All Articles Tagged "black hair care"

About That Korean Hair Meme: Why We Should Really Be Thanking Some Sistas For Their Weaves

July 15th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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So social media has been circulating a very interesting meme about Koreans and their alleged ownership of the black hair care industry.

And by interesting, I mean: ridiculous.

From StyleBlazer:

A meme that resurfaced recently criticizes black women for buying weave from Korean shop owners, with the assumption that they’re funding college education for the shop owner’s children. The text reads, “The Korean family would like to thank black women for taking the money they could use to send their kids to the best colleges and spending it on fake hair so we can send ours! Your insecurity and lack of racial pride has made us rich. You go girl!”

I’ve seen this meme before. And I’ve heard and seen this discussion both online and off as well. Naturally, I’ve always found this talk about black women and our supposed role in financing the entire Korean lifestyle problematic. For one, it’s totally embedded in the double standard, which tends to trivialize the interests of women, and specifically for black women, blame those interests for all that ails the black community. Secondly, in the days of prominent black men getting passes for talking about their presence being charity and choosing not to give money to causes that aid countries in Africa because, as one asked, “What has Africa done for me?” no one should be counting a black woman’s chump change.

But most importantly, such a meme is not very accurate and it’s flat out disrespectful to the contributions black women have made to holding down the community. In spite of all the talk about black women giving the “community’s money” away, black women’s hair and hairstyle choices, including the weaves, have likely done more to build and sustain the community than anything else the black community has produced. I’m willing to bet that the weave alone has contributed more financially to build collective wealth amongst our own, than basketball and Hip-Hop music combined.

And I’m not talking about Madame CJ Walker (although I’m talking about her too actually). I’am also talking about Carsons, Johnson & Johnson, Bronner Bros, Carol’s Daughter, Shea Moisture and a litany of other black owned hair care companies, which have come, gone, are still around and have been sold off for some serious dough and made some black families wealthier in the process. What’s missing from these memes and conversations is any consideration of how much income is derived from a single hairstyle – from the sale of the hair, to the styling tools and products, to the person who actually installs the hair – and who exactly benefits.

As noted by market research analysts Mintel in this Huffington Post report, black hair care is more than a half a billion dollar industry projected to expand to more than $700 million by 2017. But while the hair care industry is changing – with perm use declining and natural hair care inching up a bit – the sales of weaves and wigs have also seen major growth (as much as 28.5 percent by some estimates), with nearly six out of 10 black consumers saying that they have worn extensions.

It is true that the vast majority of brick and mortar beauty supply stores (where hair extensions are usually sold) are owned by Koreans and other Asians. However, what folks should also note is how the Internet has aided black entrepreneurs in their efforts to seek out partnerships with manufacturers and distributors of raw and virgin hair around the globe. These relationships have meant that some industrious black entrepreneurs have been able to compete head-to-head with not only those Asian-owned brick and mortar stores and online retailers of raw hair, but also wholesale sellers of extensions. As noted in this piece I penned for The Grio, some of these entrepreneurs have managed to gain some level of financial independence and security for themselves – all thanks to the power of the track.

And it seems that they are not alone: According to this 2012 survey, compiled by the Professional Beauty Association and the National Cosmetology Association, the nation’s salon and spa industry “has a broader representation of women and minorities than the overall U.S. Workforce.” In fact, the report shows that out of the more than 974,000 total personal appearance establishments, 85 percent of businesses are operated by women (compared to 47 percent of employed individuals in the overall U.S. workforce) and 12 percent are African American, which is one point higher when compared with blacks in the overall US workforce.

And while many industries saw a decline due to The Great Recession of the late 2000s, the report notes that the salon and spa industry “performed relatively well” both during and coming out of the recession, with less than a 0.1 percent decline in growth during the hardest periods of the recession and an increase of 1.7 percent during the national recovery. Even more impressive, the study notes the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projection of personal appearance jobs increasing up to 15 percent by 2020, with hairstylist and cosmetologist positions projected to increase by 16 percent.

What that means is that short of black women going headless, we are going to get our hair done. And if we don’t have any hair, we are going to sew or glue or even hook some on. And even more likely, we are going to pay a black salon to do it. And if there are no black salons around of our liking, we will pay our cousin with the chair in the basement to do it for us. Moreover, the money these women are paid to do our hair and weaves will likely be used to buy groceries, pay rent or mortgages and utilities too. Some will treat their families and themselves to clothing, luxury items and nights out on the town with that money. And some might even spend that money gained from putting in weaves to take care of their children’s private school education or even college.

More importantly, there is a strong possibility that this woman will take that weave money and use it to purchase hair from black suppliers and obtain hair care products made by and for black women; or, she will use that money to help support the black church or mosque; and the black restaurants and lounges; and the barber shops, because her son and significant other want to tame their natural coils too; or to pick up all the Shea butter, incense and Moringa powder, which folks like to proudly tout in black-owned businesses. The point I’m making here is that the money she has made from doing weaves will likely grease the palms of just as many black hands than what we assume ends up in the pockets of our smirking Asian counterparts.

That’s why in the grand scheme of things, it seems pretty silly to squabble over the lack of ownership black women have over the raw material one uses to provide a service for a fee. Last I checked, the brothers weren’t producing actual basketballs or the vinyl for their albums (yeah I know, but you get the point) or even the containers and little sticks for the proudly black-owned Shea butter, incense and Moringa powder they have. If anything, black folks owe black women specifically a “thanks” for helping to sustain the community for as long as we have – down to the strands of hair on our heads.


Long Hair, Don’t Care! 15 Stylists Who Will Inspire You To Grow Your Tresses

May 22nd, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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Courtney Natural Hair

Courtney Natural Hair


From Style Blazer 

Aiming for bra strap length hair and beyond? You’re not alone. Many women of color, natural or relaxed, are constantly on the quest to reaching new lengths when it comes to their hair. Thankfully, there are tons of gurus who share their secrets and offer endless inspiration for those of us with hair length goals. We listed 15 of our favorite “black girls with long hair,” featuring a variety of natural hair textures and some relaxed hair hotties. These ladies have amazing hair and, on their various channels and blogs, also share their tips.

Learn more about hair care at

The Business Of Black Hair: Should We Support Kitchen Chemists Turned Small-Business Owners?

May 22nd, 2014 - By LaKrishia Armour
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It’s been a few years and the natural hair movement is still going strong. With more and more women embarking on ‘hair journeys,’ there have also been an increase in the number of products formulated specifically for a variety of natural hair textures. Last fall, Nielsen published a report that noted the buying power of blacks topped $1 trillion and that we are nine times more likely to purchase hair care and beauty products. Year after year, the Essence Smart Beauty report confirms the growing influence of the black dollar in the beauty industry.

In addition to supporting the community, reclaiming our dollars in an industry where black women have tremendous and impactful buying power is important, according to Dr. Paula Chrishon who owns the Tendrils and Curls™ boutique in Houston, TX and an E-commerce extension of the brick and mortar store. The hair care and beauty industry along with the increase in E-commerce gives many women the chance to move from simply daydreaming about entrepreneurship to becoming kitchen chemists, running small businesses, to transitioning into CEOs.  “Time and time again, these products are developed in the kitchens of black women who are making every effort to remedy an issue they are experiencing with their own hair,” says Chrishon.

Krika Bradsher, owner of the Sophia Sunflower Salon in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the accompanying product line, My Honey Child, splits her time between handling the product manufacturing, packing and shipping while working at her salon full time.

“I realized that I needed something to complete the business. I was using many products but none were giving me the results that I felt my clients deserved. Many products claimed to moisturize but they only gave my clients dry hair because they were loaded with fillers and alcohols. I then decided to do research and begin mixing, and it went from there,” she says.

Chrishon and Bradsher represent the growing number of black women who own hair care product lines that are emerging with support and success. Professional associations like the Black Owned Beauty Supply Association (B.O.B.S.A.) and Black Wall Street, International are putting support behind hair care product lines manufactured by black owners. B.O.B.S.A., for instance, plans to install hair care product vending machines in barbershops and beauty salons with most of the products available being produced by black-owned businesses. Black Wall Street, International helps young entrepreneurs enter the hair care industry as product manufacturers.

In supporting black-owned businesses, it’s still important to use the same common sense for trying any new product: do the research and look for professional labels like UPC codes. This is key for products that claim to be 100 percent natural, as there may be no chemicals to provide long shelf life. “The natural hair phenomenon is great because it’s a change in the industry. New entrepreneurs are entering the marketplace and a lot of these products are made by hand,” says Sam Ennon, president of B.O.B.S.A. “The downside is that they are made in the kitchen by someone with no chemical background. There’s no shelf life and these products are sold directly to the consumer.”

Considering the strength and equity of the brand is important when buying products from any company. “I knew that My Honey Child had brand equity in 2004, because I was receiving so many calls from hair salons and online retailers who wanted to carry the product. Orders were coming in from all over the world and people wanted to find out ‘Who was My Honey Child?’” says Bradsher.

Chrishon experienced a similar situation when Tendrils and Curls™ became a recognizable brand name. Shw says, “The first inclination of this came about when more and more male customers who were in Houston on business from places like Holland, Sweden, Japan and Brazil began to visit the boutique holding long lists of hair products to purchase for their wives who had identified us online.”

Though some brands get their start in the kitchen, many gain a loyal following that allow the owners to seek out chemists and manufacturing plants that can offer the proper mix of ingredients helping the products provide the most benefit to the consumer and the business owner in the long run. “Get with an association. An association like B.O.B.S.A. has all the things [new entrepreneurs] need help with,” advises Ennon.

Simply put, there is a way to support these black-owned businesses in the hair care industry and that way is buying. With the economic power associated with black buyers, to support black businesses is the best way to circulate dollars back into our communities. The authenticity of these products means buyers connect with the brands on a deeper level than with bigger, well-known brands.

Knowing this, black women should patronize black woman-owned hair care product lines and black-owned beauty supply stores. It seems convenient to shop large, national department stores or mega-sized beauty supply stores, but choosing to ‘buy black’ has benefits when it comes to beauty products.

“You feel confident in knowing that these products have been crafted specifically to meet the unique needs of those with naturally textured hair,” says Chrishon. “Much like the hair of the creators of these brands.”

Black Hair Care Companies Set Their Sights On Markets Abroad

March 24th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

From Styleblazer

Black women are big business when it comes to hair care. According to the Mintel report, African Americans spent a whopping $684 million dollars on hair products in 2013, a number that doesn’t include the billions dropped on weaves, tools, appliances, and at beauty supply stores. It’s a lucrative market, one that until recently was controlled by multinational conglomerates who acquired many of the formerly Black owned hair care companies such as SoftSheen-Carson laboratories. The trend of Black women embracing textured hair changed that game. Sensing the shift, independent African American manufacturers were quick to create and market products designed to nourish textured tresses.

Now that the natural hair movement is a full-blown revolution, mainstream companies have turned their attention to the changing preferences of Black women.

For more on this story, click through to our sister site, Styleblazer.

The First Lady Says Obamacare Can Treat Curling Iron Burn

December 24th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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Obamacare Can Treat Curling Iron Burn

Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/


From The Grio

uring an interview with The Black Eagle‘s Joe Madison, Michelle Obama discussed some reasons why black people need healthcare.

Madison brought up the likelihood of athletic injuries as one reason to sign up, and the first lady added, “you could burn yourself badly on a curling iron.”

Listen to the First Lady’s interview on how  Obamacare can treat a curling iron burn, at

5 Ways To Get Those Missing Edges Back

December 11th, 2013 - By Meghan Reid
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Whether your hair is natural or relaxed, making sure it’s healthy is what’s important. We’ve all seen women with missing edges, thinning edges, or receding edges, dry hair, or completely damaged tresses — all of which remind us we need to be a bit more diligent in our own hair care routines.

Healthy hair is achievable with proper maintenance and by using products that work for your texture and needs. Excessive heat is never good and neither is over manipulation. If you’re hair is in a state of shock, don’t fret! There are ways to transform dry hair that is prone to breakage and protect and regrow thinning edges.


Chill on the weaves

Weaves can be your best friend or your worst enemy if you don’t learn to take breaks. A sew-in is a beautiful style, but rocking sew-ins all year round can strain your hairline causing missing edges. Ask your stylist about different techniques that can be done to save your hairline. For example, tiny cornrows may not be best if your hair is already thin, or maybe a net should be used instead of sewing directly into your braids.

Oldies, But Goodies: 3 Classic Hair Products With Staying Power

September 12th, 2012 - By Tuere Randall
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Beauty products come and go. If you’re a product junkie, like myself, then you probably get a real rush from trying out the many new and exciting products with the latest exotic ingredients (marula oil, anyone?) But even with the myriad products to test out, there are a few that seem to keep making their way back into the seemingly endless rotation of hair potions bursting out of our overstocked beauty cabinets. Here are a few that may have found a “forever” home in your beauty closet:

Palmer’s Hair Success Gro Treatment

There’s something about this St. Joseph’s Children’s Aspirin colored hair cream, with it’s pleasant, but not quite identifiable smell, that turned me into a believer decades ago. Enriched with good-for-your-hair ingredients such as vitamin E, hydrolyzed silk protein and biotin (and even a few not-so-good ones: mineral oil and propylparaben to name a couple), this works wonders to seal hair after moisturizing with the leave-in of your choice, and keeps hair moist and shiny for days. It’s great for those fragile ends in particular. No matter how many wonderful hair butters I try and love, I always eventually come creeping back to this one.

Call Me Prejudiced, But I Only Let Black Women Do My Hair

June 27th, 2012 - By Alissa Henry
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"Black Hair Salon"


A few years ago, I was at a local hair school and flat out told the receptionist (loud enough for everyone to hear) that I would wait all day if it meant waiting on a black girl to do my hair. It was not my proudest moment, but I admit I have a serious complex when it comes to letting women who are not black style my hair.

I’ve been that way ever since “the hair incident”. It happened when I was seven years old. I had a thick mane that reached the middle of my back. My mom would braid my hair, put it in ponytails and press it with a hot comb, but her hard work rarely lasted past recess as I had dreams back then of being the first girl in the NFL and used touch football games with the boys on the playground to practice. I was a roughhouser, but I wanted my hair straight. Looking for an easier way to manage my hair, my mom let her white friend Christina – who was a licensed cosmetologist and had been doing my hair for the past year and a half – put in a relaxer.

I remember sitting under the dryer that fateful day and I reached up to feel the top of my hair. It was rock hard as though she had smoothed a thick layer of ProStyles black hair gel from my roots to my ends. I tipped the hooded dryer up and whispered to my mom, “My hair feels hard.” Overhearing, Christina replied, “It shouldn’t feel hard.”

I don’t remember much else after that, but my mom says, later she was combing my hair and immediately noticed it was falling out in chunks. In addition, I was completely bald around the edges.  My mom says my hair felt hard and jagged and she had never seen anything like it. She asked her friend what happened and Christina said she “got a hold of a bad perm”. She hypothesized that maybe the “Super” was in the “Regular” container. All I know is, I haven’t seen Christina since.

Not wanting to go completely bald at any point, a new (black) hairstylist helped me transition. She eventually cut off the scraggly, damaged, ends when my new growth finally reached my shoulders about a year later. By the time I was in 5th grade, the remnants of the relaxer that destroyed my hair were gone, but the memory of the white woman who did it was not and I swore my allegiance to black hairstylists from then on.

Lately though I’ve been wondering if this stance has any merit. There are scores of black women who will tell you about the time a relaxer damaged their hair — and that relaxer was applied by a black woman. In my case, I assume my stylist didn’t have any experience applying chemicals to black hair, (how else would she have accidentally applied a Super?) but does that mean all white women don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to black hair?

One day, probably fifteen years after the hair incident, I let a white girl wash and flat iron my hair.  My roots weren’t completely dry when she flat ironed my hair, so, of course, about 30 minutes after leaving the salon it was like I never went.

I had the same experience with a girl whose nationality I cannot pinpoint. Then, I had a great experience with a white beautician in a Walmart salon. I initially refused to let her do my hair, but she told me a license is a license and promised that she could straighten anyone’s hair. Reluctant but desperate, I let her give it a try. She washed; deep conditioned, blow-dried and flat-ironed my hair in 60 minutes flat. I was impressed, but I am still not totally convinced.

My instant reflex is to firmly decline when a white girl (or someone who isn’t black) offers to do my hair. I know that it was only one serious incident and others have had poor results from black cosmetologists as well, but I just cannot sit comfortably when the person doing my hair isn’t a black female. Is this a form of discrimination or just common sense? All black hair isn’t created equal and I know that just because a person is black doesn’t mean she knows what she is doing with my hair in particular; but I am about one thousand times more willing to try my luck with a black hairstylist than a non-black hairstylist. If it helps, I don’t let men do my hair either.

What do you think? Do you let people of other nationalities do your hair?

Alissa Henry is a freelance writer living in Columbus, OH. Follow her on Twitter @AlissaInPink or check out her blog This Cannot Be My Life

More on Madame Noire!

Stop The Breakage! 7 Ways To Avoid The Brittle and Embrace The Softness

June 20th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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Hair breakage can range from mild to horrifyingly severe. Just recently, I was a victim of the very severe kind after I decided to highlight half of my head a very light brown. In the months after, as I witnessed large clumps of hair falling out in the shower, and seeing the short stubs of my hair spread around my hair, I took some major action. But now, these new habits are part of my routine to prevent breakage and keep my hair healthy.

1. Get regular protein treatments  Now that I’ve experienced the wonders of protein treatments, I don’t understand why they’re not more popular. I immediately went to the salon after my initial breakage and asked for a protein treatment. A good protein treatment coats your hair in protein and specifically strengthens your hair to prevent any further breakage. Because of its potency, stylists recommend getting them at least six weeks apart.

2. Deep Condition  In general, if your hair is moisturized and conditioned well, it will not break. Simple, right? Obviously, your hair would be prone to breakage if it’s dry and brittle. To avoid that, make sure you deep condition your hair regularly. There are a myriad of options in deep conditioning products – just make sure you allow the conditioner to sit on your hair while you sit under a dryer. The heat will help the conditioner penetrate your strands. If you don’t have a dryer, simply wrap up your hair in a plastic cap and get to moving around, doing chores around the house. Hey, any body heat will  help!

3. Use a wide toothed comb  If you haven’t adopted the wide toothed comb, why haven’t you? These combs are great because they detangle and minimize the stress on your hair. When dealing with your tresses, the idea is to treat it well without putting too much tension or stress on it.

4. Lay low on the heat I know you love to blow dry, flat iron and curl your hair on the regular but just know, the less heat you use, the better. Blow dryers and flat irons are not gentle on your tresses so if you’re in a delicate state, the heat will definitely not help matters. Try to look into low-heat to no-heat styling options.

5. Oil gently. Investing in a great and light hair oil has done wonders for me. Every night I use jojoba oil and comb it through my hair before I wrap it. Of course, the idea here is to avoid dryness and promote soft and moisturized tresses. It doesn’t matter which oil you use as long as it’s something that’s not too heavy and works well with your own hair.

6. Use a satin pillowcase. This is an oldie but goodie. Cotton is much more harsh on our tresses so to avoid that contact, invest in a satin pillowcase or wrap your hair in a satin scarf.

7. Stay away from chemical treatments. If this is not obvious by now, I’d like to reiterate just how harmful relaxers and coloring treatments can be to your hair’s elasticity. If you’ve already sworn off chemical treatments and are in the process of growing out your hair, it’s important to pay special attention to the line between your natural hair and your processed hair. Carol’s Daughter has a kit specifically designed to treat hair that is transitioning from relaxed to natural, which helps reduce the likelihood of breakage. The kit includes an extra gentle cleanser, scalp spray and anti-breakage treatment.


That’s it for me. What are your secrets to keeping your hair healthy?


Saving the Straightened Strands: 6 Tips for Taking Care of Relaxed Hair

May 30th, 2012 - By Kendra Koger
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Dear Readers, we at Madame Noire have heard your requests.  We know that a lot of our hair articles are about natural hair, and a few of our relaxed hair readers were feeling neglected.  I feel you; therefore, I’m giving you an article on taking care of relaxed hair.  Not only banking from my own personal experiences of things not to do, but I also got tips from a few hair consultants.

Okay, first, let’s talk about the basics of our hair.  I learned in a health class once that while a strand of Caucasian hair averages about three breakage points per strand, our hair has twice that, averaging about six to nine.  Therefore, our hair has a higher likelihood of breakage, but by taking proper care of it, it doesn’t have to.  You can have long hair, it’s within your grasp, and here are a few easy ways for you  to attain it.

Oh, and just because we’ve honored your request for a relaxed hair article, we did not honor your request for an article that you don’t have to click through all the pages.  But I promise, if you just take the few seconds to click, you might find some information that will help shape your hair care regimen.