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Image: @wondercurl

Inspiration met innovation when Haitian immigrant Scarlett Rocourt decided to create Wonder Curl after being unable to find a product that could withstand the tough humidity in the sunshine state of Florida. As a child of the 80s Scarlett often relaxed her hair, but when she was a senior in college she read an Essence article that changed her life, by introducing her to natural hair care and from that point on, she never looked back. Over the course of her 10 year journey as a naturalista she learned to “listen to her hair and be patient with the process.” This listening included researching ingredients that would be best for all curly hair types. It was after a series of trial and error with various gel products she decided to create her best-selling “Get Set Hair Jelly” which is weightless, no crunch, humidity-proof defining gel loaded with pro-vitamin B5 to strengthen your hair.

Wonder Curl is a vegan and cruelty-free haircare line that seeks to empower curlies all over the world with products that moisturize, define, and elongate natural hair. As a Black-owned business Scarlett takes great pride in the fact that each product was formulated in her kitchen instead of a lab which motivated her to keep the ingredients eco-friendly and nourishing for any curl type. Learn more about how she created her brand, Wonder Curl and the benefits of using vegan ingredient and tips for healthy hair.

What makes your brand Wonder Curl unique?

"Because I created them myself, they are what I imagined what a Pudding" or a "Jelly" should be like. I didn’t follow any rules of thumb, just went with what felt right for my hair. I also would ask friends with different textures from 3a to 4c to test the products out for their feedback. Once everyone told me they loved the products, then I knew it would be ready for prime-time.

As a plant-based vegan who is an environmentalist, it is important that the products also reflect my values. That’s why the ingredients are vegan and we were able to source jars that are environmentally friendly."

What was the formulation process like?

"Formulation in the beginning was the hardest. I joke and say that all curlies are chemists by default, however, since I am not a chemist, I had to learn how ingredients work with each other. I was starting from scratch, but it was also thrilling to create something that wasn’t going to be like anything else on the market.

When I was formulating the Get Set Hair Jelly, there were a lot of sleepless nights. I was obsessed with making the formula just right for all hair types."

Wonder Curl was originally formulated in a kitchen, what was that experience like?

"First, my sister would be angry with me if I didn’t give her credit by saying I started out in her kitchen. At the time, I had very little money, so starting in the kitchen was my best option. Second, I was a terrible cook and making products is similar to baking a cake. I learned about processes, that I had to mix this with that, heat an oil to a certain temp, etc. Back then, I said that I couldn’t cook, but I knew how to make hair products!

After I was ready to work with a chemist, I showed him my formulas and he asked “How did you come up with these percentages?” I told him, “if an ingredient was good for my hair, I’d add more if it!"

What are the benefits to using vegan ingredients in your products?

"The main benefit to using vegan ingredients is knowing that I am not contributing to animal cruelty. I gave up eating meat first for moral reasons, I became fully vegan 3 years ago to maintain optimal health.

I have learned that plant-based ingredients are better for your hair than animal-based ingredients the same way they’re better for our body. They’re gentler on the hair, absorbed better and have more vitamins and minerals."

You strive to teach customers about their natural hair through your “Get Hairducated” series, what are some top tips every naturalista should know?

"My new mantra is ‘Moisturized hair is protected hair’. No matter what style you’re doing, whether a protected style or a wash-n-go, if you’re not adding moisture to your hair by washing it on a regular basis and keeping it hydrated with good products, your hair will eventually break off.

Through my Get Hairducated series, Healthy Hair Summit, and soon my Healthy Hair Journal, I give any natural the tools they need to achieve their hair goals."

What are some of the hardest lessons you’ve learned and what did they teach you?

"I tried working with business partners in the past and learned that this was difficult for me. I had to be honest with myself and learn to trust my gut. If something doesn’t feel right, then I need to go with that feeling. I also didn’t have too many people I could turn to when I needed that type of advice.

It is important to have other entrepreneurs you can go to when you need help or advice. I say have someone who has done it already and they’re where you want to be. Someone who is where you are that you can lean on as a support system. And finally, someone who is starting out who you can mentor because you always want to give back. Thus, the circle of life."

How do you define success and then what keeps you motivated, especially during hard times?

"I measure success when I see repeat purchases and my customers become my biggest cheerleaders. I specifically remember one time feeling down and considering quitting my business several years ago. Suddenly, my phone rang and it was a customer wanting to tell me how my products saved her hair. That is what keeps me motivated.

When you call the Wonder Curl number, I’m the one who answers the phone. My customers are always pleasantly surprised and then we end up talking for almost an hour just about hair, health, family, you name it!"

If you could go back to the beginning with the knowledge you have now, what advice would you give yourself and why?

"I am a risk taker and somewhat impulsive. I didn’t have a strategy back then and would just go with what sounded right. When I first started, I was also working a full-time job. I would have invested in a business coach, gone to my local SBA and taken the time to create a real action plan. I finally got this together after 5 years into my business. I wish I had done that sooner, when I first started."

Top tips to grow your business?

"First tip is not to be afraid to ask for help. You’d be surprised at how many people just want to be a part of what you’re doing because they believe in you.

Second tip is to automate as much as you can.

Finally, delegate where feasible so that you, the business owner can focus your energy on growing your business."

What legacy do you strive to leave?

"I want to inspire black women to live their healthiest lives and have great hair. Wonder Curl products can only maintain what you grow and in order to grow healthy hair you have to start with a healthy body.

That’s why I started the Healthy Hair Summit in April and had my sister who is also a plant-based vegan as well as a physician with a private practice in Florida be one of the speakers. I wanted to help everyone who tuned into her talk to make that connection. I am planning another Healthy Hair Summit this fall with more speakers and more information."

Shop Wonder Curl's entire collection here including the Wonder Curl Curl Control Styling Lotion , Wonder Curl Restoring Hair Treatment, Wonder Curl Sealing Hair Butter, and the Wonder Curl Detoxifying Clay Cleanser.