January 29, 2010

Interview: Jane Carter Solution

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jane Carter this past week while she was in Atlanta on business. We talked at length about the Jane Carter Solution, the phenomenon of women of colour embracing their natural hair and I related to her sensitivity to many mass produced hair and skin care products that contain chemicals. I must say that I was so refreshed speaking to her and look forward to the growth of the Jane Carter Solution and every other surprise she has for us.

Nu Kynk(Natalie): I love your motto that "Hair is Hair", can you expand on it?

Jane Carter: I have been a stylist for over twenty years and my family's hair texture is all over the place - I love it! My hair is tightly curled and only a few people have been able to brush my hair smooth. The way hair is defined is by race (Caucasian, African and so on). It's fascinating that we have got sucked into this marketing concept. In the 1970s products began to be marketed toward us. I can go into a place like Ulta and say "hey, I need something for my hair," and they take me to the Affirm and Mizani products and they don't work in my hair. They have already decided what works for my hair type when their is a whole range of products that are not classified for 'our' hair type but will work, we need to break out of that mold.

NK: Who do you market your products toward and who can use them?

JC: I developed my line of products so that anyone can use them, it was very important for me to produce products that any type of hair texture can benefit from.

NK: What do you think about the growth of women of color embracing their natural hair?

JC: First of all I can tell you that two things are going on. I was talking to a marketing company to do a market study. I'm focused on doing a documentary on beauty and how women have been held to unrealistic standards. Right now I'm working with producers from the Real House Wives of Atlanta, and producers from Black in America and Ron Ferguson, who is a Senior Lecturer in Education at Harvard. We also contacted a VC (Venture Capital) group to begin development on the study. A few women called me from the VC group and wanted to know more about natural based products. They said the trend over the next seven years is that the natural hair movement will continue to grow and that so far relaxer sales are down 37%.

In Atlanta stylists who have been relaxing hair are resistant because many of them don't know how to manage natural hair. At Urbanbella they have a group of stylists that will shampoo you and sample natural hair products to see what will work such as the Jane Carter Solution.

NK: How do you think the Jane Carter Solution encourages women of color to embrace their natural hair?

JC: Natural Hair is a lifestyle choice not a trend. I am concerned about product lines coming into the market as a 'trend'. I worked with products like Avalon in the past and became hyper-sensitive to chemically based products. For the first time I began to research the ingredients of these products.

I went to three chemists and they asked me 'who is your market' and I said 'everyone.' I wanted natural based products. The Jane Carter Solution uses plants, natural butters, oils and extracts to nourish our hair.

The accepted formula for making hair products is based on cost (cheap ingredients in a product and sold for a profit) but I wanted to focus on the quality of ingredients.

NK: What products do you recommend to women with tightly curled hair who want to maintain moisture?

JC: Our follicle is flatter, as our hair coils it is harder for our hair to hold moisture.

I recommend to brush your hair in the shower with conditioner to detangle. Your hair should be soaking wet and have plenty of conditioner in it during this process.

You can also use Condition & Sculpt, it won't build up and won't flake. Hydrate your hair with a water based product like the Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner. Also, Nourish & Shine, it has all natural butters, you can use it on your hair as well as on your skin. Use water to help rehydrate your hair. Dry hair is a lack of water not lack of oil.

NK: For the women thinking about transitioning, what tips and info do you have for them?

JC: Hair Nourishing Cream and the Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner helps women to transition because they are already good detanglers. You can use a paddle brush to help smooth the hair while straightening. The process is to try not to over heat the hair so that you don't have heat damage. I recommend to use a leave-in conditioner. Grow your hair until you are ready to be completely natural.

The Curl Defining Cream is also another great product that we will be launching by late March. It has no synthetic polymers, doesn't flake, leaves hair shiny and helps to stretch hair out.

I also wanted to add that their is a disparity among black students and whites students in education. Validation is key for the younger generations to be okay with who they are. I really appreciate what you do, it really helps the whole movement.

I consistently find that their is a confidence needed to make that lifestyle transition (from relaxed to natural). Their is some phenomenon about that. Their is a vast difference between the general market hair shows and the natural hair shows I go to. The energies are much different. At the natural hair shows the energy is so peaceful.

NK: Thank you, I really appreciate that, being natural started with my hair and it extended to body care, make-up and what I eat, it really is a lifestyle change.

JC: Yes, and by the end of March The Jane Carter Solution will be included in a test with Target. Our products will be available at your local Target along with Curls and Miss Jessie's. We are also available at the vitaminshoppe.com

NK: Thank you, I really appreciate you taking the time to tell myself and my readers about the latest info. I know this test at Target will be successful and I'm anticipating more updates:)

JC: You're welcome, Thank you too, we'll talk soon.
Interviewed by Natalie Henry

I am so excited that natural high quality products are beginning not to be seen as niche markets but as main stream. I encourage all of you who live near a Target to support Jane Carter Solution and every other natural and organic brands that they sell. this movement is not a trend and should not be viewed as such, it's a lifestyle and that means real change. eliminating products that only coat our hair and clog our skin is a major step in telling companies that you expect more and are no longer willing to support cheaply made products sold for a profit.
I am thankful that Jane Carter has identified so many disconnects within the hair care and beauty industry. I related to her concerning her sensitivity to scents and chemically based products. She is truly concerned about making a lasting change and is not concerned with gimmicks, I'm excited!


τreciä said...

Great interview. I can't wait the day that natural products such as Jane Carter is easy to find here in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this interview with Ms. Carter. Just this morning I was thinking if there are any efforts in mainstream media to focus on this growing movement of curly, kinky haired women loving their hair-since we are constantly shown images of the reverse (re: that awful Good Hair flick, etc.)-It's like there is an effort to project so many negative images of Black women, i think it makes many people comfortable. I am so excited to hear about this film Ms. Carter is working on touching on this topic, and I am floored to know relaxer sales are down 37%! That is major. I have not had a chance to purchase any of the Carter products yet, but your post motivates me to try them very soon, esp. the Curl Defining Cream.

Nu Kynk said...

@ Trecia & Anonymous

Yes, I was floored about the 37% dip in relaxer sales, amazing! More people are giving up the creamy crack,lol!

The Jane Carter Solution is available at HoneyFig, Marlene has the whole line and I think Curl Ambassadors does sell a selecte products from the line, happy shopping:)

Divalocity said...

I can't call the acceptance of our "real hair" a phenomenon,because that will make it a temporary trend and our hair is not a trend but a part of our lifestyle and individuality. I can say that we are beginning to define for ourselves what it is to be considered as beautiful. Many of our sisters of the Diaspora have been doing this for a while and we're now catching up, but it's still great that it is "US" who is now determining our own standards of beauty and that's a good thing!

savvybrown said...

Great interview! Good for you! As someone who doesn't use any cones, parabens or sulfates on my hair or body (or even in my home for that matter),it's nice to be able to use products where I don't have to read the label. I know if it says Jane Carter it's going to be something I can use. As for the "phenomenon" the mainstream media landscape has already started to change. Every magazine I pick up and TV show I watch if it has a sister in it, she's natural. It's actuaully the Black shows/videos/media that need to catch up!

Laquita said...

Great interview :o)

ChocolateOrchid said...

Awesome interview!! I'm excited to read about the documentary. It is absolutely necessary.

CallaLily said...

Great interview. I love the Revitalizing Leave-In Conditioner.

Passion For Pretty said...

GREAT interview! I LOVE Jane Carter Solution products and love even more that they are now being sold in Target! :-)

nappy headed black girl said...

I love her response to the first question! I have experienced this firsthand, going into a store and being taken straight to the "black" haircare section.

All hair is composed the same. There's no such thing as "white" or "black" hair. No product works universally for one race.

sharonkay said...

Wow!!! I am very happy to hear that relaxer sales are down 37%! Praise God!!I have been natural for 2 years, after using the awful no-lye relaxers for 25 years. I love my natural hair and it is much easier to take care of than relaxed hair. I have never tried Jane Carters products, but I am happy to hear that she uses good ingredients in her hair products. Now Black women have a lot more choices for good quality hair products. I am glad that more Black women are embracing their natural hair texture. Good luck to Ms Jane Carter and continued success in her hair business.