In a bid to find better ways to manage her hair, Ahalya and her husband, Mithun Chakkaravarthy G, who is also a curly-haired person, stumbled upon the Curly Girl method (also known as the CG method).
CHENNAI: When it comes to haircare, Ahalya Kosal Ram’s story is one many curly-haired people in India can relate to. While in the US, Ahalya took to straightening her wavy hair, twice a week, every week for three years. But things changed in 2014 after the birth of her first child, when she didn’t have the time or energy to straighten her hair and was also starting to see the damage heat was causing.
In a bid to find better ways to manage her hair, Ahalya and her husband, Mithun Chakkaravarthy G, who is also a curly-haired person, stumbled upon the Curly Girl method (also known as the CG method). “It opened a whole new world for us. Growing up we’ve been doing exactly those things that we are not supposed to do like dry comb your hair, shampooing more often than required and not conditioning enough or not at all,” explains the 32-year-old, who lived for a decade in the US and then moved to Bengaluru last year with her husband.
While the method worked like magic for the couple, they soon realised that their curly-haired counterparts in India didn’t have the same access to an exclusive range of products meant for their hair type. Eventually, this gave way to Curl Up, a range of sulphate, paraben and silicone-free curl moisturising shampoo, a curl hydrating conditioner and curl defining leave-in cream, which would help Indian curlies with their CG journey.
“The Curly Girl movement began in the US in the early 2000s so they are a market that’s almost two decades ahead of us. Not only do they have a plethora of products available to cater to different curly hair types, the vast majority of people are also very aware about their curl patterns and how to care for them,” explains Chakkaravarthy, who is the CEO and co-founder of the company. Indians, on the other hand, are “painfully lacking when it comes to products catering specifically for our hair type and weather,” he says.
The idea behind Curl Up was conceptualised in 2015 and took three years of research before materialising as a brand in August in 2019. Both Ahalya and Chakkaravarthy then studied products in the US market to better understand their ingredients and performance, visited curly hair salons in the US and attended conferences to interact with various manufacturers, suppliers and other brand owners. And in order to understand needs of their Indian consumers better, the duo also reached out to hair bloggers here to get an idea of what they were looking for. “Once we had an idea of the products we wanted, we came back to India and dedicated ourselves to formulating the products that we had been looking for our whole lives,” shares Ahalya, co-founder and social media strategist.
The bootstrapped company offers products starting at `575. Though they deliver across India, Mumbai and Bengaluru have emerged as their top markets. The founders add that men with curly hair too face the same problems of dryness and frizz that women do. “About five per cent of our Instagram followers are men, who reach out to us and use our products. So things are definitely changing and it’s nice to be a part of that change,” shares Chakkaravarthy. For details, visit: letscurlup.com/