The recent launch of Rihanna’s makeup brand Fenty Beauty delivered a masterclass in how to celebrate and cater to your consumer, all of them.

We can only hope that mainstream beauty brands were taking notes because it’s clear that they can no longer underestimate the huge buying power of the black woman. One area that we display this spend in a big way is evidenced through the increasing commerce around the natural hair movement.

New research by Mintel (global market intelligence agency) highlights some interesting facts. While it’s not news to naturalistas about the vast sums we spend on our fabulous hair, you may pause when you learn that black haircare regimes is boosting shampoo sales in the US to reach $437 million.

The study showed that the surge (13% between 2015-2017) is mainly caused by the popularity of the natural hair movement because we are now washing our hair more often than we used to, which means that sales of shampoo has shot through the roof, making it the most popular item in black hair care regimen. The research revealed that; “Black consumers spend an average of 63.1 minutes on basic hair maintenance on “wash day” compared to just 21.2 minutes if and when they style their hair on an average day.” “Shampoo is no longer a basic product used merely for cleansing, but rather the foundation for establishing healthy hair, all the way through styling.”

38346904 - close up portrait of an african beauty woman with curly hair posing with hands by face - Natural hair movement drives sales of shampoo skyward
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So, with us now washing our hair more often it makes sense that sales of conditioner and styling products would rise as well. “Conditioner sales hold an estimated 19 percent of the market in 2017 and are expected to grow 3.5 percent this year to reach an estimated $491 million.”

Another interesting, but not altogether unexpected fact is that sales of relaxers in the black haircare market have plummeted 36.6 percent between 2012-17, but is still expected to reach $525 million.

The survey also showed that while black women are gradually parting ways with relaxers, we are still enjoying wearing our hair straight. Interestingly, a third of those surveyed wear their hair in a straight style by applying heat to their natural hair.

It’s great to see the growing willingness of women of colour to embrace our natural crowning glories. Along with the wish to adopt relaxer-free styles and pride in our natural kinks and curls, a healthy head of hair is evidently very important to us too. The versatility of black hair means that we can have our cake and eat it too.


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