10 African-American Entrepreneurs In The Black Hair Care Business

August 20, 2010  |  

by R. Asmerom

It’s no secret: the black hair care industry is big business. Very big business. According to marketing research company Mintel, sales of black hair care products in 2008 exceeded $165 million. Although a third of those sales went to corporate conglomerates like L’Oreal and Alberto Culver, who own many ethnic product lines from Soft-Sheen Carson to Mizani, there are still many independent African-American players in the hair product game. From old businesses like S-Curl manufacturer Luster Inc. to new product lines like Kimble Hair Care Systems, black entrepreneurs are thriving. Here, we included a list of 10 independently, black owned businesses that continue to fuel the ever-evolving market for black hair care products.

Miko and Titi Branch – Miss Jessie’s Original

Behind Miss Jessie’s hair products are founders  Miko and Titi Branch. The sisters launched their company out of a Brooklyn brownstone and it’s been uphill ever since. Their unique blends of puddings and cremes are primarily targeted to those gals looking to  enhance their curls and waves. These type of products were barely present on the market. The sisters realized this market opportunity by drawing from their challenges with their own hair and from their experiences with “hair recipes” learned from their paternal grandmother, Miss Jessie. The duo has wracked up many accolades for their savvy entrepreneurship and hair treatments. The sisters have also opened up a salon in New York city to cater to their curly haired fans.


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  • Beauty4life

    why i don’t see madame C J walker?

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    I’m a homeless vet who recieve products in small pouches to stay groomed. Do you offer products that can be donated to homeless programs or centers?

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  • christine evans

    I have ready to sew conrods to market, its a new product just in market fro africa, i have no idea have to sell or market, got any?

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      Email Me @ Molewis76@gmail.com SO We Can talk.

    • Mary Lou Warren

      i want to find out about your product @christine evans

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  • Linda Gearke

    Excellent article! I am a product development consultant in the personal care arena. I help entrepreneurs bring their product concept (hair care, skin care, bath and body, cosmetics, etc.,) to market quickly and cost effectively. I’ve been doing this for 17+ years. Contact me at linda@personalcaremarketing.com if I can be of assistance to you.

    • abbey

      Hello,Linda my name is abiodun Edward from west Africa,am a hair technician @ d moment…i will likemto send u a proposal on black hair products market in Nigeria……..plz kindly inbox me back on my email….abbeyedward@yahoo .com

    • Racheal Iamhealthy

      Look forward to contacting you soon on launching my new product line called I Am Hair Diva, Healthy Hair By Racheal products. Been working on this project since 2011.

  • What about Bizlink Management Software…the only Black Owned Software Development Company not only in Black Hair Care but in the Beauty Industry period….

  • grnmom

    CUSH Cosmetics is a new player in the market and is getting good reviews. They are all natural and organic.

  • Rikesha

    I also agree with Oyin Handmade. Love their hair and body products! However, with them being such a small company, I am not surprised they are not listed. I am surprised not to see mentioned McBride Laboratories named- makers of the Design Essentials Line and Sta Soft Fro from the 70's. And they are based out of Decatur, GA.

  • Another company left off the list is Oyin Handmade… Body, skin and hair care – by two young husband and wife entrepreneurs Pierre & Jamyla Bennu. There products are all natural and handmade – LITERALLY. Originally based in BK they are now a Baltimore, MD operation. www (dot) oyinhandmade (dot) com

  • Butterfly

    You forgot Jasmine Lawrence of EDEN Body Works! Started her NATURAL HAIR CARE business at the age of 13!

  • Curly Girl

    Another company from Atlanta playing an important role in the black hair market is Urbanbella, a black retail store focusing on only textured hair.
    Urbanbella is one of the only companies that teaches one of the most important aspects of all of this which is how to use all of these products Miss Jessie's, Jane Carter, Mixed Chicks, Darcy Botanical, Etc. They were the first (before Target to carry and recognize all of these products). Also, if you go to there store in Atlanta they give consultations (using the actual products on your hair to achieve the look wanted). This keeps you from having a closet full of products you can't use.

  • Jasmine

    Im really excited that they put the woman who created nouritress products up here. My hair used to shedd really bad and I started using Nouritress perfect hair vitimans about two years ago and my hair is thicker and longer then ever. Its amazing because I have tried so many other products that have not worked but this one really have worked.

    This is a really great product that I have recommended to so many of my friends and will continue to recommend them!

  • I agree with some of your picks but the methodology is missing and Luster & Dudley opened the door to Mixed Chicks and Miss Jessies because the internet, bloggers, celebrity endorsements and online outlets were not available when Luster & Dudley hit the scene.

    I do appreciate the gains that these black owned products have made but the true test is whether they endure like some of the pioneer products or sell to big corporations for the big pay day when their brands hits the apex.

  • Martha

    You guys are forgetting about Cocoa Butter Sisters by Chas Melecio. Atlanta based company who started the business when she saw a great opportunity to use her home remedies and years of creating her own line of lotions to develop a line of all natural haircare products for her family and friends. Her feedback was so positive that she decided to start Cocoa Butter Sisters. Her site is http://cocoabuttersisters.net – She may be a "small" company, but I love her products and felt she deserved a big shout out!

  • Shavon

    I went to Miss Jessies in May 2010 and was highly disappointed. I could've did my hair myself for better results and they charged me over $300. I felt stupid after seeing the end result. If you don't have long hair or extremely short hair please do not go to the salon for styling and just use the products at home on your own. It was the worse hair experience I've ever had and I would not recommend the salon to a friend or foe!!!!!!!!!!

  • Harold

    You focused principally on marketers of products, leaving out out some pioneering salon owners, such as Anu Prestonia of Khamit Kinks. She's had 30+ years in the business of natural hair care. Check out their website http://www.Khamitkinks.com

  • I have an idea for a product that caters to people with dredlocks and suffer from problems with visible lint that is almost impossible to wash out. Does anyone know how I can get my product manufactured or even sell the idea to an already established company. Nothing like it exists on the market.

    • Hi, I saw that you are interested in starting your own line of hair care products. I can definitely help you. My company is called the Concept>Engineers, INC. I work with startup to mid-size companies helping them develop and market personal care products from conceptualization to commercialization.

      I have worked in the ethnic hair care industry for over 10 years in marketing; working on global brands like Dark & Lovely, Optimum Care, Let's Jam! The brands that I have most recently worked with my clients to launch are SimplyHEALTHY Hair http://www.simplyhealthyhair.com and Entwine Naturalle Couture http://www.facebook.com/entwinecouture for the natural hair fashonista.

      You can check out my portfolio and if you would like to speak further feel free to give me a call 773.680.6382.

  • carlton

    There's also a new company with products geared towards ethnically diverse babies and children called CARA B Naturally. The company is owned by two African American sisters, Landra Booker Johnson and Kristi Booker. They are the first and only product line made for Black skin and hair care certified by the Natural Products Association. Their website is http://www.mycarab.com.

  • Deborah M

    UBH or Ultra Black Hair Growth is another great product line offered by Cathy Howse. She has been in the business for quite some time and her products do work.

  • Tonda

    I think we have to keep in mind that these are ONLY 10 featured, not a list of ALL those Blk Owned companies…..
    ALSO just a reminder that what works for some peoples hair won't work for others!….I have tried MANY products myself and my friends swear by them but they did not work well 4 me and my mane :-s..LAILA ALI has a new line of organic affordable hair care products that i look 4wd to trying myself–hope it works! lol

  • Bianca

    Crystal's Royal Secrets is an excellent New York based Black woman owned line. All of the products nourish the scalp with herbs and help encourage growth…


  • Jaime

    I love Ashley Lauren Natural Hair Care Products. This is the first line that I have tried that is truly all natural and pure. The products are amazing. I have tried many lines, Miss Jessies, Kinky Curly, Shea Moisture etc. I did receive initial curls, however, my scalp was full of garbage and my hair became hard.
    Save your money and check out Ashley Lauren Natural Products. These products are made by a African American chemist and esthetician who lost her hair to alopecia and developed a hair growth product for your hair.


  • Shakira

    I love Jane Carter's products (African American owned from New Jersey) for my natural hair ! You must try the "Nourish & Shine"!

  • Denyse Jones

    Kinky Curly is the best product for my natural hair , it's half the price of Miss Jessies and it enhances my shine and elongates my curls for 4 days . My hair is also growing faster than ever.

  • GG

    Another product that I use for my daughters hair is called Blended Beauty. Not sure if this is African American owned though.

  • Great article. Forgot about Kinky-Curly though.

    • Trocko

      I agree! Kinky curly is awesome! Also kudos because it is all natural. I recently tried Shea Moisture and really liked it! Miss Jessie's uses pretty cheap ingredients (ie mineral oil, etc) for it to be so expensive and I wasn't impressed with the results at all. I am also looking to try Karen's body beuatiful as I have heard great things about that as well.

  • Keep an eye out for New Options, the natural haircare line

  • Y. Ferby

    What about Hydrothermal Naturals products? They are based in Georgia

    • I agree Hydrtherma Naturals is the truth! The Daily Growth Lotion is the best smelling hair product I've ever used (I'm talking Vanilla Frosting scent y'all) :-).

  • BARDA Hair Braiding College tm is a supporter of all natural hair care products. As we gain knowledge of great products we definately promote awareness to our students. BARDA is the number one hair braiding course provider in the state of Florida, and we offer over 70 technique courses in hair braiding, natural hair and hair extensions to a world wide audience @www.bardaintl.com. In the state of Georgia we offer the Continuing Education required 5 hr coursework for Master Cosmetologist, Estheticians, Nail Techs and Hair Designers. Call today for more information. 877-272-3136

  • Bopa

    The picture of the products next to Ursala Dudley is in error. Mizani is owned by L'oreal and as we all know they're not a black owned company.

    • Nope

      No that's correct that is Ursula Dudley, Mr. Dudley's daughter and the Dudley Product line, that is NOT MIZANI products in the picture. And Dudley's is a black own company

  • crystal

    Miss Jessies is not worht the money. I have naturally curly hair and this product does not enhance curls the way they proclaim. Their website boasts of beautiful curls but they fail to disclose that their clients hair has been chemically treated with texturizers. Don't waste your money!!

  • AnnKim

    I have tried a lot of these products i love Mixed Chicks products and Miss Jessies's not Miss Jessies is a little pricey. Another great product is Curls also found at Target. Kudos to Target for selling a lot of these products.

  • Great story.

  • john

    great job my sisters i will also support you.

  • john

    this is great keep up the good work my sisters

  • wendy

    this is exhausting. you have to click 10 pages to read 1 stupid article. i'm done

  • N Thom

    You forgot another company called "Shea Moisture." It is owned by two African-American men and they sell the line at selected Target stores. I've tried most of the products in your article and Shea Moisture is one of the best.

    • Naomi

      What about Vonte?

    • n_satiable

      I agree with N Thom — Shea Moisture products are wonderful (in particular the Curl Milk and Curl Smoothie)…and they are reasonably priced ($10 each at Target).

      I realize that smaller companies have to charge more than companies who can sell in bulk, but $38 for 16 ounces of Miss Jessie's is a bit ridiculous unless it's going to make you look like a curly-haired Rapunzel when you use it.

      • jerzie gurl

        n_satiable – "Miss Jessie’s is a bit ridiculous unless it’s going to make you look like a curly-haired Rapunzel when you use it."

        Lol Too Funny but true , Im more likely to buy" african american " products if they are affordable

    • TJ

      I absolutely agree with Shea Moisture! It is a fantastic product. I have naturally curly hair and this product does wonders for my unruly mane, my hair is shiny and not dry after using the product!

      The product is extremely affordable and doesn't try to hurt our pockets in this economy. Please post information regarding Shea Moisture it is the bomb.

      I do not like Miss Jessie's – not great and too pricey and I feel the same about Mixed Chicks both product dries out your hair. I am all about supporting my people, but we all to often boost our prices.. Thank you Target for introducing Shea Moisture in your stores!!

    • GG

      I love the Shea Moisture products from Target. I am a big consumer of new products for the hair, and feel this product is pretty good and more affordable.

    • Tamu

      Interesting read, but you left a truly unique product off this list. In fact in my view it should of been #1. It's purpose is not to give our natural curls true products from Afrka……Its a great product line, and it was formulated and created with pure products grown in African….by Afrikan men and women, has been used for centuries in Afrika, and is now here in these United States to help us grow an nurture our natural curls. The product I'm speaking of is called 'Shea Moisture'.

    • Ama

      You forgot Waterlady,Inc. mentioned in Essence Mag. several times. This is a line of Herbal Products that really grow hair. http://www.crsecrets.com run by two sisters Crystal and Ama