On a journey to help take ownership of her natural hair, one student’s vision of self-help has become a reality!
For decades, Montreece Soares’ “constant companions” were heated appliances and curly and straight perms, tools to tame hair she felt was “ugly, unruly and unmanageable”. Looking back, Montreece now realises she, like many other women, bought into the myth that her natural hair was not beautiful.
The damage this constant styling caused meant her hair stopped growing and hair breakage was a very real struggle. Uncomfortable about the way it looked and, desperate for a change, she decided to let her hair breathe
Taking the first step
Montreece’s journey took a significant turn when her son passed away in 2012. Whilst on the path of grief toward healing she gave her hair some much-needed rest.
For a whole year Montreece avoided all styling products, extensions and weaves, and instead wore a wig. When she took off the wig for the last time in 2013, Montreece’s hair was back. She knew this was the moment to learn how to take care of her newly grown hair and stay away from mainstream products. It was an opportunity to begin researching how to make natural haircare products.
“It was important to me that I made products with ingredients that were beneficial, easy to use and I could find locally.”
Montreece began by watching YouTube videos of how to maintain healthy hair, and created a DIY haircare product for herself and daughter to try.
“I also had a daughter who had a head full of beautiful hair. I wanted to make sure that she understood the worth of her hair, how to take care of it and what she should be putting on it. So, whatever I made for myself, I made for her as well.”
For Montreece, confirmation of what she had developed and further knowledge of haircare formulation was needed.
After browsing our website, she discovered our diverse and inclusive Diploma in Natural Haircare Formulation, choosing the School of Natural Skincare was easy.
“I chose the School of Natural Skincare because the course covered my hair type. In an arena where products formulated for my hair is scarce, and conversations are muted, it is important to me that I can be part of a conversation that changes the haircare industry.”
Areas of achievement for Montreece included learning how to turn a product, she made herself, into a formulation worthy of being assessed and brought to market. Along with knowing what it means to be a business owner, these milestones have been a highlight of her journey. Once Montreece joined the course she found affirmation in all the knowledge she had gained up to that point.
She also soon realised that the Diploma of Natural Haircare Formulation would take her understanding to a deeper level as the course equips students with everything they need to know about the characteristics and needs of different hair types, which ingredients are beneficial to each type, how to design formulations for natural and organic shampoos, conditioners and styling products for all hair types, provides information about what the scalp needs to be healthy as well as business regulations and standards from around the world.
Learning how to formulate an array of haircare products from experienced and professional formulators coupled with support has been a valuable experience.
“The best experience in formulating products has been in learning. Up until now I’ve had to teach myself.”
Whilst Montreece’s aspirations of inspiring other women has been supported and encouraged by the School, Knowing how to research natural ingredients, why they should be chosen and how they can help are some practical positives that come from the Diploma of Natural Haircare Formulation.
“I want to show that it is possible to achieve what seems impossible.”
Empowering others with natural haircare
Creating her own brand of natural haircare products and empowering women is becoming a reality.
The day Dare to be Natural was born was the moment Montreece realized that she didn’t have to work for someone else anymore, that she could be empowered to do what felt impossible.
“Over 20 years in the work arena was put on pause as a weight was lifted from my shoulders.”
Montreece discovered that people were interested in the product she had been making for herself and daughter for the last six years.
“Wow! The epiphany was deeply felt as I realized I could be a business owner and the product idea had been in my hands this whole time!”
Montreece knows that understanding about haircare can be helped by sharing a product that does the job it is meant to do, offers alternatives to mainstream products and gives space for people to learn about natural ingredients.
“The vision of Dare to be Natural is to inspire women who are searching for ingredients that feed their hair and nourish their scalp with botanically based products.”
Developing Dare to be Natural is helping women learn how to maintain their scalp and hair, and most importantly, “understand that their hair is beautiful no matter its length, texture or density!”
And what’s more, Montreece is helping customers to empower themselves, by having more knowledge about nourishing ingredients and reading product labels before they buy.
“Haircare products don’t have to come with a long list of ingredients.”
This passion for high-quality ingredients is encouraged in every School of Natural Skincare course, helping students to create the kind of luxurious skincare and haircare to match their values and beliefs.
“Ask yourself; would you use this or that [ingredient] on yourself or your loved ones? If the answer is no… then you may not want to use it.”
Inspiration that goes beyond haircare
So, what advice does Montreece have for anyone wanting to formulate their own natural haircare products?
Being mindful is a key attribute. Taking the time to learn how to present formulations in the right way, to understand why a particular natural ingredient is being selected, and to understand why natural haircare products are the way forward will help to keep the mind focussed.
“My hope is to empower others to believe that all things are possible, when focus and determination are part of a person’s mindset.”
Inspiration is not only a strength that runs through the School of Natural Skincare, but is also present in how Montreece runs her business.
“There is enough space for everyone; find a person who is striving to be a business owner and empower them. Companies are run by people, and people should always respect others. Creating quality products is beautiful! Enjoy the journey!”
Loved reading this student feature? Make sure to remember it by pinning it!