Meeting Electta Beauty was somewhat serendipitous. We saw a post on facebook from a high school classmate. Despite having not spoken in a number of years, we were excited to see what they were working on. Electta Beauty started with two college friends, AJ Chestnut and Sharisse Jackson.
AJ’s experience was one of recovery, after being ill for some time, she decided that she would do her best to avoid harsh chemicals and any other known substances that cause illness. She earned a degree in Chemistry and would later use her knowledge to help advance the quality of their formulas.
Sharisse had her initial inspiration in high school when she cut off all of her hair and went natural. She had never seen her natural hair and wanted to experience what it was like. In the early 2000s there were not as many products as there are today that worked well on textured hair and had quality ingredients. When she could not find any products she began mixing things of her own. People liked it so she also gave products to them as well. Sharisse just wanted to grow up and do hair. After college she went to Aveda cosmetology school and got her license, and that was when it got really serious.
AJ and Sharisse met in college and they were inspired to expand access to Sharisse’s magical mixes. They began working on the brand in 2010 while living in what they called the “refugee house.” AJ says, “Great things come from dark times!” We started discussing, “How could we work together and start making this a thing, and we slowly built.” In 2015 they moved to the same state and things started moving much faster. After 5 years, it was really happening, the ideas were coming together and they finally landed their brand logo that they felt represented the essence of what they wanted to create. “We have a philosophy that came together as the unified concept of Electta,” says AJ.
Describe Electta in 5 words: Whole-body, small-batch, hand-made, authentic and passionate.
Electta represents being passionate about being you. “Historically, people of African descent are one of the only groups that have felt shame for their hair, and it is not fair. We should feel proud. Anyone should feel proud to be themselves, and live in their truth and it be ok. Black hair has so many different textures it is difficult and expensive to determine routines and which products work. Our products are the truth, and they are real,” says AJ.
Everything the company offers is plant-based and they intend to maintain that stance. Through research they found that learning the language of the industry, anyone can label their products natural. Organic labeling was also questionable given the flexibility in regulation.
“What I love about our stuff is that, you can get behind it. The ingredients are simple and you know what they are. Our focus is teaching people what the wellness benefits are,” says AJ.
What's in a name? How did they choose the name Electta Beauty?
Sharisse - When people say it is good for your skin, but not your hair, it is kind of weird. They are extensions of one another. Our skin is our largest organ, and that’s one way that we ingest things into our bodies. If you look at something and say, “Oh my gosh, I would not want this anywhere near my mouth, then why would you put it on your body? You should be able to use all of your products from head to toe.” Electta aims to simplify life by making it easy for you to use their products for multiple purposes. Imagine only having to travel with 2-3 products for your personal care needs.
A huge part of what they do as founders is put themselves in the customer's’ shoes. They focus on making their stuff for themselves knowing their strict criteria for products and banking on other people electing to buy it.
What are some of the main ingredients you use: coconut (oil 76 or 92 degree depending on the product), cocoa butter, shea butter, jojoba oil. All of these products also have high, naturally occurring concentrations of vitamin E.
Another plus to the Electta line is that you don’t have to worry about hair products causing skin issues/breakouts because their products can be used for both skin and hair. By using natural products some clients have seen a reduction in acne. “That's how it should be. The products you use should not make you break out,” says Sharisse. Their favorite part of the process is following their passions and finding different ways to blend the ingredients into useful products and maintaining shelf life while using plant based products.
The products have very tight ingredient lists and only some incorporate minimal essential oil blends for fragrance as a secondary feature. They aim to focus on the ingredients that treat and solve personal care needs. One example is the Rainforest cream, which can be used to treat eczema (clary sage, ginger grass and cedarwood). It smells earthy and a little dewy, and the soothing ingredients and scent help to relieve and treat discomfort from different forms of dermatitis. They also make another cream called Lemon Cake Mousse, which helps to heal and minimize scars.
What's your personal regimen and how has it evolved?
AJ - My regimen used to be complicated, but now it is very simple. Getting my hair interlocked helped reduce hair styling time, and it changed my life. I mostly wear my hair in wash and go’s and braid-outs. Sharisse made a natural gel that I use and my braid-outs lasts 2 weeks. I use a castille soap, honey, and olive oil dilution cut in half with water as my body wash. It forms a slight lather and keeps my skin very hydrated. When it is hot, I only use water to wash my face. Most evenings I use a mild castille cleanser.
Sharisse - I have had many hairstyles. If I go back a few year’s, I was not completely ready to wear my hair natural. I went to Curve Salon (former salon of Ms. Jessie’s founders) and got a silkener. Then i decided to get locs, then cut them off in 2011/2012 and went natural again. I have always been fearless with my hair, and I want everyone to feel empowered to do the same. My skincare routine is simple and I have only used my own products for the last 10 years. I use the Morning, Morning Scrub on my entire body and castille soap to wash and that’s it. I apply the scrub while the soap is still on my body and then I rinse. The end result is very moisturized skin.
Do you follow any major brands?
We follow Shea Moisture and Carol’s Daughter. Shea moisture has evolved their lines and are using more and more creative and effective ingredients.
There’s certainly much more to come for this brand. They are working on expanding their hair care offering and introducing more people to the Electta Beauty philosophy. If you’ve read this far, be sure to check them out online. Use coupon code COUPDECOIFF (all caps) to receive free shipping on your first purchase. The offer last until August 30, 2016.