|Tracey Spruill’s skin malady turned into entrepreneurship opportunity|
|Eczema opened path to Aloe + Coal|
|Published Wednesday, September 18, 2019 1:44 pm|
|PHOTO | THIEN LA|
|Tracey Spruill is founder of ALOE + COAL By T. Spruill in response to her struggle to find quality products to treat her eczema.|
Hair is your crown.
Tracey Spruill created ALOE + COAL By T. Spruill in response to her struggle to find quality hair products that treated her eczema, without sacrificing the look and feel of her hair. The licensed cosmetologist’s FDA approved over-the-counter cosmetic drug helps treat dandruff, dry and itchy scalp, scalp inflammation, hair breakage and thinning hair. The products are available online, but an official launch on Sept. 21 will take place at a private event Uptown.
“For most people, their hair is their crown,” said Spruill, a Durham native and Charlotte resident. “It is their safety net. It impacts how they feel about themselves. When you are struggling with something that affects your hair and scalp, and you feel like you are doing everything right, but nothing is working for you, you begin to feel kind of alone, or excluded. It seriously affects your self-esteem, and that shows. Knowing that I could not confidently recommend a product on the market, I felt there had to be a better option, and I just started researching.”
Spruill’s condition runs along her hairline. Trips to the dermatologist often led to OTC recommendations she did not want to use due to their harshness.
“I like to think of [Aloe + Coal] as the step below a prescription but a step above other beauty brand products on the shelf that make claims to help fight against dandruff, eczema, dermatitis, etc. and are not made with FDA approved active ingredients,” Spruill said.
Spruill’s observation of family members, friends, and clients struggling with chronic skin conditions led her to create something for everyone.
“It addresses real hair health concerns, and we do that merging proven medicine with tried and true holistic healing,” she said.
She used the example of someone preparing to give an important presentation in a board room.
“If you are dressed for success, the last thing that you should be worrying about is if dandruff flakes are on your suit jacket, or that you are constantly scratching at your itchy scalp, while trying to present,” Spruill said.
Her personal experience also played a role in establishing Aloe + Coal.
“My eczema appears across my hairline, which results in a fine rash of itchy bumps when it flares up,” Spruill said. “I’ve used the prescription shampoos. I’ve used all of the over-the-counter shampoos and conditioners that are on the market today, and they all leave my hair feeling dry. Some of the OTCs that I’ve used have made the flare up even more intense.”
Spruill studied accounting at North Carolina A&T State University, but went on to earn her cosmetology license from Aveda Institute in Chapel Hill.
“Growing up with parents who both attended college, their push was, ‘even if you want to get your cosmetology license, that’s fine, but first you are going to go to college,’” Spruill said. “They know that foundation would be something I could fall back on.”
Throughout undergrad at A&T, her passion for hair remained.
“I did hair for various ladies on campus,” Spruill said.
She attributes her salon experience with her twin sister, Stacey, as a contributing factor to her passion for hair.
“Just being immersed in the salon with my twin sister, going to get our hair done—hair has been a part of me since a very early age,” Spruill said.
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