Although black women are among the most significant users of human hair extensions, the textures offered don’t meet their requirements. A new generation of black-owned businesses is attempting to alter that.
Whitney Osborne wants a harmonic arrangement and a flawless installation as she updates her wash-and-go with a set of Corkscrew Curl clip-in extensions from her company, Melanj Hair.
According to Osborne, “You want them to integrate when you’re thinking about wearing human hair extensions in any manner, no matter how you’re installing them or how you’re wearing them.” You want the entire thing to appear to be emerging directly from your scalp.
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The 35-year-old and her sister were inspired by the French term mélanger, which means “to mix or blend,” when they founded the brand in 2020. Glossier selected the brand as a recipient of its funding initiative for Black-owned beauty businesses. Melanj Hair offers a variety of tightly coiled to silk-press straightened clip-in and weft human hair extensions.
Most Human Hair Extension Wearers Are Black Women
Black women have long been ardent users of human hair extensions, whether in braids, faux locs, lace-front wigs, or bundles for clip-in, tape-in, or sew-in styles.
According to a recent Research and Markets analysis, “native Africans and individuals of African origin are the leading hair wigs and buyers of human hair extensions” in a market that is anticipated to expand globally at 16 percent annually over the next five years.
Asia-Pacific Area Is the Source of Human Hair
Yet, the study cites the Asia-Pacific area as the top source of human hair used to produce human hair extensions and wigs. Because of this, Black women no longer have a voice about the type of hair they require or want.
In the market for human hair extensions, the Black community has dominated the “end user” component of the supply chain. Still, it has traditionally been excluded from the other steps, such as sourcing, manufacturing, and product development.
Frustration of Textured Human Hair Extensions
According to Aveda’s global artistic director of texture and hairdresser Renée Gadar, “It’s kind of been a dry valley for us for a long time.” We tried to make the most of what we had at the time because the individuals who once provided the human hair extensions we used just said, “This is what you all get.”
Yet, initiatives to give clients various textured human hair extensions have gained traction lately. Takisha Sturdivant-Drew, a hairstylist, credits her unsuccessful hunt for high-quality hair with inspiring the creation of her company, TSD Hair.
She recounts her frustration with textured human hair extensions: “It would frizz up, it would just fray up, it would shed, it just didn’t have a good sheen.” “Maybe it wasn’t real and had synthetic fibers mixed in,” she continued.
Currently, the TSD brand employs 100 percent virgin human hair, free of synthetic fibers, hasn’t undergone any chemical processing, and promises no shedding. Customers and clients can treat the hair like their own by washing, conditioning, and styling it claims Sturdivant-Drew.
“My clients wear the hair for at least two years, so I strongly stand by my human hair extension line. [Internet clients] frequently return because they think, ‘This hair is great!'”
Challenges in Ensuring the Quality of Textured Human Hair Extensions
In addition to these and other prominent online merchants, Osborne points out that buyers with textured hair may now locate a seller who understands their real-life situation while seeking human hair extensions.
According to the brand’s Instagram account, she wears the Melanj Hair extensions, has styled them, and has tried products on them.
Osborne spent months searching for and collaborating with a manufacturer who could support the brand’s goals. “There is a great deal of research and study. You are receiving numerous samples. You test several products and methodologies before settling on the final product line. “
She continues by stating that some of the hair is processed to produce texture. “The fact that Melanj Hair extensions are genuinely different was crucial to establish early on. We don’t merely choose a product from a list and brand it with our name.”
Osahon Ojeaga, the business owner, takes issue with some of the language used on the labels of the human hair extension products. Hair braiding is frequently advertised as “nonflammable,” “flame retardant,” “non-toxic,” and “no odor.” According to her, the business is still failing to understand the needs and desires of black women, as evidenced by the wording in this sentence.
It’s Challenging to Meet the Needs
Talking about the needs and desires of black women, the industry still does not read the room.
According to Ojeaga, “There is no messaging or marketing that speaks to the hair journey that customers are on. It’s incomprehensible to understand how this industry has expanded to such a level while remaining cut off from its customer base.
The relationship between Ojeaga and her potential customers for Nourie, a new braiding hair brand, could not be more robust. She and her crew, primarily black women, dress in protective styles like braids to prevent their hair from harm and reduce everyday hair manipulation.
The Black Braiding Culture
The black beauty landscape includes a substantial amount of braiding culture. Gadar advises her customers to incorporate braids as a preventive style into their seasonal hair routine. However, she adds that sorting through the assortment of materials and selecting high-quality hair can be daunting for braiding hair.
Costs per bundle vary from a few dollars to $16 and beyond, and hair quality can also change. The $1.99 bag of braiding hair, according to Gadar, “will pop and break your hair, and it will take your edges in a flash.”
Ojeaga claims that after removing numerous braids, her scalp was irritated, and her hair was dry, brittle, and damaged. Hence, Nourie was created by her and polymer engineer Mary Ellen Moore, Ph.D., with the comfort of braid wearers in mind. The Nourie brand of braiding hair is made from plant-based materials, and each strand has patented technology that gradually releases nutrients to the hair and scalp.
Niacinamide, for its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory characteristics, and rosemary, for its antifungal capabilities, were among the nutrients Ojeaga and her team used while creating the nourishing complex for the hair. These nutrients also included their own additions.
The 18-inch units are offered from Nourie in two colors: Onyx (1) and After Dusk (1B). Ojeaga claims that she and Dr. Moore purposefully targeted Black women first while distributing what they refer to as their “scientifically sexy” product.
She wonders how often those who develop highly technical advancements consider us. I’m eager for Black women to get their hands on it and read it. “And [Nourie] is an opportunity for it to be different.”
With pre-orders beginning this month, Nourie is among many black woman-owned businesses that have developed products to help other black women feel confident and attractive as they embark on individual journeys to embrace natural curls.
Textured Human Hair Extensions and Culture
The CROWN Act’s failure to receive the votes necessary to pass in the US Senate in December indicates that barriers for black women and women of other ethnicities who present as fully themselves still exist. Yet, stylists like Gadar claim to have observed a cultural shift in which black women and other women of color increasingly prioritize their hair and scalp health over the prevalent “fried, colored, and laid to the side” approach.
High-quality textured human hair extensions have contributed to this change. Now dominating the red carpet and leaving their impact on pop culture, coils, cornrows, and kinky straight blowouts are pretty popular among Sturdivant-clientele. Drew says, “That’s most rewarding for me when I watch them smile and shake their hair and adore the texture.”
“Hair serves that purpose. Tape-ins work in this manner. A sew-in achieves that. A wig achieves this. What a ponytail achieves is that. It brings out in you a confidence that some individuals didn’t even realize they have.”
Textured human hair extensions allow individuals, especially in the Black community, to sport versatile and expressive hairstyles. However, it is essential to prioritize inclusivity and representation in the sourcing and manufacturing processes to ensure black women’s preferences are understood. Promoting diversity throughout the supply chain can create a more inclusive beauty industry. Click to get wholesale human hair extensions from New Times Hair.