Mane Insights is a science-based hair and consumer analysis company that provides customers with personalized advice about hair care based on their individual needs. For each client, extensive background information is collected–specific grooming practices, treatments and processes that are known to dictate hair characteristics. Also, we provide an opportunity for physical hair analysis to discover specific hair quality and needs. Then, based on this information, tailored hair-care advice is given in report form based on the scientific information collected.
Founder Crystal Porter shared, “I got started with Mane Insights. My story is quite simple. I graduated with my doctorate degree in Chemistry from S&T at the beginning of the millennium and went to work for Unilever as a Senior Research Scientist. While there I was part of a measurement science group where I conducted aid-to-formulation research for the development of hair products and antiperspirants and deodorants. When the L’Oreal Institute for Ethnic Hair and Skin Research was created in 2001, I was naturally intrigued by the prospect of conducting research that was relevant to the needs of my people so I joined in 2002 as one of the 1st scientists who was hired to specifically study curly hair of African descent. I eventually headed up the Physics laboratory and designed consumer science studies to understand the biophysical impacts of products, the environment, and grooming practices on hair and pigmented skin within different ethnic populations and to learn about behaviors that are related to consumers’ experiences. I absolutely LOVED my job because I had the opportunity to travel the world to learn about the unique characteristics of hair as a function of country origin. Earlier this year I had to make the very difficult decision to leave the company after more than ten years because I have a young daughter who needed her mother to be home more so I accepted a part-time position at Chicago State University to help with their STEM initiatives.
When I arrived at Chicago State and women learned about my background, they oftentimes wanted me to provide them with advice based on my expertise. So, I started giving some advice after learning details about their grooming practices, habits, hair quality and their specific problems. Since all hair is not created equal due to environment, genetics, hair geometry, etc. it is important to consider these factors (and more) before knowing what should be recommended and I’m fortunate that my years of experience gives me the ability to use both hair science and product aesthetics to help others. I am proud to say that I have had a number of women to benefit from my recommendations. Since I still have a passion for research, Mane Insights is the perfect vehicle for me to continue to study hair while helping women to understand what their specific needs are. And I get to do it from the comforts of my home.”
About the founder:
Dr. Crystal Porter is a hair scientist who has over 13 years of experience studying hair of people from all over the world. She spent the majority of her career at L’Oreal, USA where she managed the Physics Laboratory and Consumer Insights teams to study the biophysical characteristics of hair and pigmented skin within different ethnic groups and to understand behaviors that are related to consumers’ experiences. During the past ten years, she has shared knowledge that she obtains about ethnic hair to fellow scientists and the public at national and international venues. She has also contributed to L’Oreal’s global classification of curl in hair and has authored numerous papers, presentations and book chapters on hair straightening and ethnic hair. Her research on hair from people of African descent has been quoted in leading reference materials within the areas of dermatology and cosmetic science.
The understanding came when, under the auspices of the magazine, I visited a salon in Brooklyn dedicated to natural, curly hair . They can work with people of any ethnic background, but most of their clientele are black women. Going to Miss Jessie’s Salon opened my eyes to just how many black women out there are dealing with hair similar to mine and fighting against the same kind of indoctrination I did. The women who own the salon are doing something – Dare I say it? Dare! Dare! – radical. They’re telling women with kinks and curls that their hair can be beautiful and natural and easy to maintain.