In 2014, Mielle Organics was born in the kitchen of Monique Rodriguez. Trying to mend her own then color and heat-damaged hair, the numerous attempts of trial and error eventually resulted in victory, growing into a brand with countless SKUs and countless success stories. Now, the 7-year-old curly girl go-to has released yet another success story: a collection marked by two powerhouse ingredients—aloe and rice water.
“We always use high quality ingredients with any of our formulations,” Rodriguez tells ESSENCE. “And this line is directed towards protective styles. We’re going into protective style season and we have to make sure that we’re still maintaining and protecting our hair underneath.” The idea came about, of course, from Rodriguez’s own experience. “I noticed my first time getting braids last year that my scalp was itching around like the second week. I was wishing I had something to just relieve the issues myself. That was the inspiration behind the Aloe and Rice Water Collection.”
Rodriguez shares that the collection provides relief for any protective style you can think of: box braids, twists, weaves, you name it. “The thing with this collection is it’s great at relieving the tension on the scalp,” she shares. Adding that the brand has managed to take the difficulty of accessing rice water out of the equation. “I was seeing a lot people making rice water concoctions at home so me, being a DIY person myself, I tried it. The first thing I noticed was that the smell was horrible, but I started using it on my hair and I used it for over the course of like three months. I saw great benefits and started playing around with it with friends, my staff, and everyone loved how it performed on their hair.”
The issue remained however, the smell. “I had to figure out how to extract the great and ingredients and performance, so when I went to the lab and formulated to a lot of different iterations of creating this collection until we finally got it right. It’s been a hit on the market since, but it was a tedious process.” And of course after all that time and science, it was only right that it was a fit for all curl types. “It’s for every texture,” Rodriguez says. “The focus is on growth and retention, anyone can use it.”
The collection is just one step towards a greater expansion of the brand, which Monique leads with her husband, COO Melvin Rodriguez. “We’re really focusing on venturing into new markets,” Monique says. “We’re excited about constant innovation that meets the needs of our consumer. She’s very vocal, and if you pay attention to her, she’ll tell you what she wants. We also want to target consumers that may have not heard of us.” One of those first steps is through enlisting A-list brand ambassadors like Saweetie.
“She’s the perfect selection because she’s going on her natural hair journey,”Monique says. “If you go back to her social media a couple of months back, she made a post asking Black-owned brands to work with her on her natural hair journey. The response was overwhelming of how many people tagged Mielle. It all worked out perfectly.”
Shop the Rice Water & Aloe Collection ahead.