Smooth,elegant, lucious, and easy are just a few ways I would describe Verelle. This cruelty free and vegan hair care line was created by founder Christina Pan who was looking to create a simple but effective method for bringing curl confidence to the forefront of the conversation. Verelle is bringing customization and personalization to the forefront of haircare with a 3-step system designed to combat core natural hair problems. Each line focuses on either a wavy, curly, or coily hair type and then the customer is transported to an array of products designed for that specific texture and pattern. Verelle’s clean ingredients feature coconut, aloe vera leaf juice, and chamomile flower to hydrate, define, and soften the curls. We chatted with the founder and got all the details on this specialized product, how the business has developed, and why custom hair care is the way to go!
How did Verelle get started?
As a female founder, I wanted to focus on building a company that helps solve problems for women and that embraces our diverse voices and choices. Verelle was born out of the frustration that many curly girls still have trouble finding effective products that work for their hair and the oftentimes complex routines recommended for curly hair. As a modern woman, we are constantly juggling many responsibilities both at work and at home and may not have time for a 5 step hair care routine. So I created Verelle’s 3-step system (wash, condition, all-in-one multifunctional styler) to make it easy and effortless for curly girls to take care of their curls. Given the differences between curl types, I customized each system by curl type to ensure the best results.
In addition, due to my own skin allergy struggles with personal care products, I made sure that all Verelle products are clean and free of sulfates, parabens, and other harsh chemicals so that our products are not only better for curly hair, but also for our customers’ health.
What was the inspiration behind the name?
One of our key missions is to celebrate women who embrace their natural hair and to create a community that feels confident about their beauty choices - whether that be going natural or going makeup-less. We wanted a unique name and played around with many different words. The name “Verelle” is inspired by the French words “vers” (to/towards) and “elle” (she/herself) so that we can all be or become who we want to be.
Describe any challenges you faced in the initial phase of building out the product?
During our initial phase of building out the product, after many months and rounds of product development, one of the biggest challenges we faced was that the initial prototypes didn’t get very positive feedback from our various curly hair testers. Instead of launching as planned, we ended up going back to the drawing board and re-started the entire development process because product quality is our number one priority. It took another 2 years of development and testing until we arrived at our current set of products. We’re really grateful to hear that our customers love our new line of products and will continue to strive to introduce high quality new products.
How is “custom hair care” a better approach than the “one size fits all” approach?
As many curlies already know, different hair types are inherently built differently from a structural or molecular level and have different styling needs. Curlies tend to need more moisture vs straight hair and even within curlies, coily hair tends to need even more moisture vs looser curls. We designed custom products for each curl type (wavy, curly, and kinky-coily line) so that your hair gets the specific ingredients that it needs, which leads to healthier and more manageable curls in the long term. For example, our coily all-in-one styler includes both castor oil and mango butter as the top ingredients to build elasticity and prevent breakage.
What are the benefits of using cruelty free and vegan hair products?
Because it's kinder and more environmentally friendly! We believe a better business starts with how we make our products.
How do the natural ingredients used in the products benefit natural curls?
Many curlies have already switched to natural hair care products because they are better for your natural curls and your health. One of the key benefits is that it’s free of harmful chemicals such as sulfates - which can strip away curly hair’s natural oils and make your hair drier - or parabens which can potentially disrupt hormone regulation. There are already many safe and effective natural alternatives, however, many haircare products on the market still contain harmful chemicals because they are often ‘cheaper’ to manufacture.
Verelle focuses on using high quality and natural ingredients and is free of sulfates, parabens, silicones, phthalates and mineral oil. For example, our hair wash and conditioner contain aloe vera juice, which nourishes existing strands and promotes healthier hair and scalp. Our stylers contain many natural ingredients - such as argan oil, shea butter, and castor oil - that not only moisturize hair, but also strengthen and repair curls from the inside out.
What is a signature product from your line and how is it used?
One of our signature products is the all-in-one multifunctional styler (one for each curl type). After you wash and condition your hair, you can apply it to wet hair in sections and then scrunch or style and air dry. Instead of needing 3-4 styling products, this multifunctional styler is designed to do it all - it hydrates, defines, softens and smoothes curly hair without adding weight or the dreaded ‘crunch’. One simple and effective styler to rock any style so that you don’t have to spend too much time or buy countless products to look great!
We’re coming into the colder months where retaining moisture is vital for naturalistas, what are 3 tips you have for retaining moisturizing this season?
We like to think of it holistically and that it’s not just about taking care of your curls but also your environment and what you eat:
- For your curls, definitely make sure to deep condition (do it more, do it for a bit longer) to inject moisture directly into your strands. We love using Verelle’s Restore & Repair Hair Mask, which contains nourishing natural oils and butters, as a deep conditioner
- For your environment, as it gets drier indoors, use a humidifier to keep moisture in the air which improves your curls and your skin
- For your body, remember to drink plenty of water even during the winter which can help moisturize your hair from the inside out
Your line features products for wavy, curly, and coily hair types, how do the ingredients and consistency of products differ for each customer type?
The key differences are the hold, hydration, and texture. For our wavy line, the all-in-one has the consistency of a soft smooth cream. It provides a lightweight hold and softly defines and moisturizes wavy hair without weighing it down. For our curly line, the milky cream feels almost like a cross between a cream and a gel. It provides flexible medium hold / definition and hydrates and plumps up curls without the ‘crunch’ or leaving any residue behind. For our coily line, this styler feels more like a custard and has a thicker consistency. It provides maximum moisture, strong hold and shine without heaviness or crunch.
There are times when our recommendations differ from what some of our customers want. This is why we also created our Styler Trio that includes all 3 stylers, which allows our customers to test, play, and mix & match our stylers!
The natural hair market is getting to be extremely competitive, what are your tips for entrepreneurs looking to add their own unique products to the market?
Don’t be afraid to make product changes! When I talk to software founders, their iteration cycles tend to be much faster and they can change their products on a week to week basis. Even though it is relatively harder to adjust physical products, don’t be afraid to improve your existing products or launch new and improved versions of them. After we received feedback from real customers on our initial product prototypes, we incorporated their suggestions and continued to iterate and improve our products until we arrived at the current version that we love.
What can customers look forward to from Verelle in the coming months?
We have recently filmed many fun and easy-to-digest 1 minute video tutorials to teach our customers how best to use our products. As our products are high-performing, using a little bit can actually go a long way and using too much product can lead to suboptimal performance. We hope our short videos can help teach our customers what’s the best way to use Verelle’s products (and by using less their products will also last longer)!
We’ve also been working on a couple new products in the background and are planning to launch additional complementary hair products next year and be the go-to place for all easy-to-use and high quality curly hair care products!