Theodore Vernell

Protect your Mane

An Interview with the Founder of Theodore Vernell

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Curls & More: First, let me say how much I love your locs! How long have you been growing them?


 TV: Thank you. I have been growing them a total of 14 years. The first time I grew them for 4 years while in college but I cut them. This second time has been 10 years.


CM: Ok, your name isn’t Theodore or Vernell where did this name come from?


TV: I wanted a name that represented me but didn’t say “hey look at me”.(laughs)  And since I’m one half of each of my parents I thought their names would work perfectly.


CM: Tell us about how you came up with your custom fit shower and sleep caps?


TV: Well after searching for a product that would protect all of my locs, that I wouldn’t have to buy again every month I decided to sit down and create something myself. I started off with the shower cap didn’t have any intentions of starting a business, but my cousin saw it and wanted one and said she had friends that wanted one as well.


CM: So this is really an accident?


TV: (laughs) I guess you could say that. It wasn’t as if I was sitting at my desk calculating a master plan for starting my own business, but I was really tired of not finding products that would protect my hair. I needed a solution, so I created one. 


CM: What makes your caps different from those already out there on the market?


TV: Our caps come with two options for comfort fit. The headband has a drawstring that allows the user to adjust the cap to their comfort level while the sizing ring allows them to adjust the cap to whatever style they’re wearing. I wanted to create something that was as versatile as its owner; no matter what style you’re rocking I wanted to ensure protection.


CM: I loved both caps and wanted to know about the upkeep. Can I wash these?


TV: Of course! For the shower cap I suggest taking a baby wipe and simply wiping the lining of the cap every week or so, but the sleep cap can go into your washer with no reservations. I put mine in a garment wash bag and let in air dry.


CM: What’s next for Theodore Vernell?


TV: You’ll have to wait and see (laughs), but no seriously we are hoping to expand into the fitness world and are in the developmental phases of a cap that can be worn to protect the hair while working out. Our goal is to keep edges dry and reduce the amount of frizz experienced while sweating.


CM: Do you need a Guinea pig? (laughs)


TV: We just may!


CM: Ok, in all seriousness, what would you like to leave with our readers?


TV: Our caps are simply a solution to a growing problem in the black hair care world. With the rise of people embracing their hair, there hasn’t been a response from major corporations to make products that are reflective of our needs. I created these to help men, women, and children protect their mane.


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Halle Berry and her Oscar Curls

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Whew, it's been a minute since I've written...but for good reasons!! We are growing, and although I won't share all the juicy details, but know that great things are in the works for this year.


When scrolling through my timeline there are two stories that are taking over today: Remy Ma's diss track and Halle Berry's natural hair at the Oscars. I won't talk much about the Remy Ma diss, but I will say...she didn't use alternative facts in the making of that track. But Halle is getting drug through the mud because of her curls and I don't think it's fair.


I saw a post that stated "Halle must not have real friends", and I get it...but this happens on a daily basis. I don't know about everyone else, but this natural journey hasn't been easy at all. I have had horrible color, worn horrific styles, and have considered going back to a relaxer more than I would like to's a part of the journey. People questioned if she was wearing a wig and Halle denied saying “The dress is glamorous with a sense of romance that made me feel feminine and fresh. With this look, I celebrate my natural hair by allowing it to be wild and free.” 


I think her curls look very pretty, a little too big for my taste, but still pretty. I remember my first perm rod set and let's just say I looked like someone's grandmother on first Sunday, but as I learned how to style my hair it was easier to manipulate and rock the look. I can hear someone saying "But she pays people to do this for her!" And that's true, but maybe Ms. Berry loved the look and at the end of the day...that's what really matters.


On the natural journey there isn't a "this look works for everybody" or "this product works on every 4c head" it a true test of trial and error! I've spent hundreds of dollars on products and they were all a waste of money, but I gained knowledge. I've learned that I can't use coconut oil in my head (let's have a moment of silence), that certain products dry out my scalp, and that don't work well with my curl pattern so let's let Halle figure out where she is on this journey and celebrate her for joining #TeamNatural

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L'Oreal Lawsuit

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We have all heard how certain oils help to make the hair, and scalp, healthier. One of the newly identified oils is amla oil and has great reviews from bloggers and users about how it adds sheen and bounce to hair. Recently Loreal put out a new relaxer that promotes the use of Alma oil and has had horrible reception.

A Los Angeles attorney is petitioning the courts to have hair care brand L'Oreal to remove the relaxer from shelves. The reason you ask? it's causing hair loss and scalp irritation to black women around the nation, with no help from the big time beauty brand for a remedy.

This ten dollar relaxer was introduced in 2010 and list alma oil as an ingredient with the promise to protect hair and infuse the scalp with nutrients that will help with producing a gorgeous sheen.  So here's where it gets interesting, just like with anything else the list of ingredients indicates what's mostly used (hence why you should always use a conditioner with water listed as the first ingredient). Although alma oil is listed, it at the bottom of the list after a list of toxic ingredients. L'Oreal says that the box clearly indicates the hazard with using the product and denies that they are responsible for the burning and hair falling out.

L'Oreal used black celebrities to promote this product and many women have written reviews, called L'Oreal, and are now dealing with hair loss. Now let me say that I have been "team natural" for 6 years and the idea of returning to the "creamy crack" is always a racing thought, but stories like this help me redirect. Ladies, if you are going to use relaxers let's discuss some tips:

1) Do a scalp/hair test before applying the relaxer to your whole head

2) Only relax when necessary, do not over process your hair

3) Invest in your hair and consider having a professional relax and color your hair to limit burning and hair falling out

4) Do your research, it pays to look into different products and read reviews

What are your thoughts on this story? Have you used this relaxer? Comment below and let's start a conversation about healthy hair. 

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Team Natural vs Team Relaxer

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I love those women on social media who absolutely love their natural coils. They have blogs, vlogs, words of encouragement, and are very knowledgeable about all that is "natural hair". But I'm not there, don't think I'll ever get there, or that I really want to be there. The reason? Sometimes I still want to go back to a relaxer!!


Let's be honest, this natural hair journey is no walk in the park. There are valleys and mountain peaks, but those valley days will have you contemplating your commitment to #TeamNatural. From trying to find products that work for your hair types (I still don't understand the 4a/4c debate) to trying to balance your style and professionalism, the idea of returning to a relaxer is always around. 


My biggest issues are wanting a change and not being able to do it because it requires a relaxer, the struggle is beyond real. I'll see a cute hair cut and think "You know what I want that!", and then the reality of being natural hits. The pixie cut is one of my favorites right now, but I would have to cut all my hair off (I've been natural for 5 years and have made major strides in growth) and would have to get a relaxer to keep my hair looking fresh and maintained. I'm good!


Someone asked, "So why haven't you gone back to relaxers?" The truth is I love being natural! Yes, I know it may not seem that way based on what proceeds this sentence, but it's true. After years of dealing with seborrheic dermatitis, I definitely see the difference in my hair and scalp health.


Now please don't think I'm saying that you can't have healthy hair with a relaxer because you can, but I appreciate and value my hair more now. When you see my mane you're looking at an investment of time and energy that I dedicated to myself. I struggled with my TWA and confidence, I remember the first silk press after my big chop, and I've witnessed how many styles can come from one good twist out. 


So whether you're #TeamNatural or #TeamCreamyCrack at the end of the day we are all #TeamHealthyHair.

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She Did What?

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One of the scariest things for any woman, who's natural, is finding the courage to try a new stylist. With today's technology it's easy to scout a stylist before actually sitting in their chair. You look at their Facebook page to see how they present themselves (I can't stand a stylist who curses the ENTIRE time I'm in the chair), browse through their Instagram to see their work, and if needed see if they have a snapchat to "get to know them better". The true fate of your new relationship may depend on the reviews of their current and former clients. How long is the usual wait? What is their level of professionalism? How do they work with natural hair?

After weeks of research you make the first step. You call and schedule an appointment and you get excited. You look through a variety of styles and find the perfect one. You show up to the salon a few minutes early, you know to scope things out, and you feel comfortable. You let your stylist know what you're looking for and she takes you to the bowl. I don't know about you, but there's nothing better than having someone else shampoo my hair! It relaxes me in ways that words simply can't describe. You ask what is being used in your hair and they tell you freely, and it all seems okay. You get that style you wanted and walk out feeling fabulous. 

After a while it's time to shampoo your hair and you decide to do it on your own. You shampoo and deep condition but realize something, your curl pattern has changed DRASTICALLY! You try shampooing again but your hair won't curl back. You think it's due to heat damage and go to Google searching for something to help you, but find nothing. You call the stylist and tell her your concern when you hear the words that makes your heart skip a beat "I use relaxer during the conditioning process to help make the hair more manageable. You're left speechless and are confused as to what to do.

Sounds like a horror story huh? But it's happening across the nation daily!! Stylist are using relaxer in both shampoo and conditioner to try to help "tame" the hair, instead of admitting their limitations. What do you do? What can be done? What's the next step? Many have had to start over or allow the damage to grow out, but how do you hold the stylist accountable?

When looking for a stylist interview them!! If you find a stylist that doesn't want to answer questions or who gets frustrated easily...RUN! You are investing in their services and have the right to ask questions for both understanding and clarity. Don't be afraid of offending them, be bold and ensure that the services they provide are what you're looking for. 

What would you do if this happened to you? Here are some stories of the horror:

Men and Hair loss

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While watching the Presidential debate last night I noticed Donald Trump's "hair" and thought about the new trend in black male hair care...weaves. Yep, weaves! I talked to a friend, who had to go bald due to his hair falling out, and asked if he would ever consider getting one. His answer, "Not at all". We watched videos, discussed the pros and cons, and talked about the "real" issue of a man's manhood being questioned. 


The first video we saw showed a man going through the process of getting his hair done and I began to wonder, why is this such a big issue? Our caucasian counter parts have been wearing hair pieces for years...and now the brothers are embracing the power that comes with a full head of hair. As we watched more videos I could tell my friend was becoming intrigued and we decided to do a little research (hey, we're both research fiends lol) and were surprised by what we found.


There are drugs, procedures, and natural treatments geared towards helping men stop the process of balding and now a less intrusive solution...the man weave. I've seen how women who've lost their hair regain confidence and their sense of self-esteem when a stylist is able to transform their crown; are we so closed minded that our black men can't have the same experience. 


Wether their hair loss is caused by genetics or a disease, do we believe that black men should have to just deal with hair loss or do they deserve that same feeling of pride when they look in the mirror?


Take a look at a few of these videos:


Locs of Love

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When looking online for stories regarding hair or hair care very seldom do I find a story that inspires me. When looking into black hair stories I find things about growing hair, styling short hair, and even how to style locs; but today I found a story very different.


Thomas Moore is a ten-year-old young man from Maryland has made an impact on myself, and many others in the black hair care community. He noticed his mother watching a story about a five-year-old girl battling cancer and how she lost her hair through her chemotherapy treatments. Touched by her experience Thomas asked his mother if he could grow his hair. His goal was to have enough hair to give to the young lady to make her happy, but he exceeds his own expectations!


When Thomas cut his hair he was able to donate enough to make three wigs for those overcoming cancer. The young lady that inspired Thomas to cut his hair passed before receiving his locs of love, but her mother celebrated in her memory. 


With stories like this, it makes me realize the importance of educating our children about their coils and curls and instilling pride in their natural hair. Thomas isn't the only child to do this selfless act, but it's inspiring to see how the youth of today are more concerned with the happiness of others rather than their own self-seeking pleasures. 


You can read more about this incredible young man here:


Theodore VernellComment

I wake up every morning and I already have a strike against me: I'm a black man. I have been blessed to work in a field that allows me to use my talents in ways that gives me great opportunities to network and meet amazing people. But, this week I learned that my locs could disqualify me from promotions, advancements, and professional growth opportunities...legally. 


This week a federal court ruled that employers can discriminate against professionals who choose to wear locs. My question is simple, "How?" I remember the days of having to shave my beard for an interview, but now you're telling me that because I chose to wear my hair in a certain style I can legally be denied professional growth. 


In the complaint the employer (Catastrophe Management Solutions of Mobile, Alabama) stated that "dreadlocs can get messy". Excuse me, but what hair style can't get messy? As a human being I take pride in my appearance and ensure that my locs are both clean and professionally acceptable, but now that's not enough. In reading the complaint I became more frustrated with the ignorance held by many in positions of power. The decision was based on the fact that the locs were a physical trait that could be changed.


I could go on for days about what's accepted in some cultures (purple hair, blue hair, completely shaved head with pink stars) is frowned upon in others, but then again I would be typing this for the next few hours.


And people wonder why I sacrifice and invest in my own locs aren't going anywhere and neither am I.

The Interview

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I remember getting the call I'd been waiting on for at least two weeks, I was chosen for an interview. The process was a long and tiring one and I could see the finish line. My excitement was quickly quenched when I realized one thing, my hair. I had the prettiest twist out and my interview was in two days. I text my stylist and begged for an appointment and as I sat there waiting I thought of different ways I could "tame" my mane. 

As I sat waiting I became so frustrated with my choice to go natural. When I had a relaxer it was simple. I could wash and slick it back in a nice bun or pretty ponytail, but with this thick curly bush I was stuck. See, I'm not a hair person so my hair is either professionally styled or in a very basic twist out. YouTube videos don't help, Google searches have failed, and I pray for the day I learn to braid. But, here I am 5 years since my big chop and I'm stuck. 

My stylist replied and told me she could get me in and I was overjoyed. I would have to apply heat to my hair, but it would be nice and "professional". I had the silk press and aced the interview, but please believe on the first day I had a twist out as big as my office!