original Moxie apart from others?

“Chiefly, I think it’s our personal approach and the level of detail we bring to everything from product formulation to hair typing," states Blistein. "We recognize that hair is complex and, therefore, that understanding it goes beyond curl pattern to include density, texture, moisture levels, porosity, etc. We take this in-depth approach further and apply it to hair styling and cutting methods to create a holistic and comprehensive hair care system.”

What are your top tips for hair growth?

  1. Start with your scalp--healthy hair growth and a healthy scalp go hand in hand. Do a quick test for suppleness and health by pushing firmly but gently on all the sides of your head. Ideally the skin will slide easily over the skull and you are able to see the front of your scalp move when you push on the back. If you feel tightness in certain areas, simply address it by performing regular scalp massages. We have a product that’s great for that called Scalp Therapy, but even your bare fingers will help to stimulate blood flow and release the natural oils stored under the surface of your skin.
  2. Stay away from restrictive styles that tightly bind the hair. Give your hair a rest in between hair extensions, braids or ponytails, and use non-snagging tools to hold them in place. We see so much breakage around the edges and mid-shaft (the two areas most impacted by styling).  Unlike split ends, neither can be easily remedied with a light trim.
  3. Choose the right moisturizer. Everyone’s hair is different--just because a product works for your favorite Youtuber doesn’t mean it will work for you. Here is a quick test to determine if your products are getting inside your hair or just sitting on the outside: wet a section of your hair with water a day or two after you style it. If you see or feel a white or brown residue coming off of the hair, your product is not fully moisturizing your hair. When hair is deeply moisturized, it is more elastic and resistant to breakage. Bonus: your hair will also look more defined and shinier!

How important are the ingredients the brand uses?

“We manufacture everything in-house. We go so far as to create our own essential oil blends and herbal infusions so that we can fully customize each product. Whenever possible, we source organic and sustainably grown materials so that our products are as non-toxic and environmentally sound as possible.”

Which hair types do Original Moxie work best for?

“Does everyone answer ‘all hair types’ to this question?" jokes Blistein. "Just kidding! I think we are most popular with Naturals who have high moisture needs or who struggle with definition.”

Writer Stacy is the owner of Augusta, GA-based curly hair salon, DyeVerCity. Follow her on Instagram @DyeVerCity.

Editor's Note: this article is not sponsored.