It seems the tides are turn­ing in a major way and major com­pa­nies are los­ing their black mar­ket share to black-owned com­pa­nies like Carol’s Daugh­ter, Kinky Curly and Miss Jessie’s. Check out this inter­est­ing arti­cle writ­ten by Danielle Bel­ton of The Black Snob.

This year pop­u­lar cos­met­ics and hair care line Carol’s Daugh­ter launched the site Tran­si­tion­ing Move­ment. Meant to help guide women giv­ing up chem­i­cal relax­ers into the oft-con­fus­ing and con­flict­ing world that is “going nat­ur­al,” the mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar cor­po­ra­tion seeks to both inform — and expand their base.

Can you blame them? There’s mon­ey in those curls. But for once, it seems women and minor­i­ty-owned prod­uct lines got to the mar­ket first.

Carol’s Daugh­terMiss Jessie’sKaren’s Body Beau­ti­fulQhemet Bio­log­ics. Oyin Hand­made.Kinky-Curly. All lead­ers in pro­vid­ing prod­ucts to those mov­ing from chem­i­cal process­es to nat­ur­al. All still inde­pen­dent­ly-owned. All start­ed by women of col­or – like African Amer­i­can Karen Tap­pin of her name­sake com­pa­ny and bira­cial black and Japan­ese sis­ters Miko and Titi Branch of Miss Jessie’s.

But that’s not how it typ­i­cal­ly goes down. While sev­er­al nat­ur­al hair care alter­na­tives run by women of col­or dom­i­nat­ed the con­ver­sa­tion, L’Oreal and oth­er major retail­ers saw their over­all sales in the black hair care mar­ket fall in 2009.

Long gone are the days when you had civ­il rights activists push­ing for stores to car­ry black hair care prod­ucts on their shelves. Rain­bow Coalition/PUSH, activist Rev. Jesse Jack­son once spear­head­ed a cam­paign to get major retail­ers to car­ry black hair car and skin prod­ucts in their stores in the 1970s and 80s.

Jackson’s effort was a sort of cap­i­tal­ist attack on racism. He famous­ly held a funer­al for cos­met­ic com­pa­ny Revlon when a rep­re­sen­ta­tive declared black busi­ness­es would become extinct from larg­er white com­pa­nies snatch­ing them up. But the rev­erend had a point – black peo­ple shopped at Wal-Mart, Tar­get, K-Mart, and a mul­ti­tude of places. Why not car­ry goods for them and inte­grate the cos­met­ics aisle? Seg­re­ga­tion divides us. Cap­i­tal­ism teach­es us the one with the most mon­ey wins.

Racism can real­ly impact your finan­cial bot­tom line.

Yet, since racism is non­sen­si­cal, with every new black inno­va­tion, there’s typ­i­cal­ly a lag time between what black peo­ple want and when cor­po­ra­tions start pro­vid­ing. This is why a com­pa­ny found­ed by black Amer­i­cans, John­son Prod­ucts — cre­ator of your grandmother’s hair oil of choice “Ultra Sheen” — found itself bought up by Proc­tor & Gam­ble. (And after floun­der­ing there for years, hav­ing its thun­der stolen by the likes of multi­na­tion­al cos­met­ic cor­po­ra­tions, it was sold to a black man­age­ment firm in 2009.)

How does this hap­pen when, since 1954, John­son was one of the only peo­ple mak­ing black hair care prod­ucts? It hap­pens when John­son becomes com­pla­cent and doesn’t adapt to the needs of its cus­tomers for so long that multi­na­tion­al firms final­ly are able to catch up, real­ize there’s mon­ey to be made, copy and improve on the prod­uct, then woo away their con­sumer base

My father, a lov­ing crea­ture of habit, used Afro Sheen for decades. Myself, my moth­er, and sis­ters did not. We moved on to prod­ucts less heavy and greasy, giv­ing us bet­ter results.

And for a while, those came from the likes of the slow­est adopters to black hair care, but once they smelled the mon­ey, were the most aggres­sive, dogged, and pro­lif­ic.

But not any­more.

While com­pa­nies like L’Oreal, Pan­tene, Revlon, and Proc­tor & Gam­ble rush to adapt them­selves to this rapid­ly shift­ing mar­ket, they aren’t the ones able to dic­tate what’s hot and what’s not. They can’t afford to have the atti­tude for­mer Revlon Pres­i­dent Irv­ing J. Bot­tner had back in 1986 when spoke on what it meant for com­pa­nies like his to com­pete with black-owned firms: ”In the next cou­ple of years, the black-owned busi­ness­es will dis­ap­pear. They’ll all be sold to white com­pa­nies.”

These com­pa­nies are now fol­low­ers – shift­ing for­mu­las and mar­ket­ing strate­gies to keep up with their African-Amer­i­can lead upstarts, who came out to dom­i­nate the mar­ket right from under­neath them.

Read the rest at Clutch Mag­a­zine. Ladies, what are your thoughts?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

Leave a Reply

54 Comments on "Major Hair Companies Losing Market Share in the Black Community?"

Notify of

[…] At the same time, demand for prod­ucts for nat­ur­al hair began to increase. Con­se­quent­ly, gen­er­al mar­ket beau­ty prod­ucts are also start­ing to cater to the natru­al hair com­mu­ni­ty. Note that L’Oreal pur­chased Carol’s Daugh­ter in 2014 and a com­pa­ny ded­i­cat­ed to curly hair women of all races pur­chased Curly Nik­ki, and sev­er­al oth­er black-owned black hair prod­ucts com­pa­nies got bought out. […]


I texlax my hair so I do use chem­i­cals. I still use prod­ucts mar­ket­ed for nat­ur­al hair. Qhemet’s prod­ucts are sta­ples for me. I use many oth­ers like Beku­ra and oth­ers. The only prod­uct I used that was not mar­ket­ed for nat­ur­al hair was Elas­ta Crème Con­di­tion­ing sham­poo, and I heard about it from nat­ur­al lady. Stopped using it when they added sul­fates. And I know I am not alone — they are los­ing busi­ness from chem­i­cal­ly processed ladies, as well.


[…] Image cour­tesy of —… […]

custom shower invitations

I’m impressed, I must say. Sel­dom do I come across a blog that’s both equal­ly educa­tive and inter­est­ing, and with­out a
doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The prob­lem is some­thing that
not enough folks are speak­ing intel­li­gent­ly about.
Now i’m very hap­py that I came across this dur­ing my search for some­thing con­cern­ing this.


It’s about time. Black com­pa­nies are final­ly tak­ing back the black mar­ket.

Madame Patricia David.
Madame Patricia David.

Hel­lo Dear.

I am Madame Patri­cia David i am the sole own­er of Amoury Cos­met­ics. I spe­cial­ized in human hair and cos­met­ics i found your prod­uct that inter­est me i will like to pur­chase, can ship to Côte d Ivoire? If you can please can you for­ward your cat­a­log to me at your best time.

Thanks i look for­ward to here from you soon

Madame Patri­cia David.

Amoury Cos­met­ics.
Rue du Mer­cerdes
lot 145 Abid­jan 21
Zone 4. Abid­jan.
Côte d Ivoire
Tell: 00225 03724339

I avoid buy­ing prod­ucts espe­cial­ly from white owned com­pa­nies that used to ignore me and have now jumped on the band wag­on, it sick­ens me. I’ve always want­ed the YSL Touche Eclat but it was nev­er in my colour, now it is only because com­pa­nies have realised black peo­ple have mon­ey to spend, hell what were we doing with it before, not all of us have low paid jobs and a low paid job does not stop a per­son from sav­ing up and buy­ing what they want any­way. Just as annoy­ing is when you go into the store and there is… Read more »
“These com­pa­nies are now fol­low­ers – shift­ing for­mu­las and mar­ket­ing strate­gies to keep up with their African-Amer­i­can lead upstarts…” This is so true! I thought it was sor­ta fun­ny to see gar­nier fruc­tis come out with their argan oil sham­poo a while back. This is after me hear­ing about argan oil on black hair care sites for months. They’re atten­tive­ly lis­ten­ing and watch­ing what’s going on and try­ing real­ly hard to com­pete. Read­ing this makes me want to become a lit­tle more strict about sup­port­ing black hair and skin care com­pa­nies. I love Qhemet Bio­log­ics, Oyin Hand­made and Kinky-Curly! BGLH,… Read more »

Woot! Woot! :)
I am def­i­nite­ly one who sup­ports black owned busi­ness­es. All of my hair prod­ucts come from B.O.B’s. The only hair prod­uct that isn’t is my pro­tein con­di­tion­er but when a B.O.B comes out with a good pro­tein con­di­tion­er than I will quick­ly jump on that. 

I’m glad to see that things are chang­ing and can only hope that the sup­port but more­so the feel­ing and moti­va­tions behind sup­port­ing B.O.B’s don’t fade.

Sass' n Curlz

I think that this is great news. As for the com­pa­nies that had closed eyes and deaf ears to the impor­tance of car­ry­ing and mak­ing black hair care prod­ucts back in the day I don’t feel sor­ry for them. They can try to catch up but it just may be a lit­tle too late as I for one am already in love with prod­ucts that had US in mind all along.


I am glad black peo­ple are shop­ping at black owned busi­ness­es again.

curious kinks

I think it’s just a mat­ter of time before we take back what is ours! Soon, peo­ple from oth­er races will be chas­ing after prod­ucts made by BLACKS, Then, we will see women with nat­ur­al hair on a hair com­mer­cial for nat­ur­al hair prod­ucts :)


I too am glad that major hair cor­po­ra­tions our con­sid­er­ing those of us who have nat­ur­al afro tex­tured hair as clien­tele.

It thrills me that L’Oreal has the new Ever­creme line and that there are com­pa­nies sold in drug stores like Shea Mois­ture, that are specif­i­cal­ly tar­get­ed to nat­u­rals.

Though we still have a long way to go, we have come a long way!

Tanyas Image

Black com­mu­ni­ty should be treat­ed equal in all aspect in life. Big major hair com­pa­nies should make or pro­vide bet­ter prod­ucts for their hair tex­ture.


I would love a full on-list of black owned hair/beauty com­pa­nies, so I can make an informed choice when I spend. It’s not about reject­ing oth­ers, but about strength­en­ing our own com­mu­ni­ty and show­ing the next gen­er­a­tion that the black com­mu­ni­ty can suc­ceed in busi­ness. Amen!


Thats an inter­est­ing arti­cle. I rarely shop at the Kore­an owned beau­ty sup­ply stores, but a friend told me just the oth­er day, that many of these Asian owned beau­ty sup­ply stores are now sell­ing Kinky Curly, Miss Jessies, black cas­tor oil, blocks of raw shea but­ter, etc just to keep up with the the black owned com­pa­nies.

Major com­pa­nies are los­ing black busi­ness and right­ful­ly so because they’ve fall­en behind in what their con­sumers want and need…but…with that said, it doesn’t mean that these large mega brands like Suave or Herbal Essence won’t try to mim­ic the suc­cess­ful for­mu­las of Carol’s Daugh­ter, Shea Mois­ture, etc. Slow­ly we’re see­ing com­pa­nies remov­ing sul­fates and infus­ing old for­mu­las with “botan­i­cal” ingre­di­ents, it’s only a mat­ter of time before I see a Kinky Curly knock off on my super­mar­ket shelf because every­thing is about trends and how to cap­i­tal­ize on them. Hope­ful­ly, as men­tioned above, great black owned com­pa­nies won’t sell… Read more »

I agree. I real­ly like Qhmet Bio­log­ics, but it seems that the prices on her prod­ucts have increased, which sad­dens me, but I guess they have go with the times of the cur­rent econ­o­my.


I’m about to get all movie triv­ia on every­body. Remem­ber when the Ora­cle became an agent in “Matrix Rev­o­lu­tions”? The only way for her to defeat him was to BECOME him. And after he was killed, she lived in the peace­ful world she fought for.
Don’t sleep on CurlyNik­ki. Infil­tra­tion in full effect.


I’m a lot less opti­mistic. CurlyNikki’s acqui­si­tion rubbed a lot of peo­ple the wrong way because, in inter­views, she was boast­ing about how she earned so much from the sale that she doesn’t “have to work any­more” (HER words, not mine!) I like CurlyNikki’s site too, but the fact is that it seems that her moti­va­tion was finan­cial.

She’s cur­rent­ly work­ing on a book, but I get the impres­sion that once the book is pub­lished she’ll be peac­ing out of the nat­ur­al hair com­mu­ni­ty.

I don’t know, but can you blame her. How much nat­ur­al hair talk can you have before you just get dog­gone tired of say­ing the same thing. Curly Nik­ki is a psy­chol­o­gist, yes she loves nat­ur­al hair, but her first love is self aware­ness and self accep­tance. Many of the hair blog­gers that have been in the busi­ness for the long haul have all said the same thing. Some of the hair blogs that I have fre­quent­ed have actu­al­ly stopped post­ing because they have got­ten tired of the talk and their is a lot of redun­dan­cy. I don’t have a… Read more »
I could not dis­agree more. Why is it that white peo­ple can con­tin­ue to cater to white women and white people’s issues but we can­not or should I say should not if we want to stay viable? White Amer­i­ca con­tin­ues to ignore us, espe­cial­ly black women, but we have bought into the mind­set that if we want to be accept­ed, if we want to sur­vive we have to sell out.  Good for Nik­ki that she has made her mon­ey, but bad for the com­mu­ni­ty in the long run. Her web­site has already changed, and it will con­tin­ue to do so. The sad­dest… Read more »
Peo­ple don’t real­ize that things like web­sites and blogs are not the same as brick and mor­tar busi­ness­es. You will not and can­not pass a busi­ness like this on to your chil­dren. Black busi­ness many times fail because they nar­row their scope. Why do you think the John­son com­pa­ny failed, their nar­rowed their scope and did not diver­si­fy their prod­uct line. Many black small busi­ness­es will not only not diver­si­fy, but they will refuse to lis­ten to their cus­tomers and then tell them that this is how they got into busi­ness and they will stay in busi­ness the same way.… Read more »
So first you’re say­ing that CurlyNik­ki is going to “infil­trate” the hair indus­try. Then you’re singing her prais­es for sell­ing her site? I actu­al­ly have a friend that works for and the entire rea­son they BOUGHT CurlyNikki’s site is because she had access to a LUCRATIVE fan-base — BLACK WOMEN! We need to WAKE UP! We are a VALUABLE and LUCRATIVE buy­ing pow­er! I keep hear­ing women say, “Oh, white girls read nat­ur­al hair blogs too, white women strug­gle too.” NO. THEY. DON’T! The only white women I encounter in the nat­ur­al hair com­mu­ni­ty are those that have black or bi-racial… Read more »
I could not have said it bet­ter Robyn. Black busi­ne­sess go out of busi­ness because they are forced to raise their prices because their cus­tomer base dwin­dles because black peo­ple see oth­er com­pa­nies offer­ing them a ser­vice as accep­tance. There is a very good doc­u­men­tary on youtube about the down­fall of the black hair indus­try (which had noth­ing to do with not broad­ning their base), and it talks about how the US gov’t pur­pose­ly drove black busi­ness to the ground by not allow­ing them to import goods. To make mat­ters worse, black cus­tomers favored the Kore­an busi­ness because their goods were… Read more »
Let us remem­ber that in our com­mer­cial for-prof­it nation, mon­ey talks. It is our oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­tin­guish who we are as con­sumers and where our val­ues lie. I’m sure you’ve heard about the Birm­ing­ham bus boy­cott. It was not suc­cess­ful just because they were stand­ing up for Rosa Park’s dig­ni­ty and the rights of the com­mu­ni­ty, but because the city of Birm­ing­ham under­es­ti­mat­ed the pow­er of its most loy­al patron. It start­ed a move­ment. We are the move­ment, whether by choice or by chance. We must remem­ber to stay loy­al, remain informed and demand the BEST. We deserve to be… Read more »

My only con­cern is that these com­pa­nies always sell to the high­est white bid­der. If i’m not mis­tak­en, CurlyN­ic­ki has already done that. It’d be nice if they remained just as they start­ed, black owned and cater­ing to black women. Time will tell.

Cheryl Denise

I agree.

I got sense!
Yes, curly Nik­ki was bought out. They are not part­ners. Nat­u­ral­ly curly owns it. Also car­ols daugh­ter sold to a white com­pa­ny too. This is what hap­pens. We don’t hang on to our com­pa­nies, pass them down with­in the black com­mu­ni­ty and then turn around and com­plain about no jobs, no mon­ey, and bad neigh­bor­hoods. Stud­ies have con­sis­tent­ly shown that a white owned com­pa­ny will hire less than 30% minor­i­ty (that means all minori­ties not just black) while a minor­i­ty owned busi­ness hires about 60% minor­i­ty. If we want to secure our children’s future and real­ly get our com­mu­ni­ties cleaned… Read more »

I didn’t CurlyNik­ki was sold or Carol’s Daugh­ter until I read this thread again. I know Carol’s Daugh­ter received an invest­ment from Will Smith, Jay Z, and a cou­ple of oth­er famous­ly rich peo­ple, but do you know who the com­pa­ny was that bought them?

I remem­ber many, many years ago; maybe 15 years ago when I first heard of Carol’s Daugh­ter. My mom took me to the store, which at that time was a lit­tle shop in a brown­stone if Fort Greene, Brook­lyn. Fast for­ward some years and I was shocked when it was sold (not sure who) but not in a bad way. Many small com­pa­nies, will sell out to larg­er ones if giv­en a chance and it’s not easy to turn down a large lump sum check being waved in your face. Unfor­tu­nate­ly there aren’t many large com­pa­nies that are black owned… Read more »

Cor­rec­tion: I didn’t *know*

Molly B

@ EG I’m a lit­tle con­cerned about the same thing. I real­ly hope it doesn’t end up that way.


But what do you mean by Curly Nik­ki has done that? I’ve noticed her site has changed to include most­ly filler posts and “per­son­al” pho­to posts which always turn out to be about some celebri­ty event she was invit­ed to. Is there more to this I don’t know??


CurlyNik­ki was bought by the white owned (but curl friend­ly) web­site Nat­u­ral­ly­Curly. Some believe that since this merg­er, the con­tent on CurlyNik­ki has tak­en a nose dive. 

Note: This is what I’ve read and heard because I nev­er read CurlyNik­ki before the merg­er. I am still an avid CurlyNik­ki read­er.


I for one still love CurlyNik­ki, too, as well as this site! Why do peo­ple always come on anoth­er nat­ur­al hair blog to diss anoth­er nat­ur­al hair blog­ger? Bog­gles the mind! I swear some peo­ple need to get a life! That is the one rea­son why Black folks can’t get ahead, because there is always a hater try­ing to bring them down. If some­one don’t like CurlyNik­ki, per­haps you should start your own blog, so you can take it in the direc­tion you feel it needs to go. Come on, peo­ple! SMDH!

I don’t think she’s say­ing that at all. She’s say­ing that she “read” that CN was bought out & that the con­tent has changed. I like the vast major­i­ty of nat­ur­al sites, but it would be tremen­dous­ly trag­ic for them to sell “to the high­est white bid­der” — {a fav quote from EG’s post above}. We’ve seen this hap­pen in his­to­ry so many times over. And that’s NOT what they do in their com­mu­ni­ty. They hold onto their com­pa­nies & cor­po­ra­tions to pass onto their fam­i­lies; so that they are not start­ing from the bot­tom up. But I hope that… Read more »



No diss­ing here. Just thought I missed some­thing. I found CN through Nat­u­ral­ly a lit­tle over a year ago so I guess that was after the merg­er. The only evi­dence I’ve seen late­ly of any­thing out of the ordi­nary is her change in post­ing style and the curi­ous link to at the bot­tom of Nat­u­ral­ly Curly site.

Any site will change and evolve with a big­ger read­er­ship but as K.G. said we shouldn’t just turn a blind eye to those changes with­out ques­tion.


I am famil­iar with the deal with CurlyNik­ki worked out for her site and she wasn’t bought out. She is a part­ner in the NC web­site. Which is why her link is present on her site and her oth­er affil­i­a­tions like Essence. Say­ing she was bought out makes it seem like she hand­ed the site over. She still runs her site even it has changed…not the NC web­site. She finan­cial­ly ben­e­fit­ed through part­ner­ship while main­tain­ing some auton­o­my of her own site. I don’t real­ly see the prob­lem with this.


Thank you for clar­i­fy­ing Raina. :) Again I had no prob­lem with this and was just curi­ous.

Rachel M.

I’m sor­ry Raina, but CurlyNik­ki was PURCHASED by

The issued a press release after the sale announc­ing this. CurlyNik­ki doesn’t have a stake in Nat­u­ral­ly­Curly, there is no part­ner­ship.

I’m not say­ing it’s right or wrong, but I just want­ed to cor­rect your state­ment.

I heard that Nik­ki is part own­er of as part of the deal. That is that she has a piece of This actu­al­ly hap­pens all of the time in acqui­si­tions and that to me, seems like a very smart move. So just bc your busi­ness is pur­chased does not mean that you have no rights to it or it’s prof­its, it all depends on the con­tract you signed. The ques­tion is did she sign a good con­tract. I also heard that she had one of the best intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty lawyers in the Research Tri­an­gle, which has many high… Read more »

Raina is right.–10.pdf .

Nat­u­ral­ly­Curly owns Curly Nik­ki. Also, it sup­pos­ed­ly bankrolls Nat­u­ralChi­ca and Taren too. SMDH.


“some auton­o­my” should be “auton­o­my.” She runs her site.

Annie L.

You will nev­er find me cry­ing for multi­na­tion­al cor­po­ra­tions which use their enor­mous wealth and influ­ence to cre­ate slant­ed pol­i­cy to ensure their monop­o­liza­tion over mar­kets — so viva the rev­o­lu­tion!

The great­est thing is con­sumers find­ing their voice again after years of prod­uct choice and indi­vid­ual inno­va­tion being dom­i­nat­ed by ‘the smartest guys in the room’. We dic­tate the terms to busi­ness­es vying for our sup­port, not the oth­er way around, and I’m hap­py to see that most of these Black-owned busi­ness­es under­stand this.

Lillian Mae

This arti­cle shows that we have buy­ing pow­er as Black Amer­i­can women. I hope we con­tin­ue to use our pow­er wise­ly!

I love it!


+1! I hope this is the first step to our folks har­ness­ing our buy­ing pow­er and tru­ly under­stand­ing the con­trol it brings if we use it wise­ly!!!!!


I agree, it’s so awe­some to see how much pow­er we have. Espe­cial­ly when being on one accord.


Not reli­gious or any­thing, but David ver­sus Goliath any­one?


O, hap­py day!!!

Now, we just got­ta stay on our cur­rent course of buy­ing from black-owned/ oper­at­ed com­pa­nies and lift our voic­es loud­ly and clear­ly that WE want these com­pa­nies to remain black-owned and oper­at­ed. YAY, Sta­sia hap­py=)!!!

Cheryl Denise

I like this!

Total­ly! Not just black women but women of all races with high­ly tex­tured hair are edu­cat­ed cus­tomers now and they want some­thing that will work for what they already have. I mean now that there is proof out there for the past few years that nat­ur­al hair too can grow and flour­ish many are let­ting go of the cau­ca­sion owned ‘eth­nic’ prod­ucts that have noth­ing but crap ingre­di­ents in them and opt­ing for prod­ucts owned by peo­ple who serve these women. The plus of course is that they look like us as well, cuz who knows you bet­ter than peo­ple… Read more »

that is good news.I for sure will keep encour­ag­ing black owned busi­ness­es.