About Design Essentials

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About Design Essentials: Our Beginnings

Cornell McBride, Sr., CEO and President of MRL, began his career in the health and beauty aids industry in 1973 when he and fellow classmate Therman McKenzie founded M&M Products Company. Their first revolutionary product Sta-Sof-Fro was the first softening product developed for African-American men’s hair, making it manageable and easy to comb. Due to its success, M&M Products Company was able to introduce other brands that became internationally known. By the mid-80s, M&M Products had revenues in excess of $40 million dollars and four national brands: Sta-Sof-Fro, Sof-N-Free, Moxie, and Curly Perm. In 1989 Cornell McBride and his partner sold M&M Products Company to Johnson Products.

Our History

The Design Essentials hair care system was launched in 1990. Cornell McBride envisioned a program that combined direct distribution of premium, quality hair care solutions with the education and knowledge to effectively use them in the salon and at home. This premise inspired the collection which now includes the Therapeutics Rx, Wave by Design and Colaura brands. Our products are engineered to infuse hair with a natural balance of vitamins and protein that promote movement and manageability. We also offer educational literature and sponsor events aimed at improving knowledge of how our products can assist in designing a healthy hair care system just for you. Today, MRL offers more than 40 premium beautification products sold to our discerning international clientele through our e-commerce website and direct-to-hair salons network of independent, exclusive distributors in the United States, Caribbean and the United Kingdom.

Our Philosophy

Design Essentials offers a strong commitment to improving the look and feel of your hair by providing healthy hair styling products that address and satisfy your specific hair needs. We are your partner in style, and like a partner our products are designed to work with you to achieve styling success. We understand that there are a myriad of hair types by nature and that hair care is a very personal and emotional experience. Our brands provide you with effective, professional-quality products that you can depend on to cleanse, condition, nourish, revitalize and restore your hair to its natural beauty.