Kellee Kendell turned a hair salon accident into the impetus for a beauty line.
Kellee Kendell was working in the healthcare industry when a traumatic experience at a hair salon ignited her passion for creating accessible, natural beauty products. The Buckhead resident launched ReKendell Hair & Body Systems about five years ago with the company’s signature product, Pure Hair Oil, a moisturizing blend of 12 oils based on an at-home treatment she used when her hair fell out due to the salon trauma.
Kendell has continued to expand her business. Last year, the beauty brand launched a men’s line with oil blends specifically designed for nourishing beards to prevent itching and flaking. It also began to produce a hand exfoliator and moisturizer to counter the dryness people were experiencing as a result of increased hand washing. A foot care line is currently in development as well. “Hopefully, God willing, it will launch in the summer. Our mantra is: ‘From the hair follicle to the nail cuticle, we’ve got you covered,’” says Kendell.
Tell us about the experience that led to the founding of ReKendell.
I went to a hairstylist who essentially gave me a [perm chemical] treatment that took all my hair out. It started coming out while I was in the salon. After I got home, it was going down the drain. I called him up and was pretty emotional. He was very apologetic; however, he did not offer any solution for it. It got progressively worse that day. I ran into an Aveda salon, and they were wonderful. The hairstylist gasped when she saw my hair. She said, “You may very well need to get to a dermatologist because your scalp has been burned. I’m going to need to shave you.” That was very traumatic for me. It was one thing if you cut your hair off yourself. It’s another thing when you lose it.
How did you discover a treatment to heal your hair and scalp?
A friend of mine has a [natural] solution for anything. She said, “Keep me on the phone and go to the health food store.” I started out with four oils: sunflower, avocado, wheat germ and extra virgin olive oil. I started using these oils and became obsessed with them. I started researching and studying oils and their properties. My hair was back; it was short, but there were no patches within seven weeks.
When you were designing your first product, what were you aiming for?
What I wanted to create was a [hair] product that was as pure as possible. I wanted it to be non-greasy and one that absorbed [into] the hair and did not sit on top. I gave it to anyone I could possibly give it to. My home became a lab. The results were phenomenal [for all hair types]. It creates body, fullness [and] overall healthy hair with no chemicals.
How has your late sister inspired this brand as well?
When my sister was going through chemo and radiation, her hair was so dry and brittle, and her skin was almost scaly. She felt discomfort and embarrassment. There is a need and a purpose for [products that help with severely damaged hair and dry skin.]
REKENDELL HAIR & BODY SYSTEMS
STORY: Jewel Wicker
PHOTO: Joann Vitelli
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