If you haven’t added Netflix’s Self Made to your binging lineup during your coronavirus induced quarantine, what are you waiting for? The Octavia Spencer-led miniseries follows the first Black hair boss of her kind, Madame C. J. Walker, from her humble beginnings as a washerwoman on her rise to becoming the first African American self-made millionaire.
After you’re finished watching, you’re sure to be inspired (or re-inspired) to shop Black-owned products. Now is the time to indulge in a lush haircare routine while stuck indoors, but before you click “add to cart,” do your part and support some of the Black female entrepreneurs making an impact in the hair industry today.
From Target beloved-brands to newer names on the beauty block—get to know these current Black hair bosses following Madam C. J. Walker’s blueprint in their own way and paving the way for future generations to succeed.
Jasmine Lawrence, EDEN BodyWorks
As far as Black girl hair bosses are concerned, Jasmine has been changing the game for the past 15 years.
“EDEN BodyWorks has been instrumental in promoting education about quality ingredients and how taking care of your mind and body can also have positive impacts on your hair and skin.”
She adds, “I think we’ve also stood out by showing that great products don’t need to be too expensive to be effective.”
At just 11-years-old Jasmine was inspired to create her own natural haircare line to meet her own need for affordable products. By the age of 13 she successfully launched the brand, and today its products (including body care items) are available in retailers like Target, Walmart, CVS, Amazon.com and Sally Beauty stores worldwide.
“Our Coconut Shea line of products has been the most popular. People love the hydrating cleansers like the Cleansing CoWash as well as the flexible styling products like the Curl Defining Creme and Control Edge Glaze.”
Jasmine still owns EDEN BodyWorks while balancing a full-time tech career as the Technical Program Manager on the Blood Donations Team at Facebook. #BOSS
Jamyla Bennu, Oyin Handmade
“Oyin Handmade started in 2005, direct to consumer via the internet. As one of the first internet-based textured hair brands, we served our customers before any major retailers noticed that customers with highly textured hair were a customer force worth catering to,” says founder, Jamyla.
Based in Maryland, Oyin Handmade is made in limited batches out of cruelty-free, moisture focused ingredients, and is gentle enough for the whole family including babies! Still, with more and more mainstream brands coming up with products geared toward textured hair, Jamyla stands firm that her brand fills a space in the Black haircare industry that they can’t.
“Our customers appreciate that we’re family-owned and that our products are artisanal quality and made with food-grade ingredients. Because we’re smaller and DTC, we are also able to be nimble and respond to customer feedback quickly. There’s also a trust that comes with the knowledge that the formulators and makers actually have this hair type and use the products on ourselves and our families.”
So, what are customers loving from Oyin Handmade?
“Our most popular product is Hair Dew, a creamy leave-in moisture lotion for hair. Customers have loved it for nearly 10 years and purchase it in sizes up to our 1-liter refill. Folks love that it’s good on a variety of hair textures, so it can be used for the whole family. It’s also glycerin-free, doesn’t leave a sticky feel, and plays really well with stylers, making a perfect base/moisture layer.”
Psyche Terry, Urban Hydration
What do you get when you combine clean beauty ingredients with philanthropy? Urban Hydration—a collection of plant-based body, skin and hair care products safe enough for the entire family that donates 1 gallon of clean water to a community in need with every purchase made.
The Texas-based brand was founded by philanthropist Psyche Terry out of her passion to give back. “We see other brands doing [similar charitable initiatives] now some 5 years later and we tip our hats to them. It’s an acknowledgment to us that we did the right thing.”
Her products can be found online as well as nationwide at major retailers including Target, Sally Beauty, and CVS locations.
“Our Honey Health & Repair Detangling Spray detangling spray is awesome because it detangles even the toughest to manage hair. Customers love it so much that they use it every day. It’s a great for detangling and great for newly tight scalp braids as a refresher.”
Psyche shares tangible advice for other Black-owned brands looking to get their products in mega-stores:
“Keep it Simple. If you’ve got ten new ideas but your friends and family only really like three, then for a big retailer, you’ve really only got three. Hone it in and make it [your] best. I like to say, ‘don’t let good be a robber of your best.’”
Monique Allen, Natural Beauty
The name Natural Beauty speaks for itself. Monique Allen is a former nurse practitioner who experienced hair loss due to stress. She wanted to find a way to maintain healthy hair while wearing wigs and weaves and hence, Natural Beauty was born seven years ago.
At first, her company only focused on weaves and wigs and then she ventured into creating products. Her popular growth line was created at home in her kitchen and the hair growth oil is a customer favorite.
“Customers rave about how the product actually does what we claim it to do (improve hair growth and thickness). Everyone loves how lightweight the formula is and they are always complimenting the smell.”
Natural Beauty doesn’t just cater to haircare needs from the outside, but with products like their potent biotin drops, the brand goes beyond the surface. Monique stresses the importance of offering both options to consumers.
“What you put inside of your body is just as or even more important than the products you choose to apply on the outside. When you lack certain vitamins and supplements your body, skin, and hair will all begin to show this.
“On top of using the right products for your hair care, it’s important to take a break from constant manipulation to your hair. Low manipulation helps with length retention. While some protective styles such as braids and sewins can cause tension over time, wigs are more of a stress-free protective style.”
Allen’s motto: Take care of your hair and still wear your weave with confidence.
BEAUTIES: Have you tried any of these amazing bossed up hair brands?