For Richelieu Dennis, founder of Sundial Brands, the company that makes SheaMoisture, business is a family affair. SheaMoisture is inspired by Dennis’s grandmother, Sofi Tucker, who made shea butter soaps to support her family in Sierra Leone after she became a widow at the age of 19. Dennis founded the brand with his his mother, Mary Dennis, and his former college roommate, Nyema Tubman, to address hair and skin needs he says had been “traditionally ignored by mass market beauty companies.” (The company addressed the issue of exclusion with a buzzy #BreakTheWalls campaign last year.) Shea butter sourced from Ghana plays a role in all of the products, and Dennis has also incorporated the recipes handed down by Tucker into the line. Grandma Sofi probably never imagined that her soap-making would lead to this kind of success, but we’re guessing SheaMoisture will be around for generations to come.

Star product: Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, an oil-rich styler great for smooth, defined twist-outs.



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