Shout Out: Dr. Ena Hennegan, who helped launch 'Many Ethnicities' hair care products
As a mother of three daughters, Dr. Ena Hennegan, who practices in Arlington Heights, knows personally the tangled mess of hair care.
After all, her hair and her daughters' hair are all different, she said. Because of this, Hennegan helped start Three Daughters of the Doctor LLC, which makes a line of hair care products designed to accommodate the needs of people with multiracial backgrounds.
Using ingredients such as hydrolyzed pea protein, vitamin B-5, avocado, sweet almond oils and shea butter, Hennegan partnered with cosmetic chemists to launch "Many Ethnicities" shampoos and conditioners for adults and children.
Pioneer Press caught up with Hennegan, 48, of Cary, who has operated a family practice near Northwest Community Hospital for 15 years, to find out more about her new business.
Q: How did the business get started?
A: I'm mixed, multiracial. My father was African American and my mother was white, and there were no options for mothers like her dealing with a completely different hair type. When I became a mother of three daughters, we started to have challenges there, too. One night four years ago, my husband, Chris, wandered into the bathroom when I was helping the girls with their hair, and looked around and said, "We've got a problem here." And I agreed. We had 70 bottles of shampoo and styling products littering the bathroom. There wasn't just one good product that was working well that was designed for us. ... After having some conversations with a friend in cosmetic chemistry, it got me thinking, "Why don't we make our own line." It should be done with the multi-ethnic knowledge to make a really good product with more naturally derived ingredients that are gentle on the hair and offer performance.
Q: What type of performance are you seeking with your hair product line?
A: Most people who are multiracial tend to have curly hair, but I also have a daughter with straight hair, and they don't have a whole lot of natural moisture because their hair is kinkier, tougher and coarse. You need good moisturization. Being multi-ethnic makes for more unique hair textures. All three of my daughters have fairly different textures of hair – one like mine with a looser curl, another with kinkier curls and my daughter with straight hair has a dry scalp that is so sensitive to different products. ... Our products use lactylates that are gentler in cleansing the hair without stripping it. They get your hair clean because they're plant based, very gentle and work.
A: I want to see our products do well. We're getting great reviews on social media and from mommy bloggers. We want to create more products that address other hair needs like a detangler, an edge gel if you want to slick your hair into a ponytail or bun, and a clarifying shampoo. We want to keep the company growing because we're the largest growing population in the United States right now and there's not a lot of products geared toward us.
Shout Out is a weekly feature in which we introduce our readers to their fellow community members and local visitors throughout suburban Chicago.
- Elizabeth Owens-Schiele is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.
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