“My husband and I, we’ve been locked for over a decade,” Tara Darnley, co-founder of Peculiar Roots, told MadameNoire. “When we started our journey, there was absolutely nothing on the market for even natural hair and over the years, we saw that as the natural hair movement grew and natural hair care brands grew, no one really made anything for us.”
The Darnelys would eventually go on to launch Peculiar Roots, a haircare brand specially designed for men and when with locs. There were two goals: One, to act as a bridge between the beauty industry and the loc community. Two, to solve many of the unique challenges faced by the many men, women, and even kids who wear locs. In no time, the brand gained recognition from Sally Beauty and Cosmo Prof’s Cultivate Cohort of Women Entrepreneurs initiative — a program that helps to accelerate and empower women-owned beauty brands through mentorship, grant opportunities, and distribution deals via SallyBeauty.com and Sally Beauty stores.
“Over the years and just seeing the issues that we faced, we were like okay we have to make some type of change in the beauty industry and normalize having locs,” said Darnley.
They also made a change by creating products that are build-up free, which is especially important if you have loc’d hair.
“Because there are no products on the market for us, we retreat to things that are not made for our hair. When you look at even the loc community you know we have people who use Febreeze just make their hair smell good. So that’s where it really came from with the shampoos and all our products,” Darnle said of the Clarifying & Detox Black Charcoal Shampoo.”It is soft enough to be able to use every day, every week, every month. You can use it just like any regular shampoo that you use, but it’s going to strip that dirt and that build-up from your hair. It will literally bring everything on the top of your hair and you might freak out like, ‘What’s going on?’ because it’s gonna pull all those things from your hair.”
And while all of the shampoos in the collection work extremely well, the Charcoal shampoo is packed with ingredients that help to clarify while simultaneously restoring moisture.
“Charcoal is known to pull debris and dirt from anything,” Darnley raved. “And so we’re very like specific with the ingredients that we use and so the charcoal is gonna pull those things out but that Black Charcoal Shampoo also has a shea butter inside. So when it’s pulling that dirt out, it’s also gonna put those nice essential oils back into your hair. It’s gonna make it super soft and make it manageable”
“You put in your hands, you wet your hair, and you rub it on your hair. Maybe after like two to five rubs, your hair has a full lather,” Darnley said of this particular product. “They’re compact, easy to travel with, and they fit into our sustainability model. They get ordered a lot. They last long and I think people love that one you’re buying something for an affordable price. They’re $9.99 and they last probably three to four months.”
The bars also come in two refreshing scents: clean-smelling Ocean and soothing Chamomille. You can also bundle the bars for $16.99 and get the best of both worlds.
“Our pomade is build-up free and that’s very unheard of,” Darnley pointed out. “If you put a gel in your hair, you get the result you want, but your hair may start to flake in like a day or two. We don’t want that to happen. And over time, those flakes, if you have locs, it’s gonna embed into the core of your hair and ultimately, that’s gonna start breaking the hair. So our pomade, for example, is build-up free so when you use that you’re gonna get that nice slicked back result that want, your twists will last longer, and you’re not gonna get that build-up.”
“This is our best-selling line. We cannot keep our Refresher Sprays in stock. The thought process behind was birthed from a need. Again, people were using Febreeze to make their hair smell good — the brittle locs were a huge thing in the community. People really thought that they had to have dry, brittle locs. They thought their locs had to be stiff like that was normal,” Darnley recalled.
“With the starter loc phase, people hate the starter loc phase. That’s like the first three to six months of starting your loc journey. They absolutely hate it because they may not want to like wash their hair so soon because it may unravel and so, they’re miserable until they get a Refresher Spray. With the Refresher Spray, they’re able to use it on a daily basis. It’s super light, It”s just great all around because of the ingredients we put into it. So they’re able to use it every day to reduce the frizz and to make their hair smell amazing.”
Darnley tests all of her products before placing them on the market and she knew the hair growth serum would be a hit when it helped her to remedy a problem that plagues many women after childbirth.
“I tested it mainly for postpartum shedding,” shared Darnley. “I was like, you know what, I’m going to use it for my edges and see if there’s a difference. After like two months, I saw a difference and I was like, ‘You know what, I’m going to put this on the market.’ I just wanted to make sure the product worked first so that I can stand by it.”