Tell me a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Suriname, a tiny Dutch-speaking country in South America. Besides the fact that I am an immigrant, and a woman, I am also biracial (my dad is white, and my mom was black). As a teenager, I was very much into sports, especially volleyball, water ballet, roller skating, Taekwondo, and weightlifting. I was an independent child and always on the go. After high school, I emigrated by myself to the US, working my way through college at Florida Institute of Technology. My first job was as a cashier at McDonalds (I lasted three months). Why they had a non-native English speaker running the drive through lane was a bit of a mystery. After college, I decided to pursue graduate school earning a Ph.D. in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins University, followed by law school, obtaining a law degree from Georgetown University (evening program). My first child was born while I was in law school and my second one right after I finished law school.
By day I am a busy law firm partner focused on patent law. My areas of expertise are biotech and pharma (think drugs, vaccines, antibodies). On the weekends (and some evenings) I am an entrepreneur running two websites: one dedicated to the education and science of curly hair care (AEC), and the other for finding the optimal curly hair products, curly hair tools, and accessories (CurlPlanet.com). The blogs are why I also obtained a Hair Practitioner’s Certificate from the International Association of Trichologists.
How would you say your own personal hair journey influenced your brand?
I’ve always admired the beauty of curly hair but know how challenging naturally textured hair can be without the right guidance. I have thick curly (now gray) hair and over the years, with much trial and error, have figured out how to find and use the right products for my hair texture, as well as the proper styling techniques. There is a lot of misinformation and deceptive marketing practices when it comes to curly hair and products. And it is not easy to figure out whose advice to follow, so I wanted to help others with my blog.
How long would you say it takes to see results while using one brand of products consistently?
It depends. With healthy hair within a few weeks. With damaged hair, it can take a while, at least 3-6 months.
Also, what key facts should you know about your hair when choosing a system of products?
The key facts you need to consider are your hair density (how much hair you have), the porosity (healthy hair typically = low porosity; treated hair typically = high porosity), the strand thickness, and gray vs colored or natural hair.
Is length the only sign to knowing you have healthy hair? If not, what are a few signs that can tell you have healthy hair?
Length is not the only sign of healthy hair although long healthy hair is full at the bottom vs thin/scraggly and dry with broken or split ends.
Healthy hair often accompanies healthy skin and nails. Healthy hair has bounce, elasticity (major shrinkage), and can even be shiny.
You have an extensive resume when it comes to how much you furthered your education to fully understand not just hair but human genetics and molecular biology. What can you tell us about how what we put into our bodies effects or encourages the health of our hair?
This is a great question but a big subject. Here is a condensed answer:
It is no secret that a diet rich in processed or fried foods and simple sugars stimulates inflammation in the body and can also make more androgens, which in women with androgenic alopecia, can boost the hair thinning and balding process. Simple sugars such as those in sodas, juices, donuts, pizzas, and cereals have no nutritional value.
A healthy balanced diet free of processed or fried foods and high in vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) and healthy fats, proteins, and complex carbs (olive oil, ghee, avocado oil, nuts, seeds, eggs, grassfed beef, organic chicken, fish, berries, sweet potatoes, avocado etc.) is ideal for both weight control and thriving skin and hair.
This is why the popular keto and south beach diets may be great for losing weight quickly but eventually can take a toll on the hair and invite hair thinning and hair loss. Those diets are simply not providing all the nutrients the body needs.
In addition, because hair is non-essential, the body will focus on more important areas of the body than hair. Therefore, the first sign that something may be wrong in the body or when nutrients are deficient, is hair loss or loss of luster (dull hair).
Even with a healthy diet, several diseases such as thyroid, diabetes, anemia, psoriasis, and celiac disease can lead to hair loss. Menopause can also affect the health of our hair. Yearly bloodwork, diet and exercise are key to prevention and addressing any issues that can cause hair loss.
Severe emotional stress, illness, accidents, surgery, pregnancy, dietary deficiencies, syphilis, autoimmune diseases, and infections such as COVID, can shock the hair follicles, resulting in clumps of hair falling out, usually 3-4 months after the fact. (The good news is that this is often temporary. As the body recovers, so do the hair follicles, and the hair eventually grows back.)
For those who feel their hair grade isn’t manageable or it will never get easier to tame without a relaxer, is it possible to convert to another grade or would it be a matter of learning your hair well enough to know what products will increase manageability?
Without a doubt, it is a matter of learning your hair well enough to know what products and techniques (very important as well) will increase manageability.
I understand that some believe that relaxers are easier but with the right products natural hair is just as easy and much more versatile! Without all the nasty chemicals, eventual hair breakage, and burned smell. And over time, high porosity (damaged) hair will become healthy and become more low porosity. Curl pattern can also change when permanent hair dye is stopped, typically becoming less curly.
If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve or enhance the industry, what would they be?
My three would be:
1. using less plastic and switching to biodegradable and eco friendly hair products and packaging
2. using no or fewer questionable chemicals in hair products and more natural ingredients
3. for the big companies to make hair products more affordable to all
Getting to know the brains behind the brand!! Drop 3 Fun Facts about yourself that aren’t related to hair!!
I won the national Taekwondo championship in my age group when I was 12.
When I was 4 years old I was attacked by a wild boar (and still have the scars to prove it). Maybe that’s one reason why I am allergic to pork LOL.
I am fluent in Dutch and currently learning Hebrew for fun (I finished Ulpan 1 and 2).
What woman inspires you and why?
Serena Williams: To rise to the top of your game mentally and at the same time also be extremely healthy and fit seems like a win-win to me. And to do so against all odds is powerful and inspiring.
Any advice for a young lady trying to find their way in entrepreneurship?
Surround yourself with folks with business experience and ask a LOT of questions. Get advice from other entrepreneurs in the same or similar area so that you have as much information as possible before you start.
How can our readers connect with you?
They can connect with me on instagram at @absolutelyeverythingcurly
Media Inquiries Monique Webber