This week on our socials, we highlighted Madam C.J. Walker, the pioneering businesswoman who founded a line of hair care products for Black women in the late 1800s. At the time, her brand would have been one of a few that catered to the curls, coils, and kinks of Black women’s hair.
Today, a quick browse of the beauty supply store, your local Target, or any number of online retailers will leave you with dozens of hair care brands that have followed in Madam C.J. Walker’s footsteps. So, in the spirit of Black history month and in honor of the grandmother of Black hair care, we’d like to introduce you to a few innovative Black-owned hair care brands that should be on your radar and in your bathroom cabinet.
While working as a nurse in mental health care, One Little Parrot founder Dequnda Smith treated a patient who suffered with anxiety- and depression-induced trichotillomania. The condition causes sufferers to pull out their hair. Eager to help this woman improve her mental health, Smith created a line of haircare products that nourish and hydrate hair, promotes regrowth, and reduces the urge to pull.
The brand’s name makes reference to parrots’ tendency to pluck their feathers when distressed. In addition to supporting those struggling with hair loss, One Little Parrot is dedicated to improving mental health by donating a portion of each purchase to mental health and education initiatives.
Anyone who has been following natural hair bloggers for a while will recognize Leila Noelliste’s brand name. Noelliste’s research into caring for her own tresses led her to mango, shea, and cocoa as key ingredients for healthy hair, and her followers agreed.
The blogger began hand-whipping batches of shea butter, which she sold through her blog. As the brand grew, it evolved into a full line of fluffy whipped butters. The brand offers butters made from dozens of combinations of mango, shea, coconut and other natural ingredients. The butters are food-grade alternatives to more chemical-laden formulas and can be used to moisturize hair and skin.
Gwen Jimmere was one of thousands of women who abandoned chemical relaxers after watching Chris Rock’s ‘Good Hair.’ But she didn’t stop there. Pregnant with her son, she was determined to provide a safer haircare alternative for herself, her baby, and other Black women. The result was Naturalicious.
Naturalicious is a patented three-step haircare system for curly textures. (Jimmere is the first Black woman to own a patent for a natural hair care product.) The system simplifies hair care while maximizing moisture and shine. In addition to the Hair Care System, Naturalicious also offers individual hair and skincare products made with natural ingredients.
If you’re a fan of witty branding, hip hop, and quality hair care products, then you’ll love the Doux. Founded by Maya Smith, a veteran hair stylist who also owns The Doux Salon in Atlanta, this brand offers no-nonsense tried and true products for hair of all textures, from curly to straight.
The product names make reference to 90s hip hop legends and classic songs. Some standouts include Mousse Def Texture Foam, Sucka Free Moisturizing Shampoo, and Fresh Rinse Conditioner. Smith and her husband execute every element of The Doux’s awesome branding, from the clever copy to the gorgeous packaging.
Nancy Twine first began making natural hair products by her grandmother’s side at the tender age of five. Her grandmother was her town’s beauty guru, hand-making products for her neighbors. Twine has turned those childhood memories into Briogeo.
Briogeo stands out because of their product formulation. The brand is gluten-free and mostly vegan, made with ethically sourced natural oils, vitamins, and antioxidants. They also avoid many of the harmful chemicals you’d want to keep off your hair and scalp, including parabens, silicones, sulfates, phthalates, DEA, and synthetic color. They’re cruelty-free too. Safe and effective, Briogeo is haircare you can feel good about.
Though hair has no gender, hair care tends to be marketed heavily to women. Calvin Quallis, founder of Scotch Porter, is changing that story. His line of hair and beard care products are specifically formulated for men, meeting their grooming needs and soothing frustrations like ingrown hair and dull, dry beards.
Scotch Porter’s products are handmade, multi-purpose, and made from botanical ingredients, intentionally leaving out many of the chemicals present in other men’s care brands. And with a mission to make men’s grooming more accessible, the products are affordable and easy to use.
Still on the hunt for your hair’s holy grail? Find these and other incredible hair care brands in our product directory. Got a favorite innovative hair care brand you’d love more people to discover? Drop it in the comments.