Conversation with Curl Theory CEO, Jamellah Ellis
“It’s not just a hair thing, it’s a self-love thing”
Despite the overwhelming majority of Asian-owned hair supply stores and white owned natural hair care brands and constant exploitation of black “hair trends”, it’s refreshing to hear of a Black-owned hair product company that is centered around natural hair empowerment and education. The woman behind Curl Theory, Jamellah Ellis, is a true jack of all trades and master of many - as a lawyer, author, mother, salon and hair company owner has a lot on her plate but has taken the time to produce a carefully designed and effective moisture collection for textured hair (see full review of products below). In our conversation, Ms. Ellis describes her complicated natural hair journey along with career and personal shifts she made throughout.
Like many of us, Jamellah grew up getting her hair straightened for special holidays and was introduced to her first relaxer in the 3rd grade. It wasn’t until high school when she realized she could wear her textured hair naturally, although she was just beginning to familiarize herself with the concept and didn’t stop relaxing until her first pregnancy years later. Once she started wearing her hair natural for long periods of time she figured there shouldn’t be any reason to stop, except at the time, she didn’t feel confident in her knowledge of maintaining textured hair and would resort back to relaxers. Jamellah was finally moved to embark on her natural hair journey by her own 5 year old daughter who asked to get her hair straightened and after being told “no, wear your curls- they’re beautiful!”, her daughter replied “well, you don’t wear your curls”. It was a wake up call that prompted years of research, trial and error, a big chop, awkward hair transitions and transitioning from law to entrepreneurship to begin her “full-time ministry”, as Jamellah describes it.
She founded Curl Theory Salon in 2017, seven years after her transition from relaxed to natural hair. Her personal ministry since has been to empower but most importantly educate women on their textured hair. The company’s mission is to meet people where they are in their natural hair journey and impart knowledge on what products, styles and methods will work best for them despite misconceptions and bad experiences they may initially come into the salon with. “The biggest challenge preventing [people of color] from accepting their natural hair is just not knowing” Jamellah describes. Misinformation, such as emphasis on hair type, has been divisive to the natural hair community and that’s what Curl Theory aims to eliminate. Every client’s first appointment is a consultation for a customized experience based on the unique needs of the individual’s hair.
Jamellah describes a time in the beginning of her hair journey when seeing someone else wearing their textured hair was like “finding a long lost cousin” but seeing afros and textured hairstyles are becoming the norm as “we are everywhere now,'' she explains. Curl Theory Salon and product collection are directly contributing to expanding the natural hair movement and educating the community. She finds fulfillment in her company and it truly shows, from the dazzling testimonials of the salon to the brilliantly crafted products that I was blessed enough to personally try out. Jamellah Ellis and Curl Theory associates put genuine thought into what they offer their customers as if for the hairs on their own head. And that's exactly how Jamellah was able to achieve such a widely effective formula, each product was tested to work for the various hair textures of her own family. Curl Theory takes natural hair care personally and exists to remind us, you can do that twist-out! There is no ideal texture for a wash-and-go, go for it! For those that have felt the need to hide behind perms and weaves for years know that, while they are options, companies like Curl Theory are here to educate and guide the process of your natural hair journey starting with some dope products.
Curl Theory Moisture Collection
The deliberations Jamellah made for each ingredient of the Curl Theory Moisture Collection were meant to make our shopping experiences that much easier. Each product proclaims right on the label “No parabens. No Phthalates. No sulfates. No silicons”- only necessary ingredients. Jamellah tells me she wanted “100% satisfaction” with each product which all underwent constant revisions to achieve just that. After over a month of using the Curl Theory Moisture Collection I was more than satisfied with the results. These products sustained me through daily wash-and-gos, classy sleek styles, a protective phase as well, and first-time twist-outs. Each product had a clear purpose and delivered for what it was made to do. These work on all curl types and textures! Here are all the products of the collection below:
Effective shampoo alternative
Extremely refreshing - feels and smells so clean
No suds unlike traditional harsh shampoos
Super Deep Conditioner:
Shea butter and jojoba oil = DEEP conditioning
Soft curls for extended amount of time between wash days
You can easily do wash-and-go from there OR use to prime hair for styling creams
Hair Gel Styler:
Helped achieve laid styles
No stiffness or flakes!!
Sleek edges and buns
Helped maintain styles on humid days
Maximum curl definition
Easy to switch up styles with this product
Revitalizing for dry, sad curls
Miracle Worker leave-in:
Perfect prep tool for protective styles
Helped moisturize hair for twist outs on 4c hair
Leave in to leave out!! Maintains soft and manageable curls throughout the day for a lasting wash and go
(Find in Target in-store or online)