Kiara Brumfield is a Chicago-based chemist, cosmetologist and S.T.E.M mentor. A proud alumna of Howard University in Washington, DC, Kiara earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology there in 2014. Unaware of opportunities or career paths in science that could also spark her passion for hair and beauty, the Chemist returned to Chicago and enrolled in Cosmetology school. While pursuing her license along her self-defining journey, she was recruited by a Chemical Manufacturing company in the personal care industry. It was there that she began to envision how to balance beauty and chemistry.

What a S.T.E.M. Career in the Beauty Industry Looks Like

She loved being a chemist and started looking to apply to positions that would allow her to use both her passions in one role. This is how Kiara arrived at her current position at Universal Beauty Products: Scientist/Licensed Cosmetology.

The opportunity enables her to formulate products, manage claims substantiation, evaluate product performance in the company’s salon to create high-performing hair care products. In her spare time, she loves to volunteer and speak at events to expose youth to S.T.E.M. careers in the beauty industry, such as being a cosmetic chemist. Kiara hopes her presence in her community and the industry will inspire youth, especially African Americans, to pursue careers in science. 

We spoke to Kiara about her role at Jamaican Mango & Lime, and the products she’s most excited about to level up our protective styles.

Jamaican Mango & Lime have been in business for 30 years, how did you get started with the brand?

I was a Quality Control Chemist at a surfactant company when I learned about the personal care industry. I was also a licensed cosmetologist and decided to look for opportunities where I could use both my passions. I was beyond excited to see that Jamaican Mango & Lime was hiring for a chemist position. This position has allowed me to formulate and conduct performance testing on newly developed products. I’ve been using Jamaican Mango & Lime since I was a child and I’m so excited to continue supporting the brand in developing quality products.

How would you describe your Jamaican Mango & Lime in 3 words?

Original, Trusted, and Carefree.

What inspired the focus on the brand’s core ingredients?

Jamaican Mango and Lime products are inspired by Jamaican culture. We use nourishing and natural ingredients throughout our product lines to support consumers in starting and maintaining healthy locs, twists, braids, and other styles.

What a S.T.E.M. Career in the Beauty Industry Looks Like

What are the benefits of using natural ingredients like mango and lime on your hair?

Using natural ingredients adds moisturizing, antioxidant, anti inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to hair care formulas.

What is a common misconception about using castor oil?

The main misconception I’ve heard is that Castor oil can cure alopecia. There are so many factors involved that correlate to hair growth. Castor oil cannot cure alopecia, but it can be useful for certain forms of alopecia like alopecia areata. Creating a healthy hair care regime and using castor oil as an ingredient to create a healthy environment is one of many ways castor could promote hair growth. Not taking proper care of your hair and adding castor oil will not result in growth.

What are 2-3 products that are best for creating protective styles?

1. Jamaican Mango and Lime Extra Hold & Easy Braid Jel – Braids

2. Jamaican Mango and Lime Braiding & Setting Mousse – Braids, Twist, Finger Coils, Roller Sets, Wet molds, Etc.

3. Any of the Jamaican Mango and Lime Locking Gels – Locs and Twists.

What are 3 tips for maintaining braided hairstyles?

Using Jamaican Mango and Lime Braiding & Setting Mousse, following the completion of the style, is a great way to set and ensure longevity. To preserve your style I would suggest using Jamaican Mango and Lime 6-in-1 Soothes & Revives Braid Refresher and Jamaican Mango and Lime Foams & Refresh Dry Wash to keep your hair clean and moisturized. An added benefit to using Jamaican Mango and Lime braiding line is that it has odor blocking technology in all the products to keep your braids fresh longer.

What products would be best for first-time users to use from your brand?

I would suggest our Smooth Moisture line. Smooth Moisture is the best product I’ve used to execute a silk press without using harsh chemicals. It leaves your hair flowy and smooth, with extra shine. It contains technology that has been tested in a laboratory and salon. Extensive research proved that the Smooth Moisture system prevents breakage, has great humidity protection to prevent curl reversion, has heat protection in every step, and even makes hair stronger after using the system. These products are ideal for consumers with natural hair who desire a sleek straight look without heat damage. Smooth Moisture is the perfect at home system that yields the salon look without salon prices. This system is also great for stylists to elevate their services. 

Looking for your next braided hairstyle? Here are 21 to try next.

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