I went natural three years ago this summer, and uncovered a whole new world of products that target textured hair. While there are a plethora of products geared towards women, natural hair care for men is less concentrated.
I am very excited because we have our first opportunity to partner with a natural hair brand out of Atlanta, Georgia. SHWAXX Laboratories and managing partner Kevin Rodgers brings a fresh, natural alternative to the men’s pomade market, which has been dominated by petroleum-based products. The key ingredient in SHWAXX is water, which unlike petroleum and mineral oils that clog pores, does not attract dust and dirt or require harsh detergents to remove (i.e shampoos with sulfates).
Kevin has an infectious enthusiasm about natural hair, barbering, and his product, SHWAXX Hydrate & Style. He has been in the hair industry for 30+ years, and brings an expert understanding of the science behind black hair.
Kevin has been cutting and caring for natural hair since he was a teenager, when his first clients were kids in his neighborhood. In college, he cut hair for the baseball and basketball teams at $3 a head.
After getting licensed, opening a barber shop, and running a small magazine, BARBERmatrix, he started exploring how he could better serve his customers during the shave process. He first created a shave bar in 2005, to soften the beard hairs in preparation for shaving. Even though he succeeded at creating a bar, he wasn’t successful with the packaging and distribution of the product. He put the concept on hold for a few years.
After opening The Tilted Crown Barbershop in August of 2016, Kevin returned to the concept of a shave soap. But instead of saponifying the oils and butters, he emulsified them, trying to make a beard conditioner. The result was SHWAXX.
So how does it work? SHWAXX Hydrate & Style is designed to be like our natural sebum. Kevin describes it as “An oily substance that penetrates, coats, waterproofs and adds a natural luster to our hair.” It earns its name from the two main ingredients: Shea butter and Beeswax.
SHWAXX is composed of 50% water, combined with a unique blend of oils, butters and waxes that penetrates, softens and styles. “The hair strand is porous and filled with holes,” Kevin says. “The water penetrates the hair strand. Then, the oils and butters penetrate the core, moisturizing the strand. Finally, the butters and waxes coat the water and seal the outer shell.”
SHWAXX was originally directed at resistant, wiry, and coarse beard hair. But Kevin quickly realized it had even more potential. “If it worked for the beard, it would work on all hair types,” he says. Kevin designed SHWAXX as unisex. He specifically chose black and white neutral branding, and added essential oils that lent themselves to both sexes.
So, what makes SHWAXX stand out among its competition? For me, I appreciate the “all-in-one” quality. Personally, I spend approximately $12-15 per product on my hair, and I generally use three to four at a time (deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner, oil, and curl cream). At some point, cost becomes prohibitive, and I prefer fewer products to accomplish more. Also, it’s refreshing to find a product that crosses gender and texture. I love when my husband and I can share products even though our hair types are so different (coily and coarse vs. straight and fine).
When Kevin and I spoke on the phone, what really hooked me was when he started talking about his two daughters. They love their hair, and embrace the gamut of styles from natural to weaves and wigs. Kevin created SHWAXX for them. He wanted a natural and healthy hair product they could use and be proud of. That’s what it’s all about: loving your hair is about loving yourself.
For Kevin, SHWAXX is not just a business. It’s a lifestyle. He is committed to promoting healthier options to his clients and providing the best natural hair care he can. Give it a try, SHWAXX might be the perfect product for you.
ADDED BONUS: Are you located in the Atlanta, Georgia area? SHWAXX Natural Signature Barbershop provides professional barbering services to the Historic Westview area and all of metro Atlanta. You might be a new product guinea pig, but it will be worth it.