Meet Mel's Butter Blends
When making the transition over to clean beauty, the hardest part can often be finding hair products that work as well as the ones full of harmful ingredients.
It seems like everywhere we turn the word fragrance is screaming from the ingredient’s list “Oh hey! Look at me!”
Looking at the ingredients that go into the products on the shelves of many of our beauty supply stores, it would seem we just aren’t a priority for companies who are dominating the space in this industry, which to me is wild.
Do you know how much women of color spend on our hair?
Our hair is such a vital piece of our identity. And we treat it as such.
All this makes it easy for me to fall in love with a company like Mel’s Butter Blends.
The founder, Mel, not only creates healthy products using aloe & mango butter as base ingredients, she also provides education on hair type & hair needs based on those types.
Each product is made with natural and organic ingredients - yes, the real ones.
In addition, a detailed list of ingredients is included on each item .
The products aren’t tested on animals and do not contain animal by-products. The brand promise prohibits the use of silicons, parabens, and chemicals in all products.
Mel exemplifies so many of us on our hair journey - the struggle to handle it, the realization of the dangers of relaxers, the search for products that work (for an extended period of time, too) and an overall goal of hair health.
She also is an example of our power as women of color because If what we want & need doesn’t exist, we go out and create it.
Read what she had to say when Clean Beauty for Black Girls asked her our feature questions.
Can you tell me a bit about you & your company?
Mel's Butter Blends creates natural products primarily from aloe and mango butter, that provide solutions to common hair and skin issues, such as eczema and alopecia. Our products are not water based or shea butter based like most natural products in the mainstream market.
As for me, I'm a first-generation Haitian woman who loves to create and build businesses. Ironically though, Mel's Butter Blends didn't start as a business intentionally. I started making a product for my hair when I transitioned back to natural, and the people I shared it with called it #haircrack. Fortunately, I was wise enough to take it seriously and see the demand for the products and its ingredients.
When did you first know you wanted to pursue creating a “clean” product? Why is that important to you?
I tried ALLL the products that claimed to be for natural hair, but realized that most of them contained ingredients that are actually damaging. And I know how capitalism works, these companies are maximizing profits by filling products with water and synthetic components to avoid using natural ingredients that are more expensive to source. This motivated me to start using raw ingredients, and eventually started mixing them when I researched the properties of each. It’s important to me to create clean products because most of the health issues that affect humans, and Black people especially, are rooted in what we put in and on our bodies. In recent years, we have been told to rethink what we eat. I think the emphasis on healthy beauty and cosmetic products is now coming to the forefront, mainly because we are seeing more data that shows the relation between chemicals in beauty products and cancers/illnesses. So when we know better, we must do better.
What is your favorite part of the creation process?
I enjoy identifying a problem and thinking of ways to solve it. I developed more products over time based on the requests I’d receive from customers. And to find out that you created a solution that TRULY works, and to get that feedback, it feels very rewarding. Some women have told me they hated having to deal with their natural hair or hated how it felt/looked because they couldn’t find products with long term moisture and growth benefits. To know that I’ve helped some people find beauty in their natural hair is priceless.
Define success. What is your method for achieving that success?
I see success as freedom- I’ve never really had true freedom. From growing up in a single-parent and strict Caribbean household with limited financial means, I always felt restrained. And now as a Black woman in America, I am constrained by another set of obstacles. My method for achieving success has been to create my own opportunities, because many of the systems I’ve tried to prosper in were not created for me to do well. I stay focused on the goals I want to achieve, I ask for advice and help from those who have accomplished what I hope to, I try to create opportunities for others along the way, and I give back to young ambitious people the support and mentorship that I didn’t have growing up.
Have you experienced failure?
Absolutely! This is my third business (LOL). I started making jewelry as a teenager, and quickly realized the challenges of scaling that. Technically that’s a failure because TOO MUCH money was put into it before even understanding how it would become profitable. But it’s also not a failure because I sharpened my sales skills, began to build a network full of other small business owners, and started to understand what is necessary to build a company that can grow beyond you.
What inspires and motivates you?
I am inspired by the Black women who have created profitable businesses in spite of the challenges that we face with fundraising, distribution, and team building. I get up every day in pursuit of financial freedom, not just for me, but for my family as well. I am motivated daily by the amazing people who support Mel’s Butter Blends. Usually on a day when I’m really in my feelings I’ll get a review, DM, or tag from someone saying how much a product has helped them. That kind of support is my lifeblood, cause it’s a struggle to build every day. I’ve also been blessed with opportunities that I didn’t seek out, which just motivates to keep working on the brand because people are seeing the work I’m putting in.
What projects are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m doing some rebranding with Mel’s Butter Blends and preparing us for a fundraising round. I also recently started building a platform for business owners that I will begin collecting data for soon. I still work as a strategic planning and public relations consultant for businesses and entertainers. I have a few more business ideas to put on paper and activate, but only one thing at a time!
Are you inspired? Ready to give your hair some aloe & mango butter?
It’s going to take education, innovation, and support for us to continue in this movement of protecting our sisters without sacrificing the standard of beauty products we have come to love.
I am such a stan for companies such as Mel’s Butter Blends and women like Mel. I can’t wait for what’s to come!
So, ladies - If you’re in the Philadelphia or Brooklyn, make sure to go check out Mel’s Butter Blends & meet Mel! You can also shop online at www.melsbutterblends.com and use code “cleanbeauty” for 20% off of your order.
10/6 Philadelphia Maker Faire
10/12 CultureCon (Brooklyn,NY)