CosmoBiz Magazine September 2014 - Page 37

Weaves, wigs and hair extensions have enjoyed a steady growth in sales due to their ability to complement the natural hair movement instead of working against it the way that relaxers do. Many black women—even those who primarily wear natural styles—enjoy the freedom to wear straight hair styles, and weaves offer versatility without damaging the hair or requiring a long term commitment. Social media networks have had an undeniable effect on the market, with blogs and YouTube channels devoted to natural hair providing a resource and community for black women free from the influence of mainstream media and commercial interests. These forums allow women to share styling tips and recommend products in an environment where natural hair is encouraged and celebrated. Travis Johng, a researcher for BBIM, notes that the influence of social media on the black hair care market can be a bit of a double-edged sword. BBIM is a research, training and education institute recognized by the Ethnic hair industry. “You have a lot of gurus in social media who have no formal training but are regarded as experts by their followers. It can perpetuate a lot of misinformation when it comes to proper hair care. It’s great that this community and support exists, but I hope that women who rely on these social media outlets for information will focus on the community aspect while maintaining some perspective.” Johng also notes that one of the most important t