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7 Female Haircare Founders You Need to Know + Advice from Each!

Happy Women’s History Month to all you ladies out there getting sh*t done!

Women-led business is booming– especially in the beauty world. This year, we’re kicking off Women’s History Month by celebrating the amazing women behind some of our favorite beauty brands. From Shelby Wild at Playa to Maeve Heim at Bread Beauty Supply, the most innovative names in the haircare game all have female visionaries at the helm.

So what’s the secret to their success? We asked our favorite female founders to share their expert career (and hair) insight below. Read on for amazing advice from the industry’s elite!

1. Jen Atkin

Hairstylist, entrepreneur, media mogul- Jen Atkin is woman of many talents. In between styling iconic looks for celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Bella Hadid, Jen managed to find time to start luxury haircare brand Ouai and *gasp* this very publication!

Career Advice: “Be your biggest champion. Write down daily affirmations and nice things about yourself every morning Don’t be.  afraid to promote yourself and be confident in doing so.”

Hair Advice: “For truly healthy hair, you have to treat your body well. Things like proper vitamins and nutrition, stress management, and sleep can all help to keep your hair looking it’s best. And don’t cut your bangs during Quarantine.”

2. Shelby Wild

Playa founder Shelby Wild is the visionary behind the effortless Venice-based brand. The California girl’s three year-old clean beauty brand has made major waves in the industry, quickly becoming the go-to destination for paired-down products packaged to perfection.

Via Note PR

Career Advice: “Listen to your gut! Before I launched Playa in 2017, I worked as a fashion stylist at Vogue Italia and Intermix in New York. After years grinding it out in the city, I realized that fashion styling wasn’t my true passion and decided to leave behind a steady career (seems crazy I know!) and take a leap into entrepreneurship. I definitely had moments of self-doubt but starting Playa showed me how valuable it is to trust my intuition.”

Hair Advice: “Trying to lay off the hot tools as much as possible has really helped my own hair stay happy and healthy. I love the look of tousled beach waves, so instead of using a curling iron, before bed I spritz our Monoi Milk Leave-In Conditioner from mid-lengths to ends on freshly washed towel dry hair to remove any tangles, then I roll my bangs in two small sponge rollers and the rest of my head in four larger rollers. In the morning I take my hair out of the sponge rollers and apply our Ritual Hair Oil and Pure Dry Shampoo to smooth it all out and give my hair volume at the roots. The whole process is super quick and my hair has never looked better!”

3. Maeva Heim

In just under a year, Maeva Heim  has taken Bread Beauty Supply from fledgling beauty brand to household name. The natural haircare line is geared towards crafting simple, sleek, and seriously chic lazy girl essentials for textured hair types. Needless to say, we’re huge fans.

Via Bread Beauty Supply

Career Advice: “None of what you do would exist, or matter, without people, and every opportunity is attached to a person. Developing people skills and nurturing relationships is the most important thing you can do. Give value to people and it will come back to you tenfold.”

“With that, I think it’s important not to ‘give’ with the expectation of receiving something in return. You have to be authentic with the way that you give – and there is no way to get around that, because the universe will know!”

Hair Advice: “My hair advice is very much in line with the brand ethos of BREAD—simply ‘do you.’ There are so many brands in the market that tell women how to style and do their hair and in building BREAD, it has been my goal to provide the essentials to simplify your haircare routine no matter how you want to wear it.”

4. Sabrina Maren

NuMe founder and CEO Sabrina Maren is a force of nature. The beauty mogul is the visionary behind this luxury brand’s salon-quality styling products (we’re particularly fond of NuMe’s life-saving Vanguard Straightner).

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A post shared by Sabrina Maren (@sabrina_maren)

Career Advice: “It sounds so cliché but my best piece of career advice is to only do what you love. Find your passion and let that guide you. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was NuMe! Don’t be discouraged if you “fail” or things don’t turn out exactly as you envisioned, what’s important is being able to learn and grow from your setbacks. As long as you are willing to work hard and always stay true to yourself, you will be successful in anything you do.” 

Hair Advice: “Find the right hair style for you!  Trends and experimenting can be fun and exciting, but it is also important to make sure you select styles, products, and tools that work best for your specific hair type and hair condition.  When I couldn’t find tools that would work on my coarse hair, I founded NuMe and developed hair tools with unique technologies and quality components that would work on difficult to style hair types and textures.   Find the best solution and routine for your own unique hair without compromising on hair health and integrity; not all hair styling tools are created equal!”

5. Vita Raykhman

Amika co-founder Vita Raykhman has a resume that could wow just about anyone. The creative director and brand strategist has held high-ranking positions at numerous beauty brands, including this clean beauty powerhouse.

Via amika

Career Advice: “My best piece of career advice is to work your a** off—it’s that simple. We all start at different points with different abilities, but nothing can replace doing the work and really giving it your all. Also, be nice and make friends. With almost anything you do, it’s about the people, so being nice will always pay off. It’s also overall a more pleasant way to live.”

Hair Advice: “From a care perspective, educate yourself about your hair type and what it needs to be healthy and at its best. Some people might not know enough about their hair type, and it could be a challenge to understand what products really do—and don’t—work for you. Also, find a really good hairstylist who you can trust. A great stylist takes what’s current and merges it with what works for your particular look. Your hair can really define your overall look so finding a stylist that can understand how to do that well is key.”

6. Lindsay Holden

Odele co-founder Lindsay Holden knows a thing or two about building a brand. The entrepreneur launched her ultra-inclusive (we’re talking hair type and price point) clean beauty brand at Target during a pandemic and pulled it off. Major boss energy.

Via Odele
Career Advice: “Your career is not a linear path, so don’t think you need to be on one. Follow your gut, always be curious + know that if you find yourself in a place you’re less than thrilled with, you have the power to do something about it. Tough experiences on your career path are just as valuable as the experiences that feel fabulous. Be kind to and honest with yourself on the journey; your destination is not meant to be realized overnight.”
Hair Advice:“Own whatever you’re rocking – from the done to the un-done and you will look your best. Your hair will love you for using good, clean products that deliver the right amount of moisture for your hair type and texture as well as limiting time spent with heat tools. Less is more + embrace what you have time for.”   

7. Carrie Sporer and Meredith Krill

Carrie Sporer and Meredith Krill are the dynamic duo behind SWAIR, the revolutionary beauty brand behind Showerless Shampoo. This game-changing product is the only suds-free shampoo that actually cleans your hair. Ideal for every Mane Addict’s post-workout routine.


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A post shared by SWAIR (@swairhair)

Career Advice: “Don’t be afraid to reach out to experts to ask questions! It can be intimidating to ask questions that might seem “basic” to someone else in your industry, but we’ve been so pleased with
everyone’s willingness to help us learn. When sourcing our bottles we had many questions on the shape, color and neck size of bottles (you have no idea how many choices exist!). We reached out to our manufacturer who explained everything to us in detail in order for us to make informed decisions. We felt like such novices, but they said, “This is what we’re here for!”

“We’ve also reached out to a few beauty founders we admire, and we were so excited that they were willing to take some time out of their days to speak with us. We never would have had those opportunities if we didn’t ask. We found this so helpful that we’re now starting a collective with other female founded beauty start-ups.”

Hair Advice: “Treat your hair as kindly as your treat your skin and body. There are so many products being sold that can be really damaging to your hair. It’s been ingrained in our heads that when shampooing your hair, the more suds the better, but what is actually causing these suds are
sulfates which can strip your hair and scalp of natural oils and cause your hair to be dry or brittle.”

“When ideating SWAIR’s Showerless Shampoo, it was a non-negotiable that it must be a clean beauty product. Our brand is designed for people who work out, and we know that they don’t want to take the time and effort to exercise for their well-being and then turn around and put unhealthy products on their hair or in their bodies. We created a clean dry shampoo alternative that cleans your hair quickly without suds, rinsing or residue.”

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