Since the era of slavery in the United States, black women have had a stigma around their hair. Due to racism, it became the norm for black women to straighten their hair, and not wear it naturally. Moreover, this stigma carries over to professional settings where wearing natural hair is seen as unprofessional. In the present, wearing hair naturally helps convey a sense of pride and black culture and aesthetic.
However, since the 1990’s there has been an increase of hair products for women who chair to wear their curly/kinky hair naturally. Initially, this trend started with a bunch of small, independent companies selling similar products and all of them were small and independent. According to The LA Times, Since wearing curly hair naturally has experienced a surge in popularity, large corporations are now launching their own products to cater to the growing demand.
However, this growth is not entirely beneficial to the black community at large. For one thing, a lot of the small companies that started making hair care products before natural hair was in vogue are now experiencing difficulties with competing against large, multinational chains for profit. Additionally, a lot of the smaller companies are owned/founded by black women with products for black women.
A lot of large companies don’t quite understand what their consumers want out of a hair product, which has lead to many marketing blunders on account of them. This is partially to do with some advertising campaigns putting an emphasis on white or light-skinned women, as opposed to women with a darker complexion.
This trend is expected to continue, and wearing relaxed hair is becoming less popular according to the research firm Mintel.