CosmoBiz Magazine September 2014 - Page 36

Trends BLACK HAIR BLACK HAIR TRENDS: Relaxers are Out, Natural is In and Weaves are On the Rise T he economic recession has been bad for many industries, but in the case of the black haircare market, it’s as though there were no recession. Seemingly recession-proof industries like the auto market have been crippled by the economic crisis, requiring a government bailout to regain their footing, but not so for the business of dreadlocks, kinky twists, wigs and weaves. The 2012 market report by research firm Mintel revealed that the black hair care industry has been humming right along to the tune of $684 million and is only projected to rise through the year 2017. Even Mintel has had to admit that its report is merely scratching the surface by covering sales from major retailers and mass market brands. Once you get under the tip, a much larger iceberg is revealed, including e-commerce, independent beauty supply stores, weaves and extensions for an estimated $500 billion dollars. Black women’s hair has long been tied to issues of assimilation, status, desirability and economic viability. 36 COSMOBIZ SALON SEPTEMBER 2014 In the 2009 documentary Good Hair, Chris Rock used humor to discuss this very real phenomenon. However, a very interesting twist has developed in the story plot. Black women are still spending the dollars, but more and more they are putting those dollars toward brands they believe in and styles that embrace their natural hair texture. Society has long dictated to African-American women the aesthetic they should be striving for, but the natural hair movement has turned the industry on its ear, and black women have begun to create and adopt a new standard of beauty that demands a market that caters to them. One very telling market trend has been the fall of the relaxer. The “creamy crack” has lost much of its addictive power with relaxer sales plummeting 26% since 2008 and being the only section of the market to drop in sales, according to Mintel. Mintel also points to another major shift in the attitude towards natural hair styles, with nearly half of black women considering natural styles to be “trendy” and “daring.”