Q&A with Freewell Hair Care

As people opt for more eco-friendly hair products, the hunt for sustainable hair care is on.

By Amanda Sierra – June 1, 2023
Photo Courtesy of Freewell

Everyone wants their hair to look, and feel, amazing, but at what cost? Oftentimes, non-eco friendly hair care products can remove the scalp’s protective layers over time. We got the chance to interview Shandi Nichelle, the owner and founder of Freewell. Freewell is a company made for functional hair care, for active people.

AFM: I’d love to know a little bit more about you, and what initially inspired you to create Freewell?

Shandi: I’ve been a hairstylist for almost 20 years, and I have a huge clientele of people, especially women, who are very busy, active people. I myself fall into that category. One of the things that I hear from most women is, “I want to work out, but my hair routine is so thrown off by working out all the time.” It became my mission to make a product that helped propel humans forward versus hold them back. We’ve started off with Power Gloss, a deep conditioning treatment, which is usually used in the shower and soaked for 15 minutes. Power Gloss can replace up to seven products and can be applied on dry, dirty hair.  The treatment helps stimulate thickness, repairs your ends, it rebalances your scalp, protects, repairs and adds hydration.

AFM: How does Freewell aim to be a sustainable hair care brand?

Shandi: Freewheel aims to be sustainable in two ways. We want to replace as many products as possible at the highest possible value and quality. By eliminating seven products in your routine, it eliminates seven times the waste. The aluminum bottle that comes with the Power Gloss is going to be your refill, a bottle for life.

AFM: Is Freewell sold in any particular stores or is it just a strictly online thing? Are you hoping to expand more from that?

Shandi: Right now, we’re currently in our first round of investment. So we’re raising half a million dollars at the moment, and that will go through product development. In total, we’re at 22 locations in Austin. Most of them are fitness studios, yoga studios, or boutiques. We’re also sold online and on Amazon. Our goal is to be in every major fitness retailer or active retailer.

AFM: What would you say, makes Freewell different from any brand that you could just pick up off the shelf anywhere?

Shandi: We’re 100 % organic. We are a refill system, and are literally made for every person on the planet. No matter your hair texture, gender, race, or lifestyle. So, not only have we innovated how people can see things as being sustainable with a lifetime bottle, but have also given them a one-stop-shop product.

AFM: Do you have any client success stories that have stuck out to you?

Shandi: Totally. When I was developing power gloss, I was training for a triathlon. That’s what propelled me, because my hair felt awful. I started using the Power Gloss on my hair and I was like, “Man, if this can help people who swim all the time or rub on their hair in the sun, then this can be for anybody.” So while I was developing the product, I would go to my swim club and start handing the product out to the girls in the locker room. One of the women I had given it to, she said, “I don’t want to put that in my hair, I have highlights.” Little does she know that I’m a hairstylist and I know for a fact that you can do that. Well, this woman was a silver medal Olympic gymnast. I find out later that she’s a big customer of ours now. She found the Power Gloss at a swim store in Austin and buys it repeatedly now. For me, that was so cool that she found it on her own.

AFM: What would you say has been one of the better parts of your job so far?

Shandi: Freewheel was about me turning my life over and becoming a thriver, not just a survivor in my life. We donate 3 % of our sales to help survivors of human trafficking to get back on their feet. We’re not just innovating products, but also building up our community of people who’ve been enslaved and helping them to finally have a life of their own. The fact that we’ve given people just a little bit of a feeling that they’re taking care of themselves is huge. Whether you’re a brand new mom or Olympic athlete swimmer, Freewell is for everybody.


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