Creating sunkissed beach curls can be a serious problem, amirite? Either the texture is off, your hair is too crunchy or your left with hair that’s weighed down from your heavy moose. Olivia Loy, founder of Curlifornia, decided to fix just that.
Radiant Roots spoke with Olivia Loy about her struggle with the perfect curls, Curlifornia’s secret ingredient and the hair treatments impact on cystic fibrosis. To listen to the full podcast, view the link below.
Why did you create Curlifornia?
Every time I used a leave-in conditioner, it would really weigh down my hair. I also realized that a lot of people want that beach wave look similar to when you go swim in the ocean and you come out with a textured volumized look. You can use sea salt spray but sea salt is really drying to the hair. I took it upon myself as a personal quest to try to create a product that is all in one. I wanted something that you can put in your hair as a leave-in conditioner to make it soft but yet also give it texture and volume. I worked with a team of chemists and we discovered that sugar has the same effect as salt but it’s a lot more moisturizing. So there is no sea salt in the beach hair treatment curl. It truly is an all in one hair treatment.
A lot of people ask me if they can use the treatment if they don’t go to the beach. But you don’t have to use it after going to the beach. It’s really a treatment and anyone can use it. My first customer was from Texas and they loved it so it’s truly a product that everyone and anyone can use in the world.
What made you want to use only natural products?
We spend so much time and money on our hair. If you color or go for a haircut it’s expensive and you want to be able to keep that color and you also want to be able to keep the shine and health in your hair. Anything that you put on your body, since your skin is the largest organ, your body just absorbs it. You have to be mindful of the products that you put on your scalp, hair and skin. That is the reason why I wanted Curlifornia to be as natural as possible.
What was your process to figure out which natural ingredients to use?
I’ve used a lot of hair products in my life and I’m sure a lot of women can attest to that as well. I just looked the ingredients on the bottles and I started a whole process of researching the ingredients that were hair products I already owned. I spoke to my personal hair stylist and I wanted to make aloe vera one of the main ingredients because aloe vera is very soothing for your skin. A lot of surfers use aloe vera when they have reef cuts and I’ve done that before when I’ve got cut by reef and we would break off an aloe plant and rub it all over our skin. So I knew from personal experience that aloe vera is soothing and included that in the treatment. Rice and oat protein in Curlifornia is for volume that’s why we put it in. Milk is for nourishment and moisturization. Sugar is filled with nutrients that aid in good health and rich in zinc and magnesium and sugar has a high moisture content as well. All the organic fruit and plant extract that you see on the ingredient list are all specially picked for Curlifornia because we wanted to keep it a tropical smell and theme.
I would love for Curlifornia to be a hair fragrance. But obviously hair fragrance would need to include a lot of alcohol in it but we don’t want to put any alcohol in there so there are a lot of high grade fragrance oils instead. We managed to put the fragrance in without any drying alcohol. The only preservatives in the product are food preservatives. The product itself is gluten free.
You can basically eat it! And you have the most volumized, beautiful hair I’ve ever seen!
Thank you! Our hair is such a big part of where we find confidence or beauty. I pretty much surf everyday and I do personally use it everyday and see a difference in my hair when I go on trips and forget to bring it.
What would customers do if they have straight hair?
Curlifornia has been used on all types of hair and my best friend has stick straight hair. Although her hair is very glossy and it doesn’t tangle, it tends to be on the flatter side and for her Curlifornia has added a lot of volume. I think the key for how she uses it and for straight haired friends is less is more. You can still put it on your hair and massage it in, but don’t put too much. The more product they put in their hair, the more their hair is weighed down. She uses it after she washes and conditions her hair and her hair is damp. Does it give you ringlet curls when you have stick straight hair? No. But what it does is that it gives you a lot of volume and slight wavy texture.
What’s the difference between the male and female products?
When I first set out to create a hair product, I had only women in mind. My boyfriend and I went surfing and he said he wanted to try the product too. It was when I first got my sample and I said, “Oh it’s not for boys.” And as I was putting it on him, I said, “Wow, this smells really sexy!” We went into Starbucks and I watched his naturally blonde hair dry. Especially in blonde hair, Curlifornia brings out the blonde highlights. I saw his highlights being brought out and then I saw volume. That’s when I knew I had to create Curlifornia for men. He loved the smell and that’s the reason why we created Hairswell. The bottle is labeled with a big Japanese wave which pays homage to the surf culture because that’s really what inspired it all and a lot of the men that we got feedback from really loved it but didn’t want to carry around a pink bow. I basically repackaged it and labeled it Hairswell for the men.
The feedback I’ve been getting from men is that it really gives them volume and shine and smells really good. Men with gray hair say it hides their gray because there is a healthy sheen it gives to their hair and they like the smell. Some say they don’t even use their cologne anymore because it has a nice, sweet, refreshing scent.
I had one man who had psoriasis and came back to me and told me he needed to be careful on what he puts on his body and since Curlifornia is all natural, he was able to put it in his hair.
Have you had any setbacks since starting Curlifornia?
I personally come from a background of family business. So business has always been in my blood. I’ve been privileged because my brother started a premium kitchen company. I saw the process and lessons that he learned and I put it into Curlifornia. Of course you’re going to get some setbacks. Curlifornia was actually supposed to be called California Curl. It was a name that my brother inspired me to use. I never started a business and I did all the packaging and logos myself which I was really excited for. After all the money I spent packaging under California Curl I soon got a call asking if I registered my company and I thought, “Oh my goodness, I didn’t.” That’s when I did a name search and I found that California Curl was taken! I remember feeling so gutted because I was in Bali doing photoshoots and it felt like someone punched you in the gut and makes you do it again because as you know yourself, your name is what you identify with. When I couldn’t use California Curl, I felt a huge loss but then it was a blessing in disguise because it seems like a lot of people like Curlifornia a lot more and it’s just one word. I guess what I’m trying to say is for a lot of entrepreneurs to not give up and to truly believe in yourself and have to know what you stand for at the end of the day because there is going to be so many people with so many opinions. I remember when I had two versions of what the logo should be, I asked 10 friends and it was split 50/50 and at the end of the day you have to know and be confident to make the decision yourself. It’s very important to ask for advice but really to know what you stand for. It is a product that’s going to be a representation of yourself.
How does Curlifornia give back to Cystic Fibrosis?
I personally didn’t know anything about cystic fibrosis because growing up with an Asian background, it’s not very well known about. But my boyfriend has had cystic fibrosis and he has had it since he was born. It’s a genetic disease. I saw his struggles everyday trying to conquer that disease and it has inspired me to help the cystic fibrosis foundation as there is no cure for it right now. Most people with cystic fibrosis don’t live it long enough for them to even do testings. Innovation and health science is getting better everyday so there is hope and I wanted to be part of the cure. The families that suffer from it all over the world. Josh, my boyfriend, is such an inspiring person. He had his lung transplant at 11 years old and he’s 17 years into it now and he’s one of the longest living double lung receivers in the world. He surfs everyday and owns a surf school and he coaches kids who compete and inspires them in that way not just in but outside the water as well. We donate one dollar from every bottle bought to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Thank you, Olivia, for your partnership with Radiant Roots! Make sure to check out and purchase her products here.