Black-Owned Hair-Care Brands that Should Be on Your Radar

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Anti-Black racism and discrimination against afro-textured hair have always pushed Black people to create what we need for our hair since many mainstream brands offer few, if any, products that work for kinkier textures. When the natural-hair movement resurfaced in the early 2000s, brands like SheaMoisture, Miss Jessie's, and Carol's Daughter provided product formulations that actually worked. Fast-forward almost two decades later and the natural hair-care shelves have expanded greatly to be full of all the leave-ins, deep treatments, and oils needed to nourish our hair, which tends to be on the dryer side.

But here's the thing: Not all brands marked to Black shoppers are always Black- owned. Though originally Black-founded, SheaMoisture and Carol's Daughter are no longer Black-owned. That isn't necessarily a problem, but in an industry that largely still struggles to recognize the unique needs of Black hair, it has caused skepticism among some Black consumers.

Luckily, there is truly no shortage of Black-owned hair brands. In fact, there are plenty that cater to all hair types, so even if you have straight or wavy hair, you can shop with these businesses. Check out some of our favorites instead for all your hair-care needs.

Canviiy

Canviiy was founded by Sherrel Sampson in 2014 after she struggled to find products to deal with her irritated and itchy scalp. The brand currently sells two oil-based serums, a foaming treatment, and a shampoo bar that are designed to help soothe and nourish the scalp. Digital editor Jihan Forbes is a huge fan of the lightweight Scalp Bliss Organic Serum, which is formulated with aloe leaf juice, witch hazel, manuka honey, and peppermint oil. "The pointed nozzle makes application super easy. I squeeze, then gently rub the solution in. Not only does it smell divine, but it gives you a cooling sensation for hours," she previously shared.

Bask & Bloom Essentials

After struggling with dry, brittle hair due to postpartum shedding, Candera Thompson started to look into ingredients that she hoped could provide a solution. That research helped her make the decision to launch her brand, Bask & Bloom Essentials, in 2014 with only two products: More Moisture Cream and Stimulating Hair Oil. Today, the brand offers 12 products for washing, conditioning, and styling.

Kinky Tresses

Dryness is basically a given when it comes to curls and kinks, especially type 4 hair. Shawna Moses founded Kinky Tresses to offer products that would moisturize and nourish kinkier textures. The brand offers five hair products that cover the basics with a shampoo, conditioner, hair butter, leave-in milk, and multi-use oil treatment. The Coconut Mango Hair Butter is a fan-favorite styler, thanks to the combination of nourishing butters (mango and shea) and hydrating oils (broccoli seed, coconut, argan, and castor).

Alaffia

In 2003, Olowo-n'djo Tchala founded beauty brand Alaffia to provide hair-, skin-, and body-care products using one staple ingredient: shea butter. The brand sources this natural ingredient through cooperatives in the West African country of Togo. The Beautiful Curls collection was specifically created for type 2 to type 4 hair and contains 10 products, like the Curl Reviving Tonic made with aloe vera juice to refresh and moisturize the hair.

Qhemet Biologics

Qhemet Biologics uses hydrating and moisturizing ingredients to create products specifically for type 3C to 4C hair. Founded by Felis Butler in 2004, the brand currently sells 11 products to wash, style, and condition even the driest hair, like the best-selling Amla & Olive Heavy Cream. Its product guide provides recommendations based on your hair texture, porosity, and density to help you create a routine.

Oyin Handmade

Oyin Handmade has been making products for Afro-textured hair since 2001 when it was founded by Jamyla Bennu. The word "oyin" means honey in the Yoruba language, and it's a staple ingredient in many of the brand's products, like the Honey Hemp Detangling & Moisturizing Conditioner that uses the humectant and hemp seed oil to condition hair. Oyin also has body-care options, including a natural deodorant.

Curls Dynasty

Nickie Nougaisse started Curls Dynasty in her kitchen in 2014 and created its first product: a concoction of oils called the Organic Oil Blend. Since then, she's expanded the brand's offerings to eight products that will take you through all the steps in your wash day routine. My personal favorite? The sulfate-free, hydrating Cocoa Mint Moisture Rich Shampoo that has a nozzle cap for targeted application to the scalp.

Naturalicious

Gwen Jimmere launched Naturalicious in 2013 with the goal of cutting down on the number of products she used on her hair. She created two three-step systems for your wash day, formulated for either loose or tight textures. Each comes with a clay-based cleanser, styling creme, and a frizz-reducing serum. You can purchase the three products as a kit or buy them separately. The brand also has a defining gel, scalp oil, and curl refresher.

Ecoslay

Like many others who transition from relaxed to natural hair, Adria Marshall wanted the products she used to be made with all-natural ingredients. In 2015, she created Ecoslay in her kitchen and to this day, she still mixes the products at home. Each one is named after different food items, like the oil-based Hot Sauce pre-poo treatment and the moisturizing Orange Marmalade gel.

NaturAll Club

Founder Muhga Eltigani started NaturAll Club in 2015 by creating deep conditioners with various ingredients, like avocado and other fruits and nuts. The brand expanded to include three collections that each focus on a hero ingredient — avocado, Jamaican black castor oil, or flaxseed gel — that will target your hair needs, whether it's adding moisture or styling your edges. Eltigani recently launched a sister hair-care brand NaturAll Kitchen, which uses CBD in all its products, and will be donating a portion of the sales from the new brand to the non-profit bail relief organization The Bail Project.

The Wrap Life

Headwraps are a good go-to when you're too lazy to do your hair or when your braid-out isn't fully dried. Nnenna Stella launched her accessories label The Wrap Life in 2014. The brand's most recent collections feature subdued prints, like the black and white striped Teshie headwrap, and solid-color options.

Nancy's Kitchen Products

Founder Donna Jenay named her brand Nancy's Kitchen Products after her late grandmother Nancy, who used to do Jenay's hair in her kitchen. The range contains six products: a shampoo, conditioner, three stylers, and a hair oil. The fan-favorite Silk Buttercream Curl Smoothie uses shea butter, olive oil, and rosemary essential oil to moisturize hair while also providing a soft hold. Nancy's Kitchen also has a beard-care line called NKP Men.

CurlMix

CurlMix was initially founded by Kim and Tim Lewis as a monthly subscription box service that included natural ingredients and recipes which let their customers create their own hair products. But in 2018, the Lewises launched their own collection. The brand has five different four-step kits with everything you need to get the wash-and-go of your dreams. Each contains a shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and gel, which you can also buy separately, if you want. Outside of the kits, you can scoop up one (or a few of) the oil-based serums they offer.

Grace Eleyae

Grace Eleyae started her namesake brand in 2014 because she wanted a hat to protect her fragile hair, but many of the ones she used were made of materials that did the exact opposite. It all started with the original satin-lined Slap and expanded to a whole line of other hats and even pillow cases. The brand is also selling satin-lined cloth face coverings to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Adwoa Beauty

There's something striking about Adwoa Beauty's minimalist packaging, which stands out amid the many hair-care brands that lean toward bright colors. Founder Julian Addo wanted hair products that worked on kinkier textures and looked chic enough for a shelfie. The brand currently offers six products under its Baomint collection, which gets its name from the ingredients used: baobab oil and a cocktail of spearmint, peppermint, and wintergreen essential oils.

Design Essentials

Design Essentials has been around since 1990, when it was founded by Cornell McBride to provide salon-quality products that work for all hair types. It has nearly everything you could need — even products specialized for extension and wig care like its Moroccan Oil Detangling Blow-Dry Conditioner. Its latest Avocado & Almond collection uses both avocado and almond oils to repair and condition damaged hair.

Alikay Naturals

You can thank Rochelle Graham-Campbell for creating the L.O.C. method, a three- step process to moisturize curls using a liquid or milky leave-in, oil, and cream — and for creating Alikay Naturals. The brand sources natural and organic ingredients for its products that cleanse, condition, and strengthen curls. The brand's fan-favorite deep treatment, called the Honey and Sage Conditioner, softens and restores dry hair by combining hydrating powers of honey with babassu, sage, and extra virgin olive oils.

Eden Bodyworks

This brand, started by Jasmine Lawrence in 2004, has six collections formulated to address different hair issues and needs. Eden Bodyworks scalp care products, in particular, are phenomenal because they soothe and hydrate any dryness or itchiness you experience. The Papaya Castor Scalp Massaging Serum — formulated with vitamins A, C, D, and E — feels like heaven when massaged into the scalp.

Glow by Daye

I love a bonnet as much as the next person, especially while I work from home. Glow by Daye offers some of the cutest designs, like its Lavender Thai Satin Bonnet (my personal favorite). Founder Ranay Daye gave the traditional bonnet an upgrade with an adjustable drawstring to customize it to the desired size. You can expand it when you need a little bit of extra room for your braids or twists and tighten it for extra security while you sleep. The brand also sells conditioning caps and hood dryer bonnets.

Ooli

Locs don't always get the love they deserve within the natural hair-care community, especially when it comes to product formulation. The thick creams can leave a white buildup on locs. To change that, Jessica Pritchett launched Ooli with products that are clear and lightweight instead — and you can use them even if you don't have locs. The Loc'd In Leave-In Conditioner moisturizes hair with the help of black cumin oil, aloe vera, and shea and mango butters.

Rucker Roots

Sisters Ellen and Ione Rucker came together to create their vegan brand Rucker Roots that uses ginger, turmeric, and carrot root oils to moisturize and strengthen dry or brittle hair regardless of type. Its GTC Daily Leave-In, which is part of the GTC collection formulated for natural hair textures, will make your curls feel anew when you want to delay washing it for just a few more days.

Uncle Funky's Daughter

You can't miss the distinctive chocolate-brown packaging of Uncle Funky's Daughter. The brand has been around since 2009, but in 2014, Renee Rhoten Morris took over and brought back some discontinued products as well as the original formulation for the Curly Magic Curl Stimulator gel. It continues to be praised by fans for its ability to make curls pop while not sacrificing moisture.

Girl + Hair Under Hair Care

Created by dermatologist Camille Verovic, Girl + Hair Under Hair Care offers targeted treatments to the scalp with nozzles that can be found on the majority of products. The brand makes it super easy to care for and cleanse hair while it's in a protective style. The Under Hair Care system has six products that help cleanse, refresh, and condition the scalp, and convenient travel-size options.

Chocolate Kinks & Kurls

Four years into her own natural-hair journey, Juanita Henderson took the knowledge and experience she gained from teaching others how to care for their coils into launching Chocolate Kinks & Kurls. The brand offers seven hair- care products to cleanse, style, and condition curls. Its Aloe Colada Deep Conditioning Treatment uses both hydrating aloe butter and aloe vera juice with jojoba and carrot seed oils to give hair a much-needed reset on wash day.

Tropic Isle Living

I truly do not know where I — specifically, my hair — would be without a bottle of Tropic Isle Living's Jamaican Black Castor Oil. This stuff has done wonders for my edges and dry scalp. Michael Anthony Hines and Lois Reid-Hines came together to start the brand back in 1992, and since then have expanded from solely selling glass bottles of the oil to incorporating it into stylers, cleansers, and treatments.

Melanin Haircare

You can't talk about the second natural-hair movement without mentioning Whitney White. The hair blogger influenced many people to go natural — myself included — with her own journey and tutorials. But, it wasn't until 2018 that she officially launched her own line called Melanin Haircare. Currently, the brand sells only three styling products and a few head wraps. After just one use, you'll be a fan of the extremely nourishing Multi-Use Softening Leave-In Conditioner that is formulated with moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera, argan oil, and baobab seed oil.

Uhai Hair

Uhai Hair uses baobab oil as the base for all six of its current products. Susan Edwards and her husband, Varsay Sirleaf, initially launched the brand in 2017 in Liberia and, two years later, brought it to the United States. Each product smells absolutely amazing the moment you open it — the perfect mix of floral and sweet aromas. The Oil Blend is a favorite of two ishonest staff members who love how the oils add moisture to their dry scalp without any additional product buildup or grease.

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