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The power of Black beauty lies in recognizing its leaders. This Black History Month, we’re celebrating the excellence of Black game-changers at Aveda. Whether it’s developing high-performance hair care for natural Black hair or practicing radical self-love, these individuals are using their influence to shape the beauty industry. We’re sharing how they do it all, while balancing their professional and personal passions.
ASHA HARRIS, THE BEAUTY EXECUTIVE AND NEW MOM
Asha holds two vital roles, Executive Director of Global Product Marketing at Aveda and New Mom. Asha has proudly championed the Black community through her role at Aveda. “I make it my mission to ensure that our product needs are being met and that we are represented,” Asha says.
Her favorite products include nutriplenish™ shampoo and conditioner deep moisture for weekly cleansing and conditioning. For her nighttime ritual, she loves to apply the nutriplenish™ multi-use hair oil from mid lengths to ends of hair. “Then I wrap my hair in a silk hair wrap or sleep on a silk pillowcase to keep the natural oils in,” she tells us.
“Black women are trendsetters and entrepreneurs in the industry and haven’t always been given credit for all that we’ve contributed,” Asha explains. “I love working with our creative team to make sure that the models’ hair is styled correctly and that it truly represents the full depth and richness of Black women.”
Asha tells us that as a new working mom it’s not always easy to find balance. “I really look at my calendar and try to make sure that I don’t always have early and late calls multiple times a week. This ensures I’m getting that time with my son.”
CHRISTINE HALL, THE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT LEADER
Christine Hall uses her keen understanding of the science of hair to expand product formulations for natural Black hair. What are her proudest contributions for expanding development for Black women? The Vice President of Research and Development explains that the nutriplenish™ and botanical repair™ lines top her list.
“For nutriplenish™, we really started with a commitment to meet the needs of all hair types and textures. We expanded our testing across a wide range of panelists so we’d get feedback from every hair type and texture. We carried on in this way for botanical repair™ as well,” Christine says.
TENI NAGEL, THE HARDWORKING SELF-CARE EXPERT
Life during COVID and her role as Finance Manager has afforded Teni a new approach to self-care as a Black woman.
“Self-care now includes protecting my mental and emotional space,” she tells us. “It means engaging in meaningful conversation and not performative suppositions. And finally, it means seeking moments of peace and gratitude wherever possible.” Teni says her favorite self-care ritual comes on wash day with nutriplenish™. Her 2-year old son teaches her there’s much to be grateful for if we choose to recognize it.
RENÉE GADAR, GLOBAL ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF TEXTURE
As a Black leader on the Aveda Texture Team, Renée knows the ins and outs of textured hair. She’s also learned that you don’t have to compromise product performance with vegan standards for Black hair. “I find that plant-based products perform better for textured hair,” she says. “We want high-performance products, but we want products that won’t break down the hair.”
“For example, the vegan botanical repair™ masque is high-performing and I feel consciously good about using it,” Renée tells us. “Sometimes I used products that had different things in them because I felt like those performed better, but I sacrificed the things I’m conscious about. I sacrifice nothing here, and I get high performance.”
NAOMI DOVE, TEXTURE TEAM ARTIST
Naomi has embarked on an inspiring journey of self-love since she began at Aveda. “I would always ask ‘How am I supposed to live? How am I supposed to be happy?’, and Aveda taught me it comes from the heart,” Naomi says. “Aveda’s philosophy and principles are all on heart and your well-being. Aveda gives you all the things you need to love yourself, care for yourself and the world.”
Naomi champions self-love for Black women. How does she practice it daily? “You have a choice every day when you wake up: am I going to be happy or mad? No one wants to start off their day off mad,” she explains. “Small things, like words of affirmation that I speak to myself, the energy I give to my kids in the morning—these rituals make the difference in a good, great or bad day.”
Head to @aveda on Instagram* to meet other incredible Black leaders who are sharing their personal and professional journeys in beauty and beyond.
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