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...

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

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[…] 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 –… […]

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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.


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

Madame Patricia David.
Madame Patricia David.

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Madame Patricia David.

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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… 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.… 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… 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… 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.

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.


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

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.


Raina is right. .

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

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 »

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



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?


Correction: I didn’t *know*

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 »
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!


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


+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!!!!!


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.