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A Behind-the-Scenes 411 on How Hair Products Are Made, and Join Us for a Twitter Chat!

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Nick Chavez’s director of product development, Erin Doyle, tells us how she creates the brand’s blockbuster lineup.

It’s not every day that we get to chat with the great minds behind a product that we love. That’s why we were so excited to sit down with Erin Doyle, the director of product development at haircare line Nick Chavez. She gave us the insider deets on how the brand discovers innovative ingredients like their super-moisturizing star player yucca root, the time it takes for an idea to become a product in stores, and the new hair-saving extract that’s being added to their lineup.

What’s even better? You have a chance to ask Erin any of your own burning questions about hair and anything product related in a Twitter chat today from 4-5pm ET! Curious about the best products to use for oily roots and dry ends? What do those exotic ingredients really do for your hair? Tweet your questions by tagging #AskNick and don’t forget to follow @Birchbox and @NickChavezBH. And just by participating you’ll have one of 10 chances to win your own set of Nick Chavez’s Advanced Volume Shampoo and Conditioner!

1. Walk me through the process of developing a new product from inspiration to the time it hits store shelves. What are the steps, and how long does it usually take?

It’s a few different things, sometimes problem/solution based on our customers needs, or we find a great extract or technology that we are excited about. I work closely with Nick and our chemists to refine the concept, adding additional specialty ingredients and extracts, and then we go from there with our testing.  It can sometimes be six months to a year before we finalize a formula, get it packaged and on the shelf for consumers to purchase.

2. The Nick Chavez line is known for using unique ingredients like yucca root. Where and how does the company source its raw materials, and what are some of your favorite ingredients?

Through the years, we’ve been very ingredient conscious and have incorporated the philosophy of ancient wisdom + modern technology in all of our products, which means bringing the best remedies from Nick’s Latino and American Indian background mixed with the most current technologies available today. We work closely with the chemists at our manufacturing facilities to keep us abreast of new ingredients and technologies. I also research extracts and different ingredients that are indigenous to Nick’s background of the southwest and that incorporate our philosophy. We recently came out with a new Advanced Volume line which features Hyaluronic Acid, it’s the moisturizing ingredient typically found in skincare products to help reverse the signs of aging. We’ve found that it delivers the same rejuvenating and nourishing benefits to the hair. We always strive to be cutting edge in our development of products.

3. What are some recent innovations in the hair care industry that you’re excited about?

I’m excited about a particular ingredient that we actually discovered, called Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis Velutina). It has never been used or commercialized in a hair care product, until now. The historical aspect of the Velvet Mesquite tree was its use against hair loss. We are initially using this ingredient in a hair and skin oil that will be coming out later this year and we will most likely branch out into different products using this same Velvet Mesquite ingredient.

4. What’s your career trajectory? How did you find your way to the beauty industry, and what led you to product development?

I started working in the industry about 20 years ago for a hair and skin care manufacturer, I was a production planner. I worked my way up, which is where I met Nick Chavez; he was one of our customers. I left the industry briefly, but came back when I was offered the Product Development job with Nick, and I’ve been in this position since 2001.

5. What are the guidelines that women should follow when selecting haircare products? How do you know when a product is right for you? 

I think first and foremost she should determine the condition of her hair and what is needed. Most women color treat their hair, so you want to make sure you purchase products with moisturizing benefits. You don’t want a product that is going to weigh down your hair or strip your color. I like experimenting with different products to see what works best. Everyone is different and everyone’s hair needs are different.  Experimenting and finding the best solution for what your hair needs is the way to go.

Dying to know more about the brand and their products? Here’s the lowdown on Nick Chavez.

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