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How clean haircare brand From Duella is advancing the natural hair movement in Australia

WORDS BY SABINA MCKENNA

“It’s a very real issue that women of colour don’t have enough available to them or, if it is available, it’s not easy to get.”

Maryssca Dugasse wanted to change the conversation surrounding curls this year when she launched From Duella, a brand that currently offers a line of seven haircare products designed to celebrate textured hair with nourishing active ingredients.

Growing up between Perth and New Zealand, where her mother operated a hair salon, Maryssca was surrounded by the world of hairdressing, but never saw examples that involved natural hair textures. At 18 she realised she didn’t know her own hair type and decided to start wearing it naturally.


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Embarking on her ‘natural hair’ journey led her to discover something she was truly passionate about.

“I wanted to challenge what people were thinking of as normal and help them understand that there are different types of beauty”, shared Maryssca. “I think when you’ve had your hair relaxed your whole life, you’re hard-wired to believe that is the only way to be accepted. I really had to force myself to wear it out and be okay with it.”

Confronted by how hard it was to accept her own hair, she realised that there needed to be a huge shift in beauty standards and wanted to pioneer that herself. She had always struggled to find the right products, even when they were marketed to her hair type, and began trialling everything on the shelves to find out which ingredients worked and which didn’t.

Developing the formulas for From Duella, she carried on this tradition testing them on her own hair at home, and then consulting with the lab for micro testing and research.

After two years of development, she learned infinite amounts about textured hair: “Things like porosity and curl type play a huge role in figuring out how to care for curls.”

Maryssca named the label after her younger sister Duella, who she admires because she thinks of hair in a much more straightforward way – for her, hair is just something that grows out of her head.

“My sister understands and knows her hair in a way that I didn’t at her age. She says my hair is like yours – like it’s nothing, it’s just her hair. It’s different for someone who’s had their natural hair their whole life versus someone trying to break [through] all those insecurities and unlearn those things from a young age.”

“I didn’t have the chance to grow up with my natural hair – to understand and love it. That’s why I chose the tagline ‘Wear your curls with confidence’, because I want people to have the confidence to wear their hair out and not feel like there’s anything wrong or that it doesn’t make them pretty.”

From Duella products can be used “for all curl types and all situations”, as well as on the skin and body. The oils, butters, and aloe vera gel, in particular, have become multi-use favourites and Maryssca wants to focus on that aspect of the range in the future.

“A lot of people come back to me and say that they love how they can look at my ingredient list and know exactly everything that’s on there. That’s really important to me.”

 

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Though she has achieved her dream and has come leaps and bounds since first starting out, it wasn’t all easy going. Working alone allows freedom and control over the products and business, but it’s tough to juggle everything and it can be hard to remember to celebrate the successes along the way.

Being only 24, Maryssca also encountered doubt from people who questioned her likelihood of success at such a young age.

“Initially I spent a lot of time second-guessing myself and dealing with other people’s opinions”, she revealed. But, with years of her parents’ business as an example, she has both the skill-set and determination required to sustain a successful business.

“There’s something that needs to change now and that is my incentive – there’s no point waiting. I want to see a lot more natural hair going around.”

“It’s a very real issue that women of colour don’t have enough available to them or, if it is available, it’s not easy to get. Those beauty standards should be challenged and women of colour deserve to feel special and have all of the good things too.”

Want to know more about Maryssca’s work? Check out the From Duella range or follow her on Instagram here.

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