I was at a curl party this weekend where the topic of favorite natural hair products came up. Prepared, the natural beauties that surrounded me immediately went in their totes, proudly pulling out the tried-and-true cosmetics that made it into their daily regimen.
It was midway around the circle when most of us had shared beloved finds like Pantene Relaxed & Natural Dry to Moisturized Conditioner and Moroccan Oil, that someone brought up that we hadn’t mentioned any black-owned companies. The response was varied, with some folks offering their support of Curlbox or Karen’s Body Beautiful as proof that they “buy black.” Others shared they hadn’t found black-owned brands that worked well for them or that the black-owned companies they once supported were bought out by big corporations.
As is the case in many African-American families, my parents taught me the importance of supporting black-owned and operated businesses in our communities. For naturals, the idea of “buying black” is even more pertinent, as few natural hair cosmetic brands existed when the movement first gained momentum. We had to create products for ourselves; the mass corporations were not invested in the natural hair market. Now that the pendulum has swung, there is a relative plethora of products for naturals to choose from that aren’t necessarily borne from black-owned and operated companies. Some natural hair women feel inclined to still support growing “black” brands, while others have decided to buy into natural hair lines from some of the larger corporations.