Trend To Try or Watch Fly By: The Heat Free Hair Movement

I’ve been natural since 1994 and have gone through different stages of styles.  I’ve had everything from a barbershop cut, to a super huge wash and go but I never shied away from wearing a weave as a protective styling choice.  When I did choose to wear a weave, back then, the textures were limited to super straight, or some wavy texture that never matched my hair.  But nowadays, women definitely have more options when it comes to the texture of hair weave.

One company that is currently catering to the various textures of black natural hair is the Heat Free Hair Movement, started by N-ZO Hair Studios, a Washington DC based salon. They got their inspiration from the countless women who wanted sew-ins as their protective style, but didn’t want to straighten their hair to blend with their style.

From the company’s owner, Ngozi Opara:

I have always believed not only in embracing your natural ‘kinks’ and ‘curls’, but also in the benefits of sew-in weaves as a protective style. At my salon, we call it ‘the ultimate protective style’. Being natural for almost a decade, I experienced my greatest length retention during my one-year weave challenge back in 2005. My hair grew over 8 inches! Since then I have maintained both my hair and the hair of my clients through customized regimens and protective styling. Whether you are transitioning without chopping, growing your hair out, protecting it for a period of time, or considering going natural, The Heat Free Hair Movement provides an option that will allow you to embrace your journey with confidence and style.

Heat Free Hair comes in various textures using the oh so popular numbering system:

This hair reminds me of something Chris Rock said in his documentary, “Good Hair”. Rock joked about black women not wanting to buy “nappy” weave hair, but apparently  it’s selling like hotcakes. With prices ranging from $139 to $199 a pack, there’s currently a waiting list because their product is sold out.

What do you think about the idea of extensions in a more natural texture?

  • Ask_ME

    Anyone else notice that white owned “black” hair companies are now getting in the natural haircare action?

    I saw two commercials yesterday advertising natural haircare products…one of them was for Dark N Lovely. I was kinda of shocked. I also noticed they weren’t as stereotypical (probably not the right word) as the commercials for relaxers (ex. Dr. Miracles).

  • MusiKCityK

    There aren’t many black owned beauty companies as most sold out to the larger beauty corporations. There are many new beauty companies without much advertisement, but with a large following i.e. SheaButter and Miss Jessie’s.

  • MommieDearest

    I’m not a fan of weave, but I say YES to this. IMO it is much better to get hair to match your own texture, like it grows out of your head, than to use hair that is so far removed from your own.

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Oh wow! I think I am love……

    Due to stress from work, school, and family issues, I had massive hair breakage near my hairline = NOT CUTE.

    I had to cover the hair loss with a wig. Now being in NYC, my only options for a wig was one with a bang from Kim Jeong Un beauty supply store and the texture resembled that of Kin Jeong Un – bone straight, yaki, remy, etc. I forgot to mention that my hair is completely natural (4C)

    It’s darn near impossible to find quality human hair that resembles 4A-4C textured hair. You need Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible to find hair like that.

    Glad to see this is now an option and it’s more affordable than all that Brazilian, Remy, Yaki weaves that go for like $400 per pack!

    My question is this: Is this made in the U.S. (or Africa, the Caribbean, etc.)? Basically, is this niche controlled by the same people that grow this type of texture? It’s important because, if you know anything about the hair extension business, it tends to be a monopoly based off of race.

    P.S. Sorry to bring race into this, but it’s true……….

    Eyes Wide Shut

  • Lillian Mae

    Been noticed that one! I also notice they are pushing a particular look for your curls and coils…they’ve just found a new way to get some of that billion dollars a year we spend to look ‘presentable’…

  • Lillian Mae

    I’m curious where the human kinky hair is coming from…Is there a place where women w/ kinky hair donate their locks?

  • The Comment

    Yeah! I was hella shocked too! Loreal has some kind of natural curl line. I was in CVS and tempted to buy it but I thought…..eff ‘em! I stick to my Aveda Dry Remedy that allows me to comb through my hair w/o crying

  • The Comment

    Holy Chit I’m excited! I can finally…. and mean FINALLY get my Sister Sledge ON! YESSSSSS!

  • LemonNLime

    That is exactly what I was wondering! Are naturals gonna have to start worrying about people sneaking up and chopping our hair off like they do in S. Africa, Brazil, and India?!

  • kno

    Yeah, I need to know where the hair is coming from. Are they, still, buying the hair from Asian companies, harvested from people of the Asian race, then manipulated/treated to resemble kinky, curly and coily hair texturs? If so, they’re merely distributors who’ve put their own brand spin on the hair. And they are not different than these other supposed black hair weave lines “Vivica Fox, Syleena Johnson’s new line”…

    Who’s getting most of the profits from that product, the logistics, etc…? Black people?

  • Hmm

    Ugh I’m so not a fan of this “movement”. It’s just another way to garner money from women still stuck on weaves. AND NO! This is not real “african hair” that would be unrealistic considering natural hair is not celebrated like that and retaining length for a company to market. Jut not happening.

    What this is is MANIPULATED Indian hair, for an outrageous price. I’d rather women go to the beauty supply stores and comb out some wet and wavy hair instead.

  • Digg82

    I have never been a weave fan….simply becauase I didn’t like the look of it. But this….this I LOVE the look of and I really want some. I am definitley contemplating for the summer.

  • Lillian Mae

    RE: What this is is MANIPULATED Indian hair, for an outrageous price.

    Do you know that for a fact?

  • MommieDearest

    Re: Where does this hair come from and who profits from it?

    EXCELLENT points! I’m curious about this as well. If it’s the same-old, same-old, just incogNegro, then we’re back at square one. *sigh*

  • Humanista

    Wow! Timely article. I was just considering this today AND I am in the D.C area. I’ll have to look them up!

  • Camryn

    First of all… ALL weave is from countries like India, Brazil, etc… Of course the hair is going to have some type of manipulation, but give props where props are due.

    Ngozi found a company willing to work w/her & develop a texture more similar to black women’s natural hair…and sure…I have no problem in supporting her endeavor..or her black business…regardless of who the middle man may be.

  • Hmm

    @Lillian Mae No, no I do not. But I know that is not OUR hair, and that’s all that matters. Indian,Chinese, whatever.

    It’s just business hon, sure it’s a black woman profiting (along with the real owners/distributors), but how is this any different than those hair care companies suddenly bringing out natural lines.

    Again, it’s just business and if you can market the “right” way to the people, well you’ve won. Heatfreehair puh-lease.

  • df

    and the products are mostly junk too.

  • Nic

    I guess I don’t see why wearing a head full of someone else’s hair is seen as progressive whether it is straight or kinky/curly.
    There is still a mindset that more hair is better which is really I think the impetus behind the use of fake hair.
    I personally don’t care as much about relaxed vs. natural nearly as much as the obsession people have with long hair. If you can grow it, great, but if you weren’t blessed with a thick mane, work with what you’ve got and keep it moving.

  • Nic

    Well, ignoring a large market opportunity is bad business, and it’s actually interesting since in general a lot of companies are okay ignoring “undesirable” customers.

  • Nic

    There is no major hair source of natural black hair that is being sold. You need a solid source to run a sustainable supply chain. Most hair comes from India, where poverty and religious ceremonies provide a regular pipeline.
    A lot of wig hair used to come from Korea but they changed the laws which is why a lot of them switched into the beauty supply products industry (many of the people involved in exporting hair had connections but could no longer send the hair to the U.S.).
    So you are wearing Indian hair that has been processed to look like kinky/curly hair.
    If you want to keep it real, you’ll just wear what you have and grow it out.
    All of this really stems from the black woman’s belief that bigger and longer is better when it comes to hair. No one wants to accept what they have or be patient to see what they can grow.
    I hear too many people who claim to feel ugly b/c they don’t have enough hair, which is ridiculous. If you are pretty, having no hair doesn’t change that.

  • lola289

    So I guess hair textures after 4C gets no luv…

  • Nic

    I agree…it just buys into the obsession that some black women have that more hair/longer hair=prettier hair/better hair.
    I don’t see how evolved you are just b/c you’ve traded in your head full of straight weave in for a head full of curly weave.
    You still have the same hang ups (I know people will howl about protective styling but they aren’t wearing medium or short length weaves which could be equally protective PLUS I don’t see the point of protecting hair that you won’t ever let see the light of day).

  • Nic

    Yes, the one positive is that for people who are always whining about money going into other people’s product she must be profiting nicely from her idea. And she’s definitely tapped into the right market since so many women are obsessed with having hair they can sit on. She’ll make a mint.

  • binks

    Agreed! I’ am not a fan of weaves/wigs (just not my thing)…but getting them that is similar to your texture is a big step in the right direction. I rather see this then a woman rocking a hair texture (and sometimes color) that is incompatible for their overall look. But something tells me that the straight weaves/wigs are still going to be profitable nonetheless.

  • Jasz

    I think a lot of people in the comments need to have a seat. Not everybody wants a weave to emulate another race nor do they do it because they just have to have super long hair. Why can’t black women be afforded the opportunity to wear a weave without being judged? Weave can be used to explore different styles, different lengths(there are very short and shoulder length wigs too!), different hair textures, etc. I don’t wear weave now(I have in the past), but I definitely believe that it is not a sign of self-hatred nor that it needs to be this negative thing. If you only rock your hair then that’s cool, but judging people based on your assumptions is just ridiculous. Like I said I’m not rocking weaves, but I would definitely look into this hair and getting it put in if I ever decide to do so.

  • Ms. Vee

    These weaves are 1000 times more flattering than the typical straight yaki. I’m not a weave fan, but I am down with this. However, as others have commented, we have to pay very close attention to the main financial beneficiaries of our natural hair movement. We should not be supporting Asian/Caucasian profit interests no matter how natural the hair product or kinky the curl.

  • sassychloe

    I love this!! I grew out my relaxed hair about a year ago and it’s been a bit of struggle since then to find the right products to style my hair. But I’m gonna look into this as an alternative.

  • Guest1234


    Oh, stoppit! I’m taking issue with your post.
    1. There’s nothing wrong with being a lesbian. Don’t throw that term around like it’s a pejorative. It isn’t. And it makes you look like an ignorant jackass.

    2. Just because someone appreciates natural beauty doesn’t mean she’s anti-glamour.

    Just have a seat. You’re just completely embarrassing yourself. You can disagree with someone without acting a damn fool, you know. Grow up.

  • SayWhat

    I’m sorry but I cant stand Miss Jessie’s. Their slogan ‘taking you from the hair you have to the hair you want’ irks the hell out of me. They are smart because they tapped into the fact most black women hope they can change their kinky hair into curly hair. But it just feels like they are saying, I know you want good hair like mine, so buy this product and I can help you. The irony is that one of them has a texturizer.

  • Jkristie

    Goooo Ngozi!!! She’s a beautiful person inside and out and I am glad to see her business take off. It literally warms my heart to see black women becoming entrepreneurs especially in an industry like the weave industry…. And the hair looks great!!!! Keep it up and all the haters can take several seats…. Chase after your dream instead of knocking someone else’s.

  • Echi

    If it’s anything like the kinky afro human hair they sell for loc extensions, I’m pretty sure it’s processed human hair from straight haired heads. They may perm it (as in what non-curly haired girls to get their hair curlier) in order to achieve that texture.

  • Il Taker

    LMAO!! Yes girl yessss!!!!

  • Il Taker

    Well I don’t give damn what none of y’all say. Hopefully they restock soon because after I’m through with my twists and braids for the summer, babygirl gonna be getting her Diana Ross on come fall . Imma about to be problem. You hear that got dammit #aboutdamntime#bighairdontcare#sowhatifitsnotallmine#wegonpretend

  • apple

    can african hair even grow fast enough to even sell as fake hair? the supply would never meet the demand, and the prices would be much higher because of the rareness of it.

  • EbonyLolita

    I feel like you’re indirectly saying that Black women CANNOT grow long & “big” hair. Well we can & this is a way to do that. Protective styling is about length retention & allowing your hair to grow in a HEALTHIER manner. Anything that promotes that I co-sign with. I’m currently wearing Senegalese twists & will do so until they look ratty. You know why? When I wear my BIG fro, grown out of MY hair, it starts to break off. So all that growth I had from 2yrs of being natural is going down the drain. We need options in order to maintain our natural hair & this Heat Free Movement is giving it to us. Honey GOOGLE the women w/the longest natural hair. They will tell you they achieve that through protective styling & proper hair maintenance.

  • Sister Truth

    The hair is beautiful, but I cringe when I think about the women whose hair were cut and sold for this and under what circumstances. Regarding human hair that is commercially available, Indian women are usually observing a religious custom when they shave their heads. Other people gather it and sell it, but, unfortunately, they probably don’t make money off it themselves. Then, there are thousands of other women who do cut and sell their hair to earn money to feed and clothe their families.

    My point is, a woman is very attached to her hair, in more ways than one, and consider it to be her crown and glory. Unless she’s cutting it for religious reasons, a charitable cause, a new look, or a medical issue, the circumstances are probably highly desperate. Anyone saw Les Misérables? For these reasons, and these reasons alone, I would feel terrible about wearing another sister’s luscious locks. I get chills when I think about it! I would rather wear a sinthetic kinky-curly weave or braids, but to each her own.

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