New Black-Owned Hair Care Line Carves Out Its Niche

49 Comments
July 28, 2010 ‐ By TheEditor

by Tarice L.S. Gray

When it comes to black hair care products, women of color are rarely faithful to one line. The dilemma can lead to overwhelmed bathroom cabinets for many women but also aid a vast open market market for hair care manufacturers.

That’s what Dr. Tashni-Ann Dubroy and Dr. Tiffani Bailey Lash are counting on. In December 2009 they launched Tea and Honey Blends, a new hair care line specifically for women of color. As chemists with an interest in cosmetology, they took a scientific approach to solving the commitment quandary and asked themselves before creating the products ‘what would make this the last hair care product I would ever buy?’

Their commitment to answering that question resulted in a line including shampoo, conditioner, leave-in conditioner and styling aids designed to address lingering problems related to African-American hair, like hair breakage and dry scalp.

Dr. Dubroy believes their ingenuity as chemists allowed them to create a specialized surfactant, which is a group of organic compounds fortified to offer the best results. “When we thought about all of the shampoos that were on the market, they were using surfactants that were really outdated so we came up with a secret surfactant blend that allows excellent cleansing properties.”

According to Dubroy and Lash, too many products on the market advertise remedies to issues including dandruff and split ends, but fail to deliver black women from their hair woes. That realization made it clear to Dubroy and Lash that there was a lot of potential within their market.

Last year Mintel, a market research company, released a report on market sales of black hair care products. According to their findings, sales in 2008 hovered around $165 million.  L’Oréal USA and Alberto Culver Company, the two largest corporations, cornered more than a third of market. But Mintel also reported, ethnic-specific marketer Namasté Laboratories had an 18.8% increase in sales in 2009.

That’s encouraging news for small, independent black hair care product companies  like Tea and Honey Blends. Dubroy, 29 and Lash, 30, want to appeal to the consumer in search of something new. Their target audience is made up of a younger clientele that wants to be educated about healthy hair care.

If she wasn’t the product developer, Lash would have been an ideal consumer. Launching the company was a dream come true for her. Since her early teens, Lash wanted to pursue a career in beauty. Her intention was to attend cosmetology school, but her parents persuaded her to pursue a four year degree. It was then that she entered the world of chemistry and started carving out a unique career path.  “I was speaking to my chairman [one day], and I said ‘I’m interested in being a cosmetic chemist’ and the first thing he said was ‘what is that?’.” Lash soon was able to answer that question.

Through aligning herself with like-minded individuals like Dubroy, she found the road that both women are hoping will lead to success. As a fledgling company, Drs. Dubroy and Lash are the only full-time employees. Their support staff is made up of mostly part-time volunteers who simply believe in the product and the women behind it. The cofounders, who graduated with doctorates in chemistry from North Carolina State University, invested around $50,000 in Tea and Honey Blends. They hope to see a return on their investment soon.

In the meantime, they remain focused on their mission of education and beauty as the perfect blend, according to Dubroy. “We are really focused on promoting young women in the sciences,” she said. “Women will be able to pick up information from our brand. We will be able to get a group of consumers who can be brand ambassadors.”

Tea and Honey blends is available online or in salons near its manufacturing base in North Carolina.

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  • Doug Bryant

    I am a woman of color trapped in a heavy white man's body. Can your product help me Dr. Tashni?

  • M.H. Pigott

    This is truly a great article. It is inspiring to see that we now have more options when it comes to black hair care. Tea & Honey Blends is what I've been waiting for!

  • http://sistersup.com Dee

    I'm sorry to say this is the first time I've heard of this line. It sounds like good stuff though. I wear my hair natural, and I am continuously frustrated with the products available to me.

    I'll be sure to try Tea and Honey Blends in the future.

  • Glenetta

    I am a hair product junkie! These products definitely fit the bill for me! The conditioner literally drenches my hair with moisture!! It is good to know that their are Black chemists behind these products who are looking out for the health of black women's hair!

  • Pingback: Black Chemists Create New Hair Care Line: “Tea And Honey Blends” | MyPraiseATL - Praise 102.5 Atlanta's Home for the Gospel Community()

  • http://www.strive2live/tumblr.com Dat D00d

    This was an some what interesting article but didn't share much too me. Didn't truly tell me what makes their product line so special or even different over others in the market other than it was created by two black female chemist.

  • Iris

    Excellent article! It is nice to hear about women of color promoting education in the sciences to our youth. As an educator, too often (even today) math and science are still promoted as male preferred courses. My own daughter just finished two courses of AP Calculus and although I could not help her:) I was happy she took these courses and was not intimidated by the rigor of the coursework. These ladies, with doctorate degrees in Chemistry, are wonderful role models.

    I first tried the Tea and Honey Blends line back in November, 2009. I wear my hair in natural styles and I am very pleased with "The Naturals Collection." The Curl Definer enhances the natural curls in my hair. I highly recommend the product line because of the quality of the products and the vision of the co-owners!

  • racquel Morgan

    I recently received Tea and Honey Blends a wedding gift. It is truly amazing. No going back to my old products. Can't wait for it to hit the shelves.

  • Cathy

    Hello.

    I am definitely interested in trying your products. I would also love to be a part of your marketing team.

  • D'Sheka

    I have been using the Tea and Honey Blends line now for about 6 months and I love it. It is so gentle on my hair and each product always does just what I need it to do, surely the benefit of having a product designed by two chemists with the same hair type as me! My favorite product is the Gleam. It is so light on my hair and I absolutely love the scent. Congratulations to Drs. DuBroy and Lash! Your passion is evident in your products. Keep doing what you do.

  • Sherane

    I absolutely LOVE the Tea and Honey Blends Tea Tree shampoo. I was suffering from dry itchy scalp for years and medicated shampoos only made my hair dry and caused breakage. The minute I tried Tea and Honey Blends shampoo I was hooked! My scalp is never dry and itchy anymore, it feels healthy and moisturized. My hair is in the best condition its been in years and I accredit that to my healthy scalp and Tea and Honey Blends Shampoo. I am also a big fan of the silk protein leavein conditioner, it serves as a great wrap lotion!

  • Melissa John

    I love Tea and Honey Blends. Since I have tried it, I havent used anything else. My 2 daughters and I use the shampoo and conditioner. I recommend the shampoo for that tingly feel and nurishing of your senses while your shampoo and a conditioner that leaves your hair soft, shiny, and manageable. Unlike most conditioners, I dont have to use a setting lotion anymore. Seriously, if you havent tried it, you are missing out. http://www.teaandhoneyblends.com Order yours today, you wont be disappointed.

  • Latisha Kearsley

    I am definitely one of the women that Tarice Gray speaks of in the article with "overwhelmed bathroom cabinets" filled with all sorts of hair care products. I have tried everything, which is why I can confidently say that Tea and Honey Blends is truly a unique line. The Tea Tree stimulating shampoo and nourishing conditioner proved to be a lot better than other products I've used in the past.

  • Victori

    I going out to support today. I am so delighted to know that some intelligent women took the time to get this done. I just went natural and was not sure of what way to go straight to Tea and Honey Blends it is.

  • Dr. Tamara Henderson

    I haven't tried Tea and Honey Blends yet, but I know that having both Dr. Lash and Dr. Dubroy, two African American Chemist, design the product its destined for success. They have the passion and drive needed to develop a product that will improve the quality of black hair. I wish them much success.

  • Ramona Grant

    I have been using Tea and Honey Blend’s Tea Tree Shampoo and I love the way it makes my hair and scalp feels. I also love the fact that it has a refreshing aroma and the price is very affordable. I will definitely be trying the other products and will also be recommending it as well.

  • S.Smith

    I firmly believe in Tea and Honey Blends being sucessful since there products cater to natural and relaxed hair.

  • john

    while its about time

  • http://GOogle Red

    ok it sounds like something worth trying, where is it sold?

    • Tea and Honey Blends

      Tea and Honey Blends products are sold on our website at http://www.teaandhoneyblends.com. (Nationwide availability)

      If you are in the NC area, you may pick up our products at:

      Tea and Honey Salon, 5475 Lumley Rd, Durham, NC (919-596-1796)

      Amor Cheveux, 8341 Bandford Way, Raleigh, NC (919-672-1229)

  • Superman

    My wife uses Tea & Honey Blends all the time and she loves it!!!! I use it to. Good stuff!!!!

  • Toni

    I'm so glad the word is getting out about Tea and Honey Blends. Not only is the story of the company inspirational (especially to women of color), but the products work too! I have natural hair, and their Curl Definer worked wonders on my two-strand twists!

  • Tynetta Dance

    I am so proud of you ladies. I am very particular about my hair and what I put in it and I support this line 100%. I'm transitioning from relaxed to natural hair and hands down this is the best product. I use the shampoo, conditioner, leave-in protein conditioner, gleam and sparkle. I'm very happy with each product. I too take my products with me to the salon. I thought that Mazani was the only product for me. I haven't touched it since I started using Tea and Honey Blends :). Thank you again ladies. You guys did a wonderful job with this line. I wish you the very best. I've also told all of my friends about it!!!

  • napoleon

    very nice article, I work with the ladies of tea and honey blends out of the DC area and we are also users of the products, my wife loves them, so it's an A from me…anything the wife loves is good in my book…

  • Skip

    Bravo! What a great model these entrepreneurs represent for our community and young women of all walks of life, particularly women of color. Ph.D's in Chemistry. Wow!!! It is time for us to embrace and celebrate our natural hair with products like this. I will definitely support Tea & Honey Blends. You go girls!!!

  • drew

    These women are definitely brilliant & beautiful. Nice to see them put all that into Tea & Honey to help other women be brilliant & beautiful!

  • Jennifer Hazlewood

    I believe in Tea and Honey Blends and the women who are behind it all. Before using the Hair Catalyst System (Tea Tree Shampoo, Tea Tree Conditioner and Protein Conditioning Spray) I was suffering from mild dry scalp and patchy breakage. Since I have used these products my scalp has healed, my hair is no longer breaking and a luster has returned to the hair that had been missing. My hair is very healthy and has grown considerably. The use of all natural ingredients is also a plus. I am so proud of Dr. Bailey-Lash and Dr. Dubroy and appreciate their mission to show young women they can be successful on the scientific and production side of the hair industry.

  • C.R. Hinson

    I have been using Tea and Honey Blends for a few months now, and it leaves my scalp clean, with no residue. The conditioner leaves my hair soft and manageable. I would recommend this product line to women with dry, itchy scalp!

  • Tanesha

    I think that their creation is unique and speaks to my hair dilemma. I suffer from dry scalp and have NEVER found an over the counter hair product that helps with this.

  • dst0054

    Great to see two professiona African American women following their dreams!

    • b.ross

      i agree!

      as soon as it hits the shelves here in greenville, sc i'll definitely support this line!

      and it is certainly inspiring to see two fellow women in the science field living out their dreams as i hope to do the same one day!

      continue to inspire and succeed, ladies!!! :D

  • Carrie

    I have been using Tea and Honey Blends for about 7 months. And I have been pleased with each product I have tried. Gleam provides a great shine without the build up. Sparkle gives my naturally curly/wavy hair excellent protection in humidity. Curl Enhancer allows me to "go natural" without weighing my hair down, while giving me a conditioning shine and eliminating frizz.

  • Danielle Andre Booke

    I truly beleive in this product. I have always had issues with dry scalp, and some breakage due to overtreatment with chemicals, like relaxers. I decided to stop using chemical relaxers on my hair in January of 2007, however, there are few products on the market that specialize in treating natural black hair. I shared Tea & Honey Blends with my stylists, who specializes in natural hair care, and it really adds a shine and luster to my hair that I couldn't find in other products. I wish Dr. Last and Dubroy nothing but continued success, and thank them for their focus of supplying products that black hair can thrive on!