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

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

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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


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

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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.


[…] Image cour­tesy of —… […]


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.