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Hair is on our heads and on our minds. The search for the right style — and the right products to maintain it — is never-ending.

The family behind hair care brand Design Essentials has been in the hair business since the 1970s. They’ve seen four decades of hair styles come and go. They know that staying current, ahead of the curve even, is critical to maintaining relevance.

“From a historical standpoint, the 70s had a sense of pride with the afros,” Cornell McBride Jr., president of McBride Research Laboratories told MadameNoire on a recent phone call. Cornell McBride, Sr., the president and CEO of McBride Research Laboratories, launched M&Ms Product Companies back in 1973. One of their first big products was Sta-Sof-Fro, a product for men’s hair. By the 80s, the company had a number of big products, including Sof-N-Free, Moxie, and Curly Perm. That company was sold to Johnson Products in 1989. McBride Research Laboratories has been producing Design Essentials for more than 20 years.

“There was a change to relaxers then curls to relaxers,” McBride Jr. continues. “And now, it’s an evolution. Women are exploring natural [hair] because of liberation.”

As much as we think about our hair, we don’t want to be consumed with it. Our hair care products have always worked to keep us looking good. But now they have the added duty to make our lives a little easier. To innovate, Design Essentials has to bring customers the products to fit the lives they live.

“She wants flexibility with her lifestyle,” McBride continues highlighting the average woman’s active life working out at the gym, tending to family, and enjoying leisure time, and more. Living life by a stylist’s schedule is impossible.

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