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Original MAMMJ Project

Is there money in ignorance?

Not enough information on afro hair care in England may be to blame for corporate afro hair care businesses making their mark-up in weaves and relaxers rather than natural hair products.

A Mintel report states that the Afro hair and beauty business in the UK is worth around £60 million a year, with hair care constituting for a larger percentage of the total market.

With the popular perception that afro hair is unmanageable and hard to maintain the chemical and extension alternatives may be seen as more appealing to Afro Caribbeans, as opposed to wearing their afro hair.

Joycelyn, CEO and Co-Founder of Afrocenchix, said: “In the hair industry it’s the weaves and perms that make the most money. Over 60% of what ethnic minorities purchase is perm. Now it is the Remi weave. That is where the money is.”

“People do not know how to take care of their natural hair because their parents have been relaxing it from when they’re young and don’t want to deal with the hassle, so they just opt for what they think is easier. It does take extra work, but so does relaxed hair. A lot of people with relaxed hair are wearing weaves because they don’t want to deal with their own hair. If you’re going to wear weaves all the time why not just have your own natural hair?”

Afro Hair and Beauty Show organiser, Ms Grace Kelly disagreed.

She said: “There is information out there. Black Beauty and Hair magazine have a regular natural column, Black Hair magazine does also. There is a wealth of information on the internet. I think there is more information now than there has ever been about ways of maintaining, and styling natural hair.”

“I’ve been natural for about 15 years and when I first went natural there wasn’t any information available, now you have blogs, and YouTube. When I went natural I had to speak with hairdressers in order to get the information that I needed, and also it was trial and error. Now a lot of people are sharing information about wearing your hair natural because it’s a journey, and a lot of people want to share that journey. It’s something that I’m sure our mothers and grand-mothers would have loved to have been able to have access to.”

The surge in information available online may shift more power into the hands of the afro consumer to choose weaves and relaxers as a styling choice, rather than a necessity to appear presentable.

Editor of Black Beauty & Hair magazine, Ms Irene Shelley said: “I don’t think it’s a case of focusing on what they know is going to sell, though those products do sell. People still wear relaxers and people still weave their hair but a lot of the natural hair market is slightly diffracted. There aren’t too many large companies that have budgets to take part in hair shows, or advertise in magazines. Consequently you’re not finding their presence in publications, even though people are choosing to wear their hair naturally. It is not reflected in the products that are advertised in the magazines and also not reflected in hair care salons that are able to look after that particular natural hair type.”

The Afro Hair and Beauty Bible author, Ms Alison Husbands said: “If all women see are relaxers and weaves that’s all their going to think is possible to achieve. I think natural hair could be represented more but I don’t think it would really make them much money. It’s obviously better for them if they can encourage people to spend money on weaves, and wigs, and getting hair from Brazil and all these different countries than just looking after your own hair, and growing your own hair. Because there’s not really much money in that, I think they think. It’s about money I think.

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About Combing for Curls

Ghanaian-Nigerian Accra-based natural hair blogger and vlogger. Creator/curator of African culture and political content.

Discussion

5 thoughts on “Is there money in ignorance?

  1. I think there is a lot of money in ignorance, remember the Pink Lotion, I used it religiously for years when I was relaxed and natural, the stuff is a joke it does nothing for black hair but I didn’t know any better. For so many years I wasted my cash on crap hair products even when I went natural I still lathered on the grease. When I had locs I lathered on the grease too, I used to buy my loc products from a website naani.com they never suggested moisturising my hair it was aloe vera gel and hair butter. Now though through natural hair websites I know how to care for my hair and I make my own products.
    So yes there is a lot of money to be made from ignorance of black people when it comes to looking after their hair. Go to any black hair shop, mainly run by Indians and take a look at the products on sale even now they are mainly petroleum based chemical crap and we pay a lot of money for them.
    Even at the Black Hair Show they sell crap products.

    Posted by Natalie | February 28, 2012, 6:19 PM
    • Aaahhh! I remember Pink Lotion well… good times. Yes I agree, as I’m sure many others do, we have wasted a lot of money by not doing our own research. This is what I hope to slowly, but surely, accomplish with this blog. Another thing I believe gets overlooked is taking care of our bodies from the inside out! Our eating habits do reflect in the health of our hair and skin. At the moment I’m using Shea Butter mixed with Jojoba Oil and Almond Oil (which I also use on my skin) and I hope to use more natural ingredients in the future.

      Posted by nwadiogo | March 11, 2012, 11:40 PM
  2. where in england is this place located

    Posted by natakie | August 18, 2012, 12:45 AM

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