Mariel Mejia is changing how we rejuvenate and restore our natural hair - one curl at a time. This Dominican CEO hails from the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City and was looking to revive her curls with ingredients that were going to replenish and nourish them from root to tip. After spending a considerable part of her childhood relaxing her curls that led to extreme hair damage she was inspired to seek out products to help bring her hair back to its glory. However, Mariel found out during her discovery process that many of the natural products on the shelf focused on styling and aiding with natural curl maintenance, and provided no real remedy from naturalistas starting from square one. Pink Root Products was born to be a solution for customers looking to make the transition from heat damaged hair to healthy curls. Ever since 2015, Mariel has been perfecting the formulas and ingredients of Pink Roots Products to be an aid to anyone on their natural hair journey.
We were fortunate to chat with Mariel and learn about her personal journey to restoring her hair, business tips, and the new ventures we can expect from Pink Roots Products.
What was your natural hair journey like growing up?
Growing up I had a pretty negative relationship with my hair. I was always taught that I had “bad hair” and was never encouraged to embrace my natural texture but rather to alter it. This subconsciously led to some of my biggest insecurities as a teenager/young adult and around the age of 18 I had finally decided that I had enough and wanted to do something about it. I decided to go natural during this period of my life and never looked back at another relaxer. It was very liberating to say the least!
The transitioning process from damaged hair to healthy curls can be a long process, what is some advice you would give to your younger self during this time?
The only thing you can really do during your transitioning journey is to be patient! We live in a world where everyone wants instant gratification and immediate results but it just doesn’t work that way, especially when you have endured years of damage to your hair. It takes some time to get your routine going and figuring out what works for you so definitely be patient with yourself.
What inspired the name “Pink Root”?
Pink Root’s name was inspired by the ingredients used to naturally color the products. We use what is known as Alkanet Root Powder to naturally dye our formulas pink and we thought that incorporating that into the name would be a perfect way to introduce people to our brand.
How would you describe your brand in three words?
Natural. Vibrant. Authentic.
What are the key ingredients in Pink Root Products?
We have so many! At Pink Root Products we really value our formulas and want to ensure that we are creating products that truly help maintain your hair’s health. Some of my personal favorite ingredients are sweet almond oil, baobab extract, cocoa butter and mango butter but we have a long list of the rest of our ingredients which can be found on our website.
The hallmark of your products is restoration and repair, what are some misconceptions naturalistas have about restoring their healthy curls?
I would say that one misconception that exists is that you can restore your ends. There is no way to truly revitalize split ends other than just cutting them. Just let it go! If you don’t, they will continue to split upwards and damage some of your healthy hair. Trust me, it'll grow back before you even know it.
We’re coming into the season where people start straightening their hair for the colder months. What is a product they can use to help prevent heat damage?
Leave-in conditioner! My absolute favorite product to use when I am straightening my hair is our leave-in conditioner. Once my hair is freshly washed, I apply a little bit of leave-in conditioner to my hair while it's still wet to prep for styling. This helps add moisture to my hair while also adding a protective layer to it for the heat it's about to encounter.
What are your tips for keeping hydrated curls this fall season?
Protective styles! I know a lot of us turn to braids and other forms of protective styles during the summer but I think these are essential year round. I regularly have my hair up in braids if I am not actively going out to post-covid events, participating in zoom meetings, etc. I keep my hair moisturized this way and protect it from the cold weather that can be super drying to my hair.
You launched Pink Root Products in 2015 and again in 2019, what business lessons did you learn during this time period?Did you have any mentors that helped guide your entrepreneurial journey?
I learned so much in between the time that I originally launched Pink Root and our relaunch. I learned how important it is to really perfect a formula before introducing it to the public. Our very first original products were completely oil based which a lot of people loved but I realized through further research how important water is in formulas and quickly went back to the drawing board to perfect our products.
If I am being totally honest, I would have loved to have a mentor but unfortunately I didn’t get the opportunity. I relied mostly on family and friends, mainly those with industry experience, to help guide me through my journey. Having that support was crucial in staying consistent because there were plenty of moments in which I was unsure if I had picked the right path but there is no reward without risk.
How will Pink Root Products expand in the new year?
In the months to come Pink Root will be launching a new product which is our Travel Pack! It will include all 3 of our styling products in travel size, TSA-friendly bottles along with our microfiber towel and waterproof bag for easy travel. We will also be launching some new formulas in the new year and are super excited about it!