Student creates natural hair care line

UNC-Charlotte senior Ashleigh Thornton created the hair care line, NoireNaturals.

Courtesy of Ashleigh Thornton
Though she has yet to graduate from college, Ashleigh Thornton already has a promising career as a beauty entrepreneur.
A senior at UNC-Charlotte, Thornton has received quite a bit of buzz recently, not to mention a distribution deal with a major beauty company, for her hair care line, NoireNaturals. In November, she was featured in Seventeen magazine as a winner of their “Make Your Own Money” competition, and High Point-based African-American hair care giant Dudley Beauty Corp. has begun manufacturing NoireNaturals products.
Like many African-American women, Thornton straightened her hair with chemical relaxers. But after years of treatment, she began to notice the damaging effects of the harsh chemicals.
“I decided that it was time for a change when I noticed my hair was becoming thin and constantly breaking,” she says.
After going natural, Thornton found the variety of products for untreated African-American hair lacking. She began experimenting with her own concoctions, using ingredients such as Shea butter and olive oil.
“I spent a total of two years developing NoireNaturals,” she says. “I did quite a bit of research on Google and saved money for all the initial funding to avoid bank loans and other debt.”
Developing a beauty line while still maintaining the rigors of college life can be daunting, but Thornton has found a way to make it work.
“Balancing schoolwork and business is definitely a challenge, but self-discipline and good time management have gotten me a long way,” she says.
For now, her products are only available on the NoireNaturals site (, but she has plans to expand to stores and salons soon.
“My ultimate goal is to grow NoireNaturals into a household name,” she says.
Get your style right
Local stylist Mary Michele Little of One Chic Mama wants to help local women look their best without spending a lot of money. She’s offering her “Learn How to Look Fabulous for Less” workshop Jan. 24. The two-hour session (6-8 p.m.) will cover a variety of techniques for dressing well on a budget. Admission is free, but due to limited space, reservations are required. To reserve a spot, email
Just the right size
Triangle shoppers have a new ally in the search for the perfect pair of jeans. Me-Ality, a free apparel sizing service, has recently set up shop in Cary Town Center and The Streets at Southpoint. Me-Ality stations help shoppers find the best clothing fit through a 10-second, fully clothed body scan. The scan records 200,000 data points and then compares body measurements to garment sizing specifications and prints a personalized shopping guide recommending styles and sizes that will fit the shopper’s body, along with a list of where to purchase the items. The Cary and Durham locations are in the preview phase, which means only pants measurements will be available, but full sizing services will be available in the future. To learn more about the service, visit


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