Dawn Myers has a solution for the natural hair community.
She is the founder of Richualist, a beauty tech company behind the newest haircare product The Mint.
Using the technology, hair textures that are curly to coily, classified as 3A to 4C, can tend to their natural tresses using “healthy heat,” which warms your favorite liquid hair products between 130 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit for deeper penetration.
“We were really intentional about that heat point to make sure that it was as safe as possible ’cause we didn’t wanna take any chances with anyone’s hair health,” Myers shared in an interview with AfroTech.
The heating point also stretches the product, so customers use less. Richualist testing shows customers applied nearly three ounces of product when styling their hair. By using The Mint’s styling pods, the amount of product needed decreased to between 1 ounce and 1.5 ounces.
The Mint also features six attachments designed to detangle and style any hair texture.
What’s more, its use is expected to reduce styling time by nearly half. This is great to hear as Black women can encounter many challenges in caring for their hair, such as the length of time they must devote to it.
In fact, Myers recalls a similar struggle while working alongside big firms in Washington D.C.
“I’m trying to embrace my natural hair, and this was maybe not in the super early days of natural hair,” she explained. “We still didn’t have a ton of products on the market, and it was just really difficult to manage and to schedule my life around my hair, particularly my professional life.”
Myers continued: “So, eventually I left the firm, and I kept hearing about tech, and I kept hearing about these people who were building these products that really meant something to them. I thought what if I could make a product that could make this process easier and healthier and better for women with highly textured, curly hair. So, I came up with this concept. I just wanted a solution to the problem.”
While engineering the technology, Myers had a health scare. She was diagnosed with stage three colorectal cancer in January 2022 at 36. Her reproductive system was removed and connected to another blood supply near her rib cage under an experimental surgery conducted by a surgeon at Johns Hopkins.
After receiving rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, her sizable tumor was gone after six months.
“Last year was an insane year for me,” she recalled. “It was a lot of work. I can’t explain in words how hard it was to keep a company going while I’m undergoing chemotherapy, but somehow we did it. That’s just a testament that this concept, this company, it’s just something that needed to happen, and I think that they’re more hands on me and on this situation that wanted to make sure this product got to market.”
Among her other sacrifices, Myers also sold her home to fund early prototypes and liquidated her 401(k) retirement savings to afford payroll.
By 2022, Myers did receive $1 million in funding to support the completion of engineering and manufacturing the product. By leveraging the investment, she built partnerships to sustain her vision of bridging the hair care gap for Black women.
“Physical products that are tech-enabled are even harder to get funded, and companies that are Black-women led are even harder to get funded,” Myers explained. “So there are all these levels and layers of complexity for products like this, but it’s really important that we establish in the market that funding Black women and funding Black women’s products isn’t just the right thing to do, but that there’s a real business case. Black women spend, and I believe that our dollars should be honored with products that are tailored to our needs.”
For those interested in shopping the product, you can click here to be notified when it becomes available for purchase.