New Platform Remane Empowers People with Curly and Kinky Hair

When Ariel Lee—who co-founded Remane, a haircare journey platform specially dedicated to Afro-textured hair—was in college at the University of Texas, fellow students began coming to her to do their hair. “One girl was asking me to braid down her hair so she could slap a wig on it,” she tells us. “When she came to me her hair was so matted up. It was so weak because she had just done a relaxer on it. As I was detangling it, it was ripping and breaking off. I remember feeling her hair just dissipate between my fingers.” Lee warned the student that her hair may be calling for a much-needed break, but she was exasperated and didn’t listen. “She was like, ‘I don’t like my hair. I just want to put this wig on it and get over it,’” Lee continues.

The frustration and capitulation when it comes to hair is a sentiment many people with coarse or frizzy curls can can relate to, including Lee herself, who recalled the aforementioned exchange during a product management class at University of Texas in Austin, where she connected with co-founder with D’azhane Cook. Together, the two took the memory and transformed it into a business pitch that in March 2021 would launch as Remane. “That [memory] was one of the biggest reasons why we created Remane: to really help people with curly and kinky hair learn how to care for it and care for themselves, because haircare is self-care,” says Lee.

After spending two years consulting with over 500 people about their tresses, co-founders Cook and Lee created a platform that leverages their many insights to deliver specific guides and tips for particular hair types. In signing up for the site, users answer a short survey about their hair, and are then suggested products, step-by-step style guides, wash routines and other tools that match their exact concerns. As they test new things, participants can log their journeys and results on Remane, scheduling reminders or calendars to set up specific wash or condition days.

Ariel Lee (left) and D’azhane Cook (right)

Cook likens the platform to skincare apps that take a scientific, user-data approach to integrating a regimen. But unlike the ever-evolving skincare industry where new research and insight has made products increasingly fine-tuned or concern-specific, the world of haircare has remained largely opaque and impenetrable—especially for those who don’t have straight hair. Lee and Cook attribute this to a few factors: an abundance of product options, but a lack of knowledge about hair, and a lack of understanding about products as they relate to hair types and community, created largely by the stigma surrounding Black hair.

“There’s so much information out there, it’s really difficult for people to navigate. Whether in the YouTube or Pinterest space, a common question is, ‘Will this work for my hair?’ Well, in order for you to understand if something will work for your hair, you have to know your hair,” explains Lee. Not knowing which product among thousands is the right one can make many people feel confused, annoyed and defeated.

But understanding hair types is half the battle. Afterward, people still need to understand which products correspond to their texture. “When we were doing our user research, a lot of people were expressing that there were so many products out there marketed toward naturally kinky hair. They don’t understand, asking: Why should I choose this product?” continues Cook. “We spoke to a lot of dermatologists and trichologists, people who work with hair in a more scientific sphere, and they basically said there’s no data out there that you’re looking for.” Whereas a plethora of research can attest to why one ingredient improves one skin issue, the same research isn’t as available for studying Afro-textured hair. Remane is changing that.

“We’re looking to use our platform to gather hair information to work with scientists, to work with companies, and really figure out how we can contextualize this information,” says Cook. The data will not only fill this gap in research but, as Lee explains, will also equip people with the right knowledge and tools for their hair. “When a person comes into our system, in five minutes, we’re able to help them assess their hair and understand what type of hair they have. In building that hair profile, we give them a lot of agency and power over understanding what sort of products work best and also understanding what care tips.”

Going forward, the founders aim to also use the platform as a space for community, one that “is based off of sharing, but in a contextualized background,” specifies Lee. More than a guide to haircare, Remane is an innovative platform that merges science and compassion to empower an overlooked community.

Images courtesy of Remane