I spend a lot of time in Sally’s. In Target. In Ulta. In beauty supply stores in general. If a store has a hair aisle, I’m on it. Perhaps you’ve noticed that stores are cropping up with “Natural Hair” sections on their aisles. It’s been a long time coming… started from “Ethnic Hair” now we here! Haircare for Black women has been a booming industry for decades. In fact, we spend millions of dollars a year just to keep it looking right and tight. Over the past 6 years, we have all witnessed the popularity of natural hair soar — and the subsequent decline in the profitability of perm kits. The dip in sales of relaxers and related straight-hair products coincide with the rise in popularity of natural hair products, bloggers, and vloggers.
There’s nothing like a pinch in the pocket that makes an industry listen. Here are a few lines known for their relaxed products that have rolled out natural lines in an effort to win you back:
1. Naturally Silk Elements
Silk Elements, widely known for their relaxer and heat straightening line rolled out a natural hair line recently. Their line includes Moist Cream Shampoo, Deep Nourishing Conditioner, Leave-In Conditioner Cream, Curl Defining Pudding, and Curling Cream Gel. With all products ranging from $8.99 — $9.99, this is generally accepted as the standard pricing for natural products. Silk Elements got it right when they eliminated parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum and alcohol. Where they missed the mark is not including the oils and extracts that most naturals need to have soft, moisturized hair. I don’t know about you, but if I’m paying $10 for a “nourishing” conditioner, I am expecting some oils, vitamins, a free cup of Starbucks, or something. I’m in no rush to try this line.
No longer do you see the hand in the mirror (fast forward to the 40 second mark), helping ladies turn their played out kinks into buttery smooth straight hair. Dr. Miracle’s recently decided to help ladies embrace their natural textures, through a line including Soft Hold Creme, Weightless Moisture Cream, Boosting and Defining Leave-In Conditioner, Curl Friendly Blow Out Foam, and Strong Hold Gel. This line’s price point falls right in the typical range — $8.99 — $9.89. Unfortunately, many of the Feel It Formula founder’s products contain mineral oil — a red flag for many naturalistas. Whatever natural products Dr. Miracle is dealing out of the bathroom mirror, he can keep. There are plenty of other inexpensive oils that work great on our hair, helping to soften, retain moisture, and nourish — mineral isn’t one of them.
Softsheen Carson is definitely double-dipping in the natural hair care pot. The Dark n’ Lovely brand recently launched their Au Naturale line — Curl Defining Creme Glaze, Coil Moisturizing Souffle, 10-in-1 Styling Gelee, Sheen Sealing Nectar, Hydrating Soak Shampoo, Knot Out Conditioner, and a super cute product label (lol). Their products are all around $9.99 each, again within that general range. The shampoo contains sulfates, and is definitely not worth $10. Some of the other products contain isopropyl (drying) alcohol which is a no-no for those with already dry textures. If I do get around to trying something from this line, it will only be the 10-in-1 Styling Gelee. I’ll pass on everything else. Better yet, I’ll just go for Softsheen Carson’s other natural line (told ya’ll they were double-dipping), Roots of Nature.
This line is currently on clearance at Sally’s. You can find most of the products for $5 or less. I smell a repackaging and new product formulation coming soon. The perm-turnt-natural line rolled out a Smoothing Conditioner, Moisturizing Cleanser, Radiating Gloss, Deep Conditioning Masque, Hydrate My Curls Pudding, and Define My Curls Creme. Apparently, Motions didn’t get the memo about the different needs of natural hair — their conditioner is ‘cone-heavy, and styling products are based in mineral oil.I won’t be going after this line anytime soon. I’ll wait for the new stuff to roll out, and see if it is any better.
The Nothing But line features a Clarifying Shampoo, Healing Mask, Cleansing Conditioner, Mold & Hold Wax, Pure Pudding, and Curl Wake-Up Spray. Just like everyone else, their products are $7.99 — $10.99. With the exception of two products (Cleansing Conditioner and Curl Sealer both contain mineral oil), Sof n’ Free got it right for naturals. The oils may not be as high up on the list as I prefer, and I’m a little concerned about the artificial fragrance, but there are some products in this line that I would give a try. The other bonus here is that Nothing But products don’t contain any artificial coloring, which I totally respect. I personally find it awkward (and a bit alarming) when hair products are artificially colored. What are you hiding? I will definitely be picking up the Nothing But Intense Healing Mask on my next trip to Sally’s.
There’s been a lot of buzz about the salon-level line, Design Essentials. Of all the new lines that have rolled out recently, theirs is easily the most expensive. Their line touts a Moisturizing Conditioner, Curl Defining Creme Gel, Curl Stretching Cream, Curl Enhancing Mousse, Twist and Set Lotion, Daily Moisturizing Lotion, and a Curl Cleanser. Their products start at $12.99 and go all the way up to $29.99. Their line is definitely natural-friendly; not a mineral oil, petrolatum, or drying alcohol found in sight. The Curl Stretching Cream is the $30 product in this bundle. If you’re truly fascinated with sweet almond butter (the base in this product), try Hairveda Almond Glaze for under $10.
Well, it looks like many relaxer-based companies heard the demands for natural hair products loud and clear — from gentle cleansers to hold and styling products. Apparently, some of them haven’t fully gotten the message that there are certain things naturalistas don’t want to see in their products. But at least they are headed in the right direction (so they can take all of our money, haha). What other straight-hair lines have you seen go natural recently?