Organically Grown; Cypress Soleil Lee talks about running her own organic vegan hair care line.
Cypress Soleil is bringing every element of Black Girl Magic being an entrepreneur, college grad and naturalista. The products in her Cypress Soleil Naturals collection contain vegan, cruelty-free and organic ingredients. While Cypress has already accomplished so much, she still has goals to reach and barriers to break with her hair care line. Creating homemade herbal products quickly became her main hustle and her brand grew rapidly. Releasing Cypress Soleil Naturals in 2018, her chemical free advocacy is the driving force behind her hair care line.
With so many natural brands out there, women are constantly trying to find what works best for their hair type, what do you think will separate Cypress Soleil Naturals from the rest?
We live in a world where the idea of “good hair” has been tainted. People assume that “good hair” is based on curl type or the length of one’s hair, but I disagree completely. My definition of “good hair” is HEALTHY hair…well taken care of hair. The best way to obtain healthy hair is to properly care for it with natural products that not only benefit the consumer, but also cause minimal damage to the environment. It is important to be cautious of what you put in your hair and on your body because it all correlates to what goes into your body and back to the environment. With that being said, I believe my dedication to providing pure, natural, and real products with actual knowledge of the herbs and other ingredients will set me apart. I think being vegan for 10 years as well sets me apart because it’s about us as a people, the animals, and the environment. It’s not solely about the money for me. I want to help educate others.
How hard was it to find the right combination of ingredients for Cypress Soleil Naturals?
In the beginning, finding the perfect formula for my original products was a process because I wanted it to be perfect, but I just trusted myself. Trust and patience have been my best friends throughout this entire process and I am constantly learning and studying. I am currently enrolled in an herbal apprenticeship program to learn more about plants/herbal medicine which has taught me a lot more along the way.
When incorporating new ingredients or experimenting, what do you look for that will promote hair health and growth.
I do a ton of research before creating my formulas. I use my sisters and mom as my “testers” so that I can get real results from real people. I also read so many herbal books so that I can understand what’s best for certain hair and skin issues such as dandruff or eczema. I also use things that I have found help my hair grow such as nettles and black castor oil. It is important to note that your hair also has a lot to do with what you eat and take internally. Once I finish my herbalism program and am officially a certified herbalist, I will begin working on internal tinctures for hair growth and overall immune system healing.
With more women embracing their different hair textures and many curl patterns, do you think as your business develops, your products will ever gear towards the care for all different textures and curl patterns?
My business definitely already embraces all hair types and all textures. It all depends on what works best for your hair though. For example, my sisters and I have similar curl patterns and textures, but shea butter weighs my hair down while it helps my sisters curls be more defined. It’s all about testing out what works best for you and researching, but I cater to all hair types.
I’m sure you used what you learned as a Business major to successfully run your hair care line, How was the process of balancing school work and home life with starting a successful business?
I actually graduated in 2017 from American University and started my business officially in October 2018. I tried creating products in college, but I didn’t like the formulas the lab came up with, so I paused it. Fast forward to today, I create all the formulas and make them at home. I do not use any 3rd party manufacturer, it’s all done in my kitchen. It feels more personal and full of love and intentions that way. As for home life, I literally came home every week from college—I definitely did not get the normal college experience. I was over it and asked my mom could I drop out like every week. I even took a semester off to travel to India with my family for a month and somehow caught back up and graduated on time with honors.
Fun fact: I actually have a business degree along with a specialization in artist management, so maybe soon I’ll be getting interviewed by you all based on that aspect—it’s up to the universe.
Following your story, I read in another interview that you were vegan for over a decade, which is a long time, have you ever found it hard being committed to a vegan lifestyle? what drives your discipline?
Surprisingly, I haven’t found it to be difficult except for maybe the first year. That was the transition year for me where I wasn’t sure what to eat. When I became vegan I was in the 7th or 8th grade and the decision was my mom’s. I just went along with it and at that time not many people knew much about veganism. It was somewhat foreign to others and there were really no vegan restaurants, so it was hard but as I got older I did more research on my own and of course with the influence of my mom I kept up with it. Now a-days it’s easy to be vegan and be on the go. It is important to note that you can be vegan and still be unhealthy, so do your research and make sure you’re eating healthy foods not just vegan junk. It’s been about 11 years now and I feel amazing! I love being healthy, having energy, and being compassionate to myself, animals and the planet.
If you could collaborate with any celebrity who has expanded into the beauty industry who would it be?
I honestly don’t care too much about the celebrity world because that in itself is very hectic and many times superficial. I would much rather work with other small businesses that promote healthy hair, skin, and health and come together to bring awareness to the lack of REAL natural products in the beauty industry. Not just people looking to profit off of the idea of natural, organic, vegan products…but individuals who really live the lifestyle of “natural.” I want to work with other driven black entrepreneurs…especially women.
What are some store franchises you would want to carry your products?
I actually have my hair rinses in IWI Fresh Day Spa in downtown Atlanta and am working towards getting other products in a few other black owned businesses in Atlanta. Once I tackle that I will begin to expand.