Natural hair care just got a scientific twist added to it’s formulation process thanks to the Bounce Curl founder, Merian Mismmo. As a curly girl with a Bachelor’s of Science with a focus in chemistry, Merian used her skills and tools as a chemist to bring Bounce Curl to life. Her love affair with her hair began at the early age of 10 in which she learned to embrace her naturally curly hair. Her family encouraged her to take care and nourish her curls using natural, homemade ingredients which would later become the inspiration for many of her Bounce Curl products.
While she was pursuing her degree in her early 20s, she began to develop an interest in the hair industry, she explains, “I really love the chemistry and how the process moves from individual ingredients to finished product.” She later began to volunteer and work in a laboratory where she started to formulate her own gels. The endless days in the lab where she tirelessly worked to mix acids, analyzing bacteria, and reading the IR spectrum led the creation of her first and most popular product, the “Bounce Curl Light Creme Gel.”
The secret to Bounce Curl’s success is a unique blend of ingredients like black seed oil, essential oils, and extensive testing to update any products using the green chemistry principles. Merian is devoted to working up close and personal with each product she creates and is passionate about sourcing their ingredients from top of the line manufacturers and testing each product for quality control. We got the chance to chat with Merian and get to the 411 on how to read ingredients, hair loss and the secret to healthy hair growth.
How would you describe the formulation process for your products?
I started working in the cosmetic industry in 2010. At that time, cosmetic chemists were old school and still using bad preservatives and cancer-causing ingredients in their formulas. I was hip to social media; I connected with potential consumers online and knew what they wanted. The main concept is not too surprising – create products that do not have cancer-causing ingredients in them! Also - create products that do not have extremely toxic ingredients in them either! Here is a list of ingredients we do not use: Silicones, Parabens, Sulfates, PEG's, DEA/MEA, Propylene Glycol, Formaldehydes, Phthalates, Animal Testing & JUNK. Bounce Curl products are Color Safe & Vegan. This list will continue to grow as scientists keep discovering toxic contaminants. In addition, we are Cruelty-Free and you can find Bounce Curl listed on the PETA website confirming that we do NOT test on animals.
What are your tips for reading and understanding ingredients? How does the Think Dirty app help to navigate this process?
We are proud members of the THINK DIRTY app. This is an app that allows users to learn about potential hazards of products (and their ingredients), indicating those containing known carcinogens (cancer causing agents), hormone disruptors, and allergens. The app assigns a product rating of 1-10 for brands and products indicating how “clean” they are. A rating of 0-3 indicates a product is very green and clean; ALL Bounce Curl products earn a 0-2 rating!
At Bounce Curl, we have products that contain 100% naturally derived scents from essential oils. Some of our other products (two creams) also contain a synthetic fragrance created by our Founder that is blended with uncompromised ingredients. The ingredients in the fragrance rate as “low & green” on the Think Dirty app.
I think the Think Dirty app is a great tool for consumers; they can quickly look at and understand what toxic ingredients are in their beauty products. Think Dirty provides consumers with an independent review and published articles instead of the misleading and unconfirmed information that can be found everywhere on the internet. We are confident in the high quality and “cleanliness” of our product ingredients and that is why we chose to submit our products to a credible certification resource like Think Dirty.
Bounce Curl advocates for using “clean ingredients” in their products, why is this important for achieving healthy hair?
“Clean ingredients” can have many different connotations. Our clean means that Bounce Curl products won't contain any known ingredients that can cause cancer or get absorbed into the bloodstream and potentially create illnesses. We also stay up-to-date with ingredient changes. Scientists are regularly developing new solutions that result in better and more innovative preservatives/ingredients for hair products. Bounce Curl will always explore and evaluate these new options. For example, 10-20 years ago, companies were using formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in their cosmetics because that was the only available option for preserving their products. I am a member of the Chemist Society, I stay updated with the development of new, innovative ingredients. Bounce Curl is committed to staying current with the latest and best ingredients that follow green chemistry principles after confirming they perform well in our formulas.
What is your favorite holy grail product from your collection and why?
I have fine textured hair and I love volume. I love to use Bounce Curl Gentle Enzyme Clarifying Shampoo, Super Smooth Conditioner, and Light Crème Gel to style my hair. It provides light hold and lots of volume; it does not weigh down my hair.
The Bounce Curl Alcohol-Free Hairspray was recognized as one of our 2020 BOB products, what are your tips for using hairspray to style your hair?
My best advice is to use it after you have finished styling your hair. To provide hold, spray 2-3 pumps while holding the hairspray 6 inches away from your hair. If you want volume, you can spray a little on your hair pick and pick your roots with it.
What are your tips for healthy hair growth and what challenges to expect along the way?
Healthy hair comes from within. I always recommend eating foods with protein, iron, and zinc. I also suggest using a great hair vitamin with biotin. Bounce Curl Vitamins help my hair tremendously.
Also, do not use heat on your hair. I used to use my hair diffuser at warm heat, but I noticed that it would cause split ends. That caused me to cut my hair more often. Lastly, many women will experience hair loss at one point in their life. This is NORMAL. Do not panic.
In a recent Bounce Curl blog post, here’s a list of reasons for hair loss.
- Acute trauma – Surgery, physical injury, or psychological trauma
- Diet – Lack of protein, nutritional deficiencies, low vitamin levels, dramatic weight loss.
- Hormonal changes – A sudden hormone change, like pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can commonly cause hair loss in women.
- Illnesses – Autoimmune diseases, anemia, PCOS, thyroid issues, skin conditions (such as psoriasis), etc.
- Mechanical stress/Chemicals – Certain hair care practices can cause trauma that damages hair follicles, which results in hair loss; for example, permanent color, bleach, or perms. Flat-ironing, curling irons, or blowing out the hair too often causes a similar effect. Wearing your hair in tight ponytails or buns may also exacerbate the issue.
- Medications – Thinning hair or hair loss is a possible side effect of some medications or treatments. For example, chemotherapy/radiation.
- Stress – Stress and anxiety can cause large clumps of hair to both weaken and fall out, which can eventually lead to bald spots.
It's important to note that if you are experiencing unexplained and severe hair loss, you should consult with your doctor. They will help you get to the bottom of the issue; it can be temporary or an indication of something else that might be going on.
What are the biggest misconceptions when it comes to caring for curly hair?
There are people with incorrect opinions about oils and butters in hair products. Some people will say they only use water soluble products. I am not sure they realize that, if they use hair creams or conditioners, these include ingredients that are derived from oil such as cetearyl alcohol (which is not water soluble). I do not think that oils and butters are bad for curly hair. They provide slip, shine, and nourish the curls.
I also see trends on Instagram about different types of ingredients. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about them. I have included my thoughts on them in my IGTV. Some of these trends include topics like “proteins are bad for hair and glycerin is the enemy,” which are two trends I do not agree with.
What are some lessons you’ve learned along the way as an entrepreneur?
I have learned to do things that I never thought I would! From making major business decisions to driving a forklift in my warehouse. The biggest lesson I have learned is to be organized. When you own a business, you have about 100 different tasks and jobs, big and small, and sometimes they all seem to need your attention at the same time. In a single day, you might see me cooking things in the lab, moving pallets in the warehouse, picking and packing orders if my employee is out, printing labels, resolving customer service issues, editing videos, taking photos, managing finances, hiring employees, helping other entrepreneurs with questions and the list goes on & on. I have to be organized or else I will become stressed out. To help manage my stress, I love to do yoga at least 2-3 times a week.
Did you have any curly mentors or leaders you looked to when getting into the hair space?
I was very young when I came into the industry and I never had the chance to have mentors. The only mentor figure was my grandmother even though she didn't have curly hair. But she taught me how to use ayurvedic & middle eastern ingredients in my hair as a kid. When I founded Bounce Curl, I felt like I was always doing the teaching.
What can we expect in the future from Bounce Curl?
I am so excited about the expansion of our product line!
Currently, I am working really hard on developing:
- Light Moisture line
- Medium Moisture line
- Extra Moisture line
- Stylers (that have no moisture level)
Currently, the Bounce Curl medium moisture line is available. This winter, products will be added to our treatments line and our extra moisture line. I am still working on products for the Bounce Curl light moisture line. Going forward, we will continue to add products to all product lines.
Some new products coming out this year are:
- Ayurvedic Deep Conditioner with weightless oils
- Turmeric Hair Detox Jelly
Extra Moisture line:
- Defining Butta- A butter for type 4a-4c hair.