The Latest Hair Revolution: A Celebration of Choice, Not Celebrity

The Latest Hair Revolution: A Celebration of Choice, Not Celebrity

The beauty industry is experiencing yet another revolution, with textured hair care evolving from the celebrity talent pool. Gone are the days of struggling to find products that meet the unique needs of Black and Brown hair. Today, we’re bombarded with an abundance of options, and that’s a cause for celebration, not competition.

This explosion of brands isn’t just a trend – it’s a reflection of the immense buying power of Black beauty consumers, which was a staggering $9.4 billion in 2023 with dollar, unit, and household growth outpacing growth for the United States according to a Nielson NIQ report. It’s no surprise that major retailers are taking notice and dedicating coveted shelf space to cater to this underserved market.

The arrival of celebrity brands like Beyoncé’s Cécred and Rihanna’s Fenty Hair has undoubtedly generated significant buzz. While some debate the launch strategies and product performance of these lines, others question if the celebrities themselves are “deserving” of success.

Here’s the truth: the beauty market is vast and diverse. Some consumers will gravitate towards premium, luxury brands like Cécred seeking high performance and a touch of exclusivity. Others will find loyalty in lines like Fenty Hair, offering reparative solution products for various curl patterns at a more accessible price point and distribution. And then there’s the value-conscious consumer who prioritizes budget over brand efficacy and loyalty.

Instead of getting caught up in celebrity endorsements, let’s focus on the bigger picture. Today, we’re no longer forced to settle for subpar options. We have the freedom to experiment, discover, and tailor a haircare regimen that celebrates our individuality.

This latest revolution didn’t happen overnight. We owe a debt of gratitude to the countless Black and Brown entrepreneurs who have been pushing boundaries for years. Pioneering brands like Kreyòl Essence by co-founders Yve-Car Momperousse and Stéphane Jean-Baptiste, Eden Bodyworks by Jasmine Lawrence, Taliah Waajid Brand by Taliah Waajid, TPH by Taraji P. Henson, Sienna Naturals by Issa Rae and Hannah Diop, 4U by Tia Lowry, Pattern Beauty by Tracee Ellis Ross, Carol’s Daughter by Lisa Price, TGIN by Cris-Tia Donaldson, and Mielle Organics by Monique Rodriguez, along with countless others, paved the way for today’s flourishing marketplace. And we can’t forget about our Latinx founders who are changing the haircare game like, Babba Rivera of Ceremonia, La La Anthony of Inala, Julissa Prado of Rizos Curls, Aisha Cebellos-Crump of Honey Baby Naturals and Botanika Beauty, and Lulu Cordero of Bomba Curls.

Ultimately, the true winners in this beauty revolution are us, the consumers. We have the power to choose, to experiment, and to embrace the beauty of our coils in a multitude of ways. So, let’s celebrate the options, honor the pioneers, and most importantly, celebrate ourselves. The future of textured hair care is bright, and it’s a future built by and for us.

Zenda M. Walker is the award-winning author of “Zara’s Wash Day” and “Zion’s Crown”-two books in the Know Your Hairitage series. She is represented by The Seymour Agency.

How “Inside Out 2” Makes the Case for Culturally Responsive Content: Lessons for Celebrating Hairitage

How “Inside Out 2” Makes the Case for Culturally Responsive Content: Lessons for Celebrating Hairitage

The “Inside Out” franchise is making it much easier for parents to navigate those tough conversations about emotions. The first movie brilliantly introduced us to the development of a young girl’s emotions. Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear learned to work together to safeguard Riley’s well-being. “Inside Out 2” tackles Riley’s teenage years, where new emotions take center stage, and she grapples with solidifying her sense of self. Enter Anxiety, Envy, Embarrassment, and Boredom (Ennui).

Watching Riley navigate these overwhelming emotions became a powerful metaphor for why I started writing books that celebrate “hairitage.” Through my research and countless conversations with clients over the past two decades, I’ve witnessed firsthand how deeply our hair stories are tied to self-perception. Memories shape beliefs, and the messages we receive about our hair, from family and society alike, have a profound impact.

Some clients I’ve spoken with grew up hearing affirmations about their beautiful, textured hair. For others, the narrative was vastly different. Words like, “ugly,” “difficult,” “messy,” and “unprofessional,” become too often associated with curly, coily, Afro-coily textures.  Some received both positive and negative feedback, leaving them conflicted and perpetually unsure of themselves.

Black women, in particular, face a unique burden when it comes to societal expectations surrounding hair. That’s why it’s crucial for guardians, parents, and hairstylists to be hyper-aware of how they communicate with young people, especially during wash day. Positive experiences, in the emotional and physical developmental stages, can significantly impact a child’s self-esteem.

Inside Out 2” cleverly highlights how our own childhood anxieties and traumas can sometimes resurface and influence our adult decisions. So, how can an adult with insecurities about their own textured hair empower a child to embrace theirs? The movie, perhaps unintentionally, offers a solution: it reminds us that occasional fear, anxiety, disgust, and anger are normal parts of life’s journey. We don’t have to bottle up these “maladaptive” emotions. Instead, acknowledging and accepting them can be the first step towards rediscovering joy. Perhaps this is why many of Riley’s core memories end up including multiple emotions, not just a single emotion formed in isolation.

Our hair wash day memories can embody several emotions, and discovering the joy in the journey is key to trusting the process and embracing our hair in all its glory.

My daughter, Zara, and I confronted the root of our hair insecurities by experimenting with techniques and products, ultimately finding joy in learning about the cultural hairstyles passed down in my family – a connection to a rich ancestral legacy. The experiences of Zara and Zion in my books, “Zara’s Wash Day” and “Zion’s Crown,” mirror this journey as well. While moments of fear, doubt, and frustration may still arise, our heightened awareness and appreciation for our hairitage make it easier to bounce back and rediscover feelings of joy.

 

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