All Articles Tagged "black hair care"
Struggling with the results of dry hair? You know – the hassle of trying to comb through dull hair that is clearly breaking and shedding. It’s pretty easy to go from a well-maintained hairstyle that shows its luster to one that is unmanageable if you aren’t paying attention to the products that you are using on your hair. To help keep you on track when it comes to healthy looking hair, the editors at Madamenoire partnered with L’Oreal Paris to recommend the following go-to-products!
Nourishing shampoos and conditioners are equally important!
Remember the days of the wash and go – using any shampoo in sight? While quick methods are fine in some circumstances, when you are battling with dry hair it is important to use products that are known to provide solutions. To combat dry hair – we recommend our favorite duo – L’Oréal Advanced Haircare – Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Shampoo and L’Oréal Advanced Haircare – Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Conditioner. Both contain oil ingredients like Amla and Coconut that will help to repair dry hair in just one wash.
Get to know the benefits of balm!
We know about the benefits of nourishing shampoos and conditioners, but what about balms? Who knew that products were in the marketplace that could help fight split ends, weakness, roughness, dullness, and dehydration? If you didn’t know such a thing existed – trust us L’Oréal Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm is our new best friend. It is a rinse out repairing balm that repairs up to one year of hair’s smoothness with continued daily use of the system of shampoo and balm.
Slow down on the heat!
Love the heat, if so, we are asking you to cool down! One reason our textured hair dries out so fast is due to the results of too much heat on our delicate manes. Because dry hair can have long-term challenges, we advise using tools such as curling irons and dryers in moderation. Please note, a nice wash + condition + towel dry is a cooler option. But don’t forget to add L’Oréal Advanced Haircare – Extraordinary Oil Curls Re-Nourish Mask , which brings back the bounce to dry hair while adding a radiant shine without all that frizz.
Black hair is beautiful; don’t you agree? At Madamenoire, we believe that’s attributed to our strong roots and the various coily, curly, and kinky textures that unite us. Oh! Let’s not forget the dynamic styles that we can flip together with the wave of a magic wand – called the right hair tools. From classy up dos to savvy ponytails, there is a lot to know about what works and what doesn’t with our beautiful, yet diverse black manes. Ready to switch things up for the fall season? Before you do –we partnered with L’Oréal Paris to take a peek at our list of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to maintaining black hair and the L’Oréal products that should be a part of your hair care arsenal!
4 Do’s and Don’ts When It Comes to Black Hair!
1) Don’t Over Use Your Favorite Products
Don’t we all want our hair to look healthy and shiny? Hair oils such as L’Oréal Advanced Haircare – Extraordinary Oil Lustrous Oil Serum should do the trick! Before you add too much product to your hair, we recommend applying your favorite oil in moderation, because you don’t want to weigh your hair down. For fine hair – less equals more shine. For thicker hair – start with a quarter size portion and then apply more if necessary. Let your hair follicles breath with ease.
2) Do Take a Break From Protective Styles!
Yes, we love our weaves and braids, however, don’t be afraid to let your natural coily, kinky, or straight hair shine through. Protective styles are wonderful when you are facing a hair transition or if you are athletically-driven and don’t want the burden of damp hair from the gym! Please note, extensive exposure to protective styles, especially when you add synthetic pieces could damage your hair – so take a breather. Give your hair a 3-to-6-month break and keep it nurtured with L’Oréal Advanced Haircare – Extraordinary Transforming Oil-in-Cream.
3) Don’t Forget to Wash and Condition Regularly
Sounds like a headache right? Just know extending your wash and conditions too long can contribute to heavy hair that lacks luster. We recommend washing your hair at least every 10 days or when you notice product build up. L’Oréal Advanced Haircare – Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Shampoo and L’Oréal Advanced Haircare – Extraordinary Oil Nourishing Conditioner system eliminates dryness in just 1 wash, while nourishing hair without the weight. Your hair will go from dry to silky and soft in a snap.
4) Know the Benefits of Your Favorite Products
We all have a collection of go-to products. It’s important that we choose products that not only work well individually with our premium texture, but also when they have to work together. We love the L’Oréal Advanced Care – Extraordinary Oil system because of its ability to nurture, condition and protect all hair types during one super fab style session.
Not feeling well?
Well, according to a recently released report, it might be some of the chemicals in your hair care products that are making you sick.
The 60-page report entitled Natural Evolutions: One Hair Story was released on Tuesday by Black Women for Wellness, which is an L.A.-based advocacy and research group dedicated to the health and well-being of Black women. You can read the report in its entirety here.
But to summarize, it is the result of five years of research, which included “literature reviews, focus groups, data collection and interviews with African American beauty professionals to determine chemical exposure and correlating health status, of hair care products directed at Black women.”
And as noted in the report’s introduction, “Each year, Black women spend about 9 billion dollars on beauty products alone, twice as much as any other ethnic group. By 2017, the Black hair care industry is estimated to reach $500 billion, taking into the account the changing nature of the market and the increase in online sales. However, many of the products marketed to and used by Black women are rarely researched for toxic health consequences; in the rare cases that they are, Black hair products are found to be some of the most toxic beauty products on the market.”
While the report did not focus on any specific products, researchers did provide a list of ingredients including fragrance, DMDM hydantoin, linalool methylparaben and propylparaben, which were found in over 50 products used or recommended by hair care stylists. Moreover, “Several of these compounds have been found to disrupt the endocrine system, among other health effects. DMDM hydantoin has been found to be a skin toxicant and allergen, as well as a formaldehyde-releasing agent.”
Chief among the health concerns associated with the chemicals used in many of our hair care products is uterine fibroids. And, according to the report, a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology has found a link between the use of hair relaxers and the condition that is estimated to affect 80 percent of Black women over their lifetime.
The report also highlights other reproductive developmental issues associated with chemicals in our hair care products, including infertility and spontaneous miscarriages.
And as the report notes, “Girls who reported using chemical hair oils and hair perms were 1.4 times more likely to experience early puberty after adjusting for race, ethnicity, and year of birth. In addition, other studies have linked early puberty to hair detangler use by Black girls. In one of the studies African American girls as young as two years old started showing signs of puberty after using products containing animal placenta found in many detanglers and conditioners.”
In addition to reproductive concerns, the report also links formaldehyde, ammonia, and bleaching agents – all chemicals that are commonly found in our hair care products – to respiratory disorders.
More specifically, “A study conducted in 2007 with 344 women in Nigeria found that respiratory symptoms were more common among hairdressers as compared to the community at large. Frequent sneezing, coughing, and chest tightness were found in the hair stylists. In addition, the mean pulmonary function test (FEV1, FVC, and FEV1/FVC) was lower in hairdressers, with no relation to duration of employment in the industry. In short, a beauty professional’s ability to breathe deeply is compromised once entering the profession.”
According to the report, Black hair care professionals who are exposed to higher levels of chemicals than the general public are most at risk of developing health problems. As part of its research, BWW interviewed L.A.-based hair professionals between 2011 and 2014 and found that 65 percent of them use permanent straighteners or lye/no-lye relaxers; sixty-three percent used permanent waves and texturizers; and 60 percent used hair dyes, all of which contain chemicals that have been linked to carcinogenic materials, respiratory problems and allergies and reproductive issues.
In fact, as the study notes, “Of the stylists we talked to, over 100 health issues were reported. The most common health issues were headaches, dizziness, and chemical burns. About 9% of the women stylists surveyed had health issues directly related to reproductive health.”
As far as solutions, the report said that more education and awareness, as well as easy-to-read labels, would help to “mitigate risk factors.”
The report also called for more federal oversight.
“Creating and enforcing policies and regulations that use the precautionary principle when evaluating chemical safety is an important step in mitigating the risk of toxic exposure to the public as well as with workers. In addition, a system is needed that can regulate and remove chemicals from personal care, hair and cleaning products that have a proven health risk in a timely and effective manner.
Having policies looking at labeling products of concern as well as maintaining an awareness of the need for stronger regulations on labeling and testing of products would allow consumers to make more informed choices about the products they wish to buy.”
And yet, the only environmentally just issues anyone wants to talk about are polar bears floating on ice caps…
The natural Black hair movement isn’t limited to America, but limitations when it comes to proper hair care products is making it difficult for many sisters in Europe and abroad to make the transition.
A BBC Raw doc called Hair Freedom recently explored the natural hair movement in Britain. Produced by YouTube content creator Zindzi Rocque Drayton, she told the BBC, “‘Natural hair’ is defined as Afro textured hair that isn’t chemically straightened. In our society and throughout the world, straight hair is so normalized that a large number of Black women chemically straighten their Afro texture. Touching on topics from rocking an Afro in the workplace to the legacy of slavery, I find out the pressures and joys of women who have embraced their ‘natural hair.’”
While it may seem that, internationally, Black women have been slower to adopt the natural look, some of that perception comes down to size. Blacks make up only three percent of the population in the U.K. so there are fewer Black women in some of the major European cities compared to the U.S. metropolises. “I don’t think it’s taken longer, thanks to social media and YouTube the natural hair trend is as vibrant here as it is the U.S.,” said Janette Nzekwe, owner of U.K.-based Natural hair care product company Modie Haircare.”There is a thirst to embrace our natural hair It is as vibrant and as progressive as the U.S., the numbers are just smaller but there’s definitely an interest.”
Berlin-based blogger Nicole Is The New Black has made the same observations. “There are a few contributing factors to the state of Black hair care in Europe, beginning with [the fact that] Black women don’t make up a significant percentage of the population. The small brown numbers result in less demand for products which leads to less hair care techniques and tools, leaving stylists being years behind their counterparts in places like America,” she wrote in Parlour Magazine. “There is almost no pressure to have any representation of Black women in the media due to the low buying power of the Black woman in Europe. There are no magazines like Essence…Many women don’t have high expectations for their hair because they don’t see many examples of Black women, nevermind Black women with healthy hair.”
Still some women Black need convincing to go natural. “Generally speaking, Afro-Europeans see my natural hair as something that needs to be fixed with perm or covered up with a wig and this kind of thinking frustrates me,” she added. “Apart from the occasional American tourist, Black women in Europe typically rock straight hair, weaves and extensions. I imagine the pressure for a women of color to appeal to the European standard of beauty must be stifling in Germany. Ironically, that pressure doesn’t come directly from the Germans themselves but from other Afro-Europeans.”
Even among those who have the natural spirit, the lack of styling products can easily put a damper on it. “Yes, we are definitely embracing the ‘power”of our hair but we just have to look a little harder than our sisters in the U.S. but change is coming,” noted Nzekwe, whose own frustration led her to start her business. Modiê Haircare offers hair care products to make the transition to natural hair easier. Nzekwe went natural herself four years ago while living in Los Angeles.
“When I returned to London, I immediately noticed a complete lack of premium quality products for British women. Having worked for pharmaceutical companies for more than a decade, I began focusing my efforts on providing a premium quality hair product for Black women with natural hair.
“I was frustrated at seeing very few Black women with natural hair represented in the beauty industry. By founding Modiê Haircare, we are engaging with other Black women and creating a superior shopping experience for customers with natural hair,” Nzekwe added. “I was frustrated at the lack of quality hair products in the U.K., I was also frustrated at the shopping experience, I knew where to go to get my lipstick and foundation, but finding premium products for my Afro was a challenge. I believe all women should have access to premium products created especially for them, whether they be in L.A., New York, London, Paris, or Lagos.”
Armed with a degree in biochemistry, Nzekwe used the savings she accrued while working for a pharmaceutical company to start her own hairline to improve that access. “I also wanted to create a safe space for Black women to express themselves just as they are without judgement and a brand that makes the afro synonymous with sophistication and beauty; elegance and grace. I am also very keen to support the community in an entrepreneurial way, creating jobs and opportunities if I’m able.”
The signature Modiê product is a moisturizing créme for Afro hair made with castor oil, olive oil, organic amla, and manoi oil that is used by singer Corinne Bailey Rae. The products are currently available in Paris at Le Curl Shop, but it has been a challenge for Nzekwe to expand her reach to supply and distribute throughout Black salons in the U.K. — an obstacle she hope to tackle soon. “I plan to develop the line beyond our moisturizing créme and intend to get into some major retailers both in the U.K. and the U.S.,” she said.
There are a few other companies that either make or sell products for Black hair in Europe, though most are based in the U.K. Among them are Be Unique Haircare, Big Hair Beauty, Root2Tip, Mahogany Naturals, Mane Divas, Hug My Hair, I Love Afro, Sheabutter Cottage, Curly By Nature, and Joliette by Afro Deity. In order to increase the supply, the issue may be the demand as Nzekwe pointed out there are still longstanding misconceptions about Black hair in Europe. “I think some people may still view the Afro as ‘messy’ or ‘untidy’ but I feel the more we wear and embrace our hair the more this will aid to change some perceptions.”
Karen Mitchell (in black) along side Daisy Lewellyn of Blood, Sweat & Heels (Bravo)
On any given day – scroll through Instagram. I’m sure your timeline will be filled with images of luxurious hairlines to try. The funny thing is – you may even find an old high school teacher with her own signature brand. Every stylist claims to have their hands on the best quality hair – yup, Malaysian, Brazilian, and of course Indian. If you are a hair fanatic, like myself, navigating the hair world can be daunting. In fact, the marketplace is so crowded that it is really hard to know who truly has their heart in the hustle.
Don’t sleep. One hair maven with an elite portfolio stands out from the crowd. When you hear her name you can’t help but to respect her grind. Meet the ever fabulous, serial entrepreneur, Karen Mitchell. Hands down, she is a pioneer in the hair industry and the boss behind the blueprint of True Indian Hair (TIH).
Talking to Karen Mitchell reinforced that women can do it all and still be fabulous. She is fierce, fashion-forward, focused and full of confidence. During our conversation at her Midtown salon on 35th Street, where I was able to view her latest Vixen and Inspire collection, she brought me up to speed regarding her business ideology, her additional hustles (Brooklyn Wineyard), and how she was able to develop and execute her vision when there was really no competition.
Konnect: Karen, we might as well jump right into the foundation of True Indian Hair. Tell us how your dream came to light.
Karen Mitchell: I am the sole owner of True Indian Hair. I started my company 10 years ago, in 2004. Back then, I was looking at this like a hair hustle. I worked in fashion for many years and I would travel to India with my boss to visit factories. When I would go to India, I would buy small amounts of hair to bring back for friends and family, and myself of course. Then I got laid off from my job, like a year later, after my last visit to India. I was like okay – I’ve been selling this hair on the side, and it was quite lucrative.
Konnect: So you were selling it on the side in bundles?
Karen Mitchell: Yes, in bundles. I would work my 9-t0-5 and then come home and start selling it. I was shipping out of New York as well. A friend of mine, Janelle Grimmond, was working at Vibe Vixen then and they used the hair for a shoot. I didn’t even have a brand then. They used the hair and mentioned the name of the company – True Indian Hair, and I started getting all of these calls across the state. So when I got laid off, I was like – I am going all in. I’m not going back to work. I cashed in my 401K. I wasn’t married. I didn’t have kids. I was like if I lose this $36,000, it’s not the end of the world. I will be okay. After that, I opened my first store in Brooklyn. The first two-to-three years we were struggling. We were making money – but we were just figuring out everything. I never did a business plan. I was new to being my own boss. But, I gave it 150 percent and I did it. It started taking off. Once it started growing, I realized that I may not have to work for anyone ever again. I opened my second location at 35th Street, in an office building – showroom style. I was then able to expand and move downstairs. Then I opened in Queens, NY a year ago.
Konnect: With hair being so big and you being a pioneer – what transitions are you seeing in the hair industry? And how are you staying on top of it?
Karen Mitchell: Staying on top and staying afloat all goes back to the quality, because everyone sells hair now. Everyone on social media sells hair. Everyone is selling hair out of the trunk of their car – which is a great thing, but the market is becoming saturated with all types of hair. That includes bad quality. Even Indian Hair people are like – “I don’t want Indian hair.” When I hear that, I think they aren’t getting really great quality Indian Hair. For me, its all about staying on top of the quality. I am a partner in a factory in India. My product – I know it. I know what I am getting. I go through the assurance process. I go through each bundle. I go through to make sure that each bundle of hair is going to last. I check if you will be able to reuse it. I check to see if it is sewn properly. I started venturing out of India and started getting hair out of Malaysia and out of Brazil.
Konnect: What’s the big difference between the three types of hair?
Karen Mitchell: With India, there is more of an abundance. Malaysian hair is a little thicker than Indian hair. It’s not available in a large abundance like Indian hair is. Brazilian hair is even less. I sell very small amounts of Brazilian hair.
Konnect: Where do you see yourself as a brand moving forward?
Karen Mitchell: Because my brand is consistent and the customer service is consistent, I’m not worried about the competition. We are growing. I plan to open two more stores within the next 18 months. One in New Jersey and one in Atlanta. So, I am just thankful. I know the market is saturated and flooded, but I feel as long as I stay consistent and true to the brand that I started, True Indian Hair will be okay.
Konnect: Let’s talk about your collections!
Karen Mitchell: The classic would be our Indian Wavy, which is what I started with and our Indian Curly. The Indian Curly is a loose, natural curly. It’s very sexy. Adding to the classic is our Malaysian line as well. That includes our Malaysian wavy, which at this time is one of our best selling brands. Then there is the Malaysian straight. It is sleek and sexy. They are all virgin hair that can be colored. Then there is Malaysian Curly, which is steam curled. That gives the hair more texture. That’s our flagship collection. Our latest line is the Inspire Collection. It’s our soft, textured line. It works well with people who are transitioning. It’s great for people who want protective styling. The collection has a (z) curl pattern, similar to an afro curl. With this collection you can definitely where it straight or blown out. Because it’s virgin hair, you can still color it. We also have Relaxed Straight hair, that has some texture to it. But it’s still very sleek. It reminds you of permed African American hair. And then there is the Kinky Curly option that is similar to bi-racial hair. All of these options are really sexy.
For more on Karen Mitchell and her True Indian Hair empire, visit: www.trueindianhair.com
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.
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.
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 StyleBlazer.com
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 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.
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 TheGrio.com