I had the pleasure of interviewing Will Williams, M&M Product Company's Director of Education and New Product Development. He is also a licensed cosmetologist and master barber with 30 years of experience in the beauty and grooming industry. Mr. Williams has worked in all aspects of the hair-care industry, first as a barber/stylist, then as an application specialist, with a focus on critical analysis in the area of relaxer technology.
With M&M Products Co. since the early 1990s, he has been an integral component to the success of the Sofn'free n'pretty product lines. In his current capacity as Director of Education and New Product Development, Williams works to educate salon professionals, beauty product distributors, and consumers. He is an international educator who takes his training worldwide, including countries in South America, Africa, and Europe. Williams has also written numerous articles for trade and consumer magazines, currently writing for publications worldwide.
I am so impressed by the ingredients found in the entire line of Sofn'free n'pretty products! No petrolatum or mineral oil to be found anywhere. Can you explain why the company developed a line without these ingredients usually so prevalent in black hair care products?
It was simple really. We started from the premise: "What would I put on my own childâ€™s hair? What would I include and what would I exclude from ingredients?" Petrolatum can be a culprit in clogging pores; mineral oils block moisture exchange and set on the hair strands. Both can make hair "greasy." The ingredients that we use in our products are quickly absorbed by the hair and scalp for maximum benefit.
Why are so many young girls suffering from such severe hair damage? What are the usual culprits?
Even though most parents take the utmost care to ensure that their childâ€™s hair is clean, healthy and stylish, some things still slip past them. For example, braiding too tightly can cause traction damage and hair loss around the hairline at the temple and nape. Materials not compatible with hair movement can cause hair to wear thin on the sides and back of the head. Add to that improper moisturizing and incorrect combing techniques, and the recipe for damage is set.
What steps can parents or caregivers take to lessen the chance that their daughter's hair ends up being damaged?
To lessen damage, take the ABC approach:
A - Always apply a little moisture before combing.
B - Use a large-tooth comb and start at the nape by making small partings and working your way up to the crown. Repeat at the temples on each side by making small partings until you reach the top. After the sides and back are complete, start combing the top by taking small partings at the front hairline (forehead) and working your way back to the crown. This method will greatly reduce or eliminate combing-related shedding and breakage.
C - Use only smooth materials against your hair. Silk and satin work best. Using a satin pillow cover is an inexpensive way to prevent abrasion while sleeping. Lining caps and hats with silk is also a good idea.
Those are very good, basic tips that anyone can follow. What makes this specific line particularly beneficial for young girls up to the teenage years?
All the essential ingredients for follicle health and young hair growth are present in an easily applicable cream or lotion, which ensure accelerated absorption into hair and skin. Each product is condition-specific to heal or prevent problematic areas of the hair and/or scalp.
For a parent or caregiver who wants to restore a girl's hair back to full health, can they find everything they need in this line of products?
This line contains the remedial essentials for nape and temple hairline restoration, complete detangling, styling and maintenance of thick, curly bi- or multi-racial hair types. Also included in the overall Sofn'free n'pretty lineup are Olive Oil Growth Lotion and Olive & Sunflower Growth Oils for slow and non-growing hair. Use this line to keep hair healthy and promote balanced growth or restore hair.
As a longtime veteran of the beauty and grooming industry, how do you think hair care companies are responding to the wants and needs of everyday consumers?
Yes, companies have to respond to consumers, from both a standpoint of offering what they appear to demand and from anticipating consumers' needs and educating them on the products' benefits to get the results they want. For example, our GroHealthy line of products anticipates the need for a healthy scalp and responds by providing protection, growth stimulation and follicle care. That's a solid need that consumers connect with when they realize that a healthy scalp equates to healthy hair growth. I think that companies respond to the desire for longer hair by providing attachments, tools to style hair faster, and products to make it shiny, hold style, and feel good to the touch.