BGLH, product recommendations, small business spotlight
Round 2: 9 More Amazing #NaturalHair Small Businesses to Support9:09 AM
Article also available on Black Girl with Long Hair!
Never in a million years would I have imagined that my first small business feature would be embraced so widely, and so unanimously supported by everyone. I think it's pretty safe to say that the small businesses featured all share three amazing qualities:
1. They produce high quality, effective products
2. They use superior ingredients with proven benefits
3. They care about making natural hair healthy
Not to mention, all the owners themselves are natural and use their own product as living proof.
Without further delay, here are 9 more amazing, super high quality small business brands worthy of our support. They deliver amazing products with impressive ingredient lists, and even more impressive results.
Note: Just like part I, this list is by NO means conclusive. There are tons more, and I would love to hear from you all exactly who they are :-) In fact, there is a part III coming. And this list is in no particular order!
The Backstory: Back in 2004, Felis Butler began her mission to cater to kinkier textures of hair. She believed that naturals in the 4c category had become the most frustrated with this texture, even though there was no reason to be. Pulling from her background as a historian, she was inspired by indigenous ancestors who embraced their hair in all of its textures. With the right combination of ingredients, Butler was able to create a rich, multipurpose, top of the line brand of products for the ingredient-conscious natural. She believes that the combination of the right products, a supportive community and the rejection of negative self talk will help Black women come full circle.
Benefits: Qhemet Biologics was the first natural haircare line to feature MSM, which is essential for hair growth and health. QB is also shea butter-free, vegetarian,cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and formulated specifically to address the needs of those struggling with dry, tangle-prone hair. The products also conform to the stricter EU and Japanese cosmetic saftey standards, which means they do not contain mineral oil, silicones, sls, phthalates, parabens, dmdh hydantoin, triclosan, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, diazolidinyl urea, or imidazolidinyl urea.
Best Sellers: The hands-down best seller is the Amla & Olive Heavy Cream ($17), a favorite among those who find it difficult to retain moisture in hair. Along with the Heavy Cream, I found a new home in the Aethiopika Hydrate & Twist Butter ($14) and the Burdock Root Buttercream ($16). Qhemet Biologics definitely delivers on the promise of moisture with each product. I didn't need to refresh, re-apply, or anything between washes. And a little bit most certainly goes a long way. What I found to be incredible was that even though my natural hair was THOROUGHLY moisturized, it didn't weigh down my heat damage and make it look like wet noodles. In fact, I got a pretty amazing twist-out when I wasn't even planning to (sometimes the best hair days happen that way). Products that are able to cater to multiple textures are definitely a winner in my book. By the way, Aethiopika Hydrate & Twist Butter is a miracle end sealer, and slicks edges!
Where to Buy: Qhemet Biologics is available online at www.qhemetbiologics.com, and in a number of stores across more than 20 states. There is some international availability as well! Click here to see if there is one near you.
Backstory: Inspired by her love of cultures, traditions, and the natural richness of African design, Ayo Ogun-McCants created Soultanicals afro-vegan hair and body products. The Soultanicals line features products with botanical ingredients, bright designs and fun names, inspired by Ayo's own earthy, fun, and afro-original nature. Soultanicals products are made for naturals of all textures and lengths who want to experience high-quality handmade natural products, while promoting self-love and wellness.
Benefits: Soultanicals' products are handmade fresh with 100% botanical (vegan) ingredients. They do not include phthalates, parabens, sulfates, petroleum, mineral oil, glycols, or other controversial ingredients. The products are all 100% toxin-free, cruelty-free, vegan, and do not contain artificial preservatives, fragrances, or dyes.
Best Sellers: Soultanicals hallmark products include the Knot Sauce Coil Detangler ($13), Marula-Muru Moisture Guru ($14), Hair Sorrell Knappylicious Kink Drink ($12), and Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious ($14). Before I get in to which products I adore, I just wanted to stop and recognize that EVERYTHING in this line smells AMAZING. There is a light, sweet aroma that makes you feel good about using it. Positive vibes do come in a jar. The Knot Sauce detangles like a dream, while still managing to be lightweight and moisturizing (a top pick for my pre-poo/detangle time). The Fluffalicious Curl Nutricious defies logic, proving to be incredibly moisturizing but feeling super lightweight. It wasn't mentioned by I absolutely ADORE the Curl Blaze Hair Glaze ($13) - it makes for an amazing wash n' go. I have so much more to say about the Soultanicals line...stay tuned for an in-depth review.
Where to Buy: I really wish Soultanicals was available in my local Sprouts or Whole Foods, because I'd be there right now to pick up some more Curl Blaze Hair Glaze. Until that day comes (please, Jesus), you can I can stock up on Soultanicals goodies online at www.soultanicals.com
All Things O' Natural
Backstory: In March of 2011, Dominique Harris and her husband launched All Things O'Natural with the vision and intent to support the healing of mind, body, and spirit from a holistic perspective. The Harris' believe that total wellness and balance are of incredible importance, and the All Things O'Natural line of hair and body products focuses on rejecting the synthetic and non-natural, while embracing the natural goodness of the Creator. For them, natural is a lifestyle -- and hair is just a part of it.
Benefits: All Things O'Natural products are all handmade, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and do not contain silicones, mineral oil, petroleum, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, phthalates, PABA, or parabens. They also measure and indicate the pH of all products on their labeling (which I find to be really cool). All products are also available in a fragrance-free option.
Best Sellers: Simplicity is key to the All Things O'Natural brand, therefore they only produce 5 products and all of them sell amazingly well. The pH balanced products work well on multiple textures, as proven by their natural, relaxed, transitioning, and ethnically diverse customer base. My absolute favorites are the Natty Moist ($17) and Natty Cupuacu & Rhassoul Deep Conditioner ($20). The Natty Moist is an amazingly versatile product that can be used for pre-poo and detangling (the slip is off the chain!), as a leave-in, or daily moisturizer. It can even be used as a skin lotion! Above all else, the Natty Cupuacu & Rhassoul Deep Conditioner has stolen my heart. Not only does it smell like a tootsie roll, it is incredibly moisturizing, and surprisingly curl defining. Dominique shared the wash n' go secret with me on Instagram, and I haven't looked back since.
Where to Buy: All Things O'Natural is available at a select few retail locations, but all of their offerings are available online at www.nattynatural.com. To see if there is a store near you, click here!
Backstory: Throughout the 90's, Saleemah Cartwright worked as a licensed cosmetologist and noticed an alarming trend of breakage and damage with many of her new clients. She discovered that her clients were unaware of the necessity for a protein-moisture balance within the hair, or how to maintain it. After trying a number of products on the market on both her and her clients' hair, Saleemah found that most products were either too moisture heavy, or too protein-heavy -- both leading to breakage. As a solution, she began making a moisturizer for her clients in her basement, experimenting and incorporating some of her favorite natural ingredients, aimed at helping their hair flourish. This product, the Daily Moisturizing Growth Lotion gained popularity among her clients, friends, and family. From that one product, the Hydratherma Naturals line was born.
Benefits: The entire Hydratherma Naturals line is focused on creating the perfect protein-moisture balance in all types of hair textures. All products are pH balanced, paraben, mineral oil, and petroleum free. All Hydratherma Naturals also contain Emu Oil, which assists in the stimulation of hair growth by increasing circulation and moisture in the scalp. It has anti-inflammatory and anti- aging properties, soothes the scalp, contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Where to Buy: Hydratherma Naturals is available at tons of retailers nationwide, and some international locations. Even if there isn't a store near you (find out here), you can always order them online at www.healthyhairjourney.com.Ynobe Shop
Backstory: Ynobe Shop founder Ebony Johnson has always made her own products for her hair. Once she began spreading the love to her friends and family, a growing number of inquires came about. She was frequently asked if her products were for sale, and would always reply no. That would generally be followed by prompts and encouragement to start doing so. Eventually, she embraced the entrepreneurial call, and decided to research, brainstorm, and plan. Shortly thereafter, Ynobe Shop products were sold on Etsy. After gaining more popularity, Ebony branched out to her own website and online shop.
Benefits: All of Ynobe Shop's products are handmade to order, and even include a date stamp on the label letting you know exactly how fresh your goodies are. In addition to being handmade, Ynobe Shop products are also free of silicones, mineral oil, petroleum, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, phthalates, and parabens. Ynobe Shop also offers an eco-friendly container reuse program. When you ship back your empty product containers, they are sterilized for reuse and refilled with your products of choice -- and you receive free shipping and a 10% discount. For the ingredient sensitive, there are also glycerin and protein-free options for products that contain those ingredients.
Best Sellers: The Amla & Nettle Moisturizing Deep Conditioner ($14) and Lemongrass & Avocado Flaxseed Smoothie ($9) are Ynobe's best sellers. I must say that I absolutely ADORE both products. The Amla & Nettle Moisturizing Deep Conditioner was the perfect consistency (thick and creamy without being stiff), went on like a dream, had great slip, and left my hair soft and shiny as all get out. The Lemongrass & Avocado Flaxseed Smoothie gave me a great change of pace from my traditional super-defined wash n' go curls. The smoothie gives me soft, ultra moisturized curls (without weighing my hair down or giving me the greasies), with tons of body and volume -- and no buildup. Plus, I didn't need to refresh my hair the following days.
Where to Buy: Ynobe Shop products are available exclusively online at www.ynobeshop.com.
Backstory: When Eddie was in her twenties, she suffered severe hair loss and damage due to an allergic reaction to bonding glue; her hair went bald in the crown and thinned severely throughout. After purchasing every product that claimed it would grow her hair back, going through steroid injections in her scalp, and undergoing infrared light therapy, without much success, she decided to wage war against her hair loss. Eddie tirelessly researched ways to grow her hair back longer stronger and healthier. During her journey, she discovered priceless information about ingredients that stunt and promote hair growth, how to detect follicle disorders, and illness that impede hair growth. In 2007, she compiled all of her research and authored a guide to empower women in transitioning from chemicals and growing healthy hair, Relaxed or Natural, You Can Have Beautiful, Healthy Black Hair. That same year, Eddie began mixing ingredients to make products for herself to promote growth, thickness, and strength. Once everyone around her began to see the results of her product, the demand was created and Sweet Nature By Eddie came to life.
Benefits: All of the products in the Sweet Nature By Eddie line are infused with MSM, which is proven to support the growth of hair. Additionally, Sweet Nature By Eddie products are all free of silicones, mineral oil, petroleum, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, phthalates, and parabens.
Best Sellers: For the Sweet Nature By Eddie line, the best sellers are the Inspiration Shampoo ($15), Love Deep Conditioner ($10), and Dream Cream Moisturizer ($15). I personally enjoyed the Dream Cream Moisturizer as a mid-week refresher, because of its consistency. I found it to be a thorough moisturizer that didn't weigh my hair down. For me, the star of the show was the Wisdom Moisturizer ($15). It is a butter, but not incredibly heavy. It was an awesome moisturizer for my flat ironed hair (see, I told you it wasn't heavy!), and also worked great at providing a light hold on my edges. Unlike typical butters, it didn't lock moisture out of my hair, but rather felt more like a moisturizer and sealer all in one!
Where to Buy: Sweet Nature By Eddie products are available online at www.sweetnaturebyeddie.info.
Backstory: Kurlee Belle founder Terrinique Pennerman has always had a love for beautiful hair. Growing up on a small island in The Bahamas, she spent countless hours on Saturdays in the local beauty salon with her mom. As she sat in the salon, she would witness dozens of women getting their hair chemically and heat straightened in the name of beauty. What she, nor anyone else understood at the time was the amount of damage these processes cause. When Terrinique finally decided to embrace her natural hair, she discovered that there were no products on the market that were made from natural ingredients, or that even worked. She began seeking out natural ingredients that were familiar to her on the island in early childhood - like honey, aloe, avocado, and eggs. Her primary focus was making deep conditioning treatments and moisturizing creams to keep hair nourished. When Terrinique launched Kurlee Belle in 2009, she did so with research, recipes, and products inspired by The Bahamas.
Benefits: The Kurlee Belle product line is driven by high quality ingredients and integrity. They do not include parabens, sulfates, paraffin, phthalates, mineral oil, PABA, DEA, synthetic color, propylene glycol, or petroleum. Kurlee Belle products are also vegan and gluten-free.
Best Sellers: The Thirsty Kurls Leave-In Conditioner ($14) is the #1 Kurlee Belle seller. Many naturals and popular bloggers call it their holy grail leave-in, and one of the best products of 2013. I totally cosign on the leave-in. It is absolutely divine in terms of providing moisture and softness to the hair. But for me, the holy grail must have of the Kurlee Belle line is the Banana Nut & Avocado Deep Treatment ($16). To date, it is the best pre-poo product I have ever used. It has amazing slip, leaves hair soft, shiny, and makes detangling a breeze. It was so amazing, I almost didn't want to rinse it out of my hair. And I definitely almost shed a tear when I used the last of the jar.
Where to Buy: Kurlee Belle products are available exclusively online at www.kurleebelle.com.
Camille Rose Naturals
Backstory: The Camille Rose Naturals line of hair and body products was inspired by two major driving forces - her grandmother, Camille and alarming stories from her husband. Her grandmother was the original 'Mixtress' of the family, creating natural, home-made treatments to care for and improve the health of loved ones. Janell's husband, an oncologist would come home with stories about different cancers - which led her to believe there must be a correlation between what we put in/on our bodies and how we feel. Inspired by the natural hair revolution and the extreme humidity in Louisiana, Janell founded Camille Rose Naturals in 2010 with the aim of developing handmade hair and body products for modern natural hair sophisticates who care about their total health, beauty, and wellness.
Benefits: All Camille Rose Naturals products are handmade, which is pretty amazing considered the widespread availability (you'll know what I'm talking about soon). All Camille Rose Products are free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, propylene glycol, petroleum, and other synthetic ingredients. Because Janell herself is a dedicated vegan, her products are vegan as well.
Best Sellers: Popular Camille Rose Naturals products include The Algae Renew Deep Conditioner ($20), Curl Maker ($22), Fresh Curl ($14) and Almond Jai Twisting Butter ($17). Admittedly, I am a total fan of the Algae Renew Deep Conditioner and Fresh Curl. The Algae Rnew makes an amazing pre-poo or deep conditioning treatment. It left my hair super soft, and my curls were springy and defined. It also made my hair feel like it was infused with moisture that was built to last for a few days. Paired with the Fresh Curl, my hair was in moisture heaven. Although the consistency of Fresh Curl seems light and unassuming, it packs a moisturizing punch making it a great leave-in or moisturizer. It's actually in my hair right now and I can't stop touching it! It also has pretty good slip, and can be used for mid-week detangling sessions.
Where to Buy: Camille Rose Naturals is probably one of the more accessible small business brands. You can purchase online at www.camillerosenaturals.com or in select Target and Whole Foods stores. Click here to see if the line is available in a major retailer near you!
My Honey Child
Backstory: The My Honey Child line was founded by salon owner with a brave streak, Krika Bradsher. Krika herself has always been natural, but had regularly styled relaxed clients. Over time, she grew fed up with clients who would come in suffering from relaxer abuse - meaning they frequently cut corners by using store bought relaxers, and ended up overprocessing their hair and expected Krika to save their tresses. Increasingly, she found there were heads of hair she could not "save", and would tell the clients to transition to natural styling. Naturally, some agreed and some walked away upset. Eventually, Krika transitioned her Sophia Sunflower Salon to an exclusive natural hair salon. This was 16 years ago, and she hasn't looked back since. Her displeasure with the market of available "Black" hair products led her to create the My Honey Child line.
Benefits: The My Honey Child line has the benefit of being developed by a long-time hair stylist and salon owner. Extensive research and experience drives the creation of all products in the line. My Honey Child products are free of silicones, mineral oil, petroleum, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, phthalates, and parabens. The My Honey Child line is great for all textures of hair, especially those craving moisture. It is especially great for transitioners - many of the products are designed with successfully growing out relaxers and damaged hair in mind.
Best Sellers: The best My Honey Child sellers are the Type 4 Hair Crème, Olive You Deep Conditioner, and Coconut Hair Milk. I am an absolute nut for deep conditioners, so my personal favorites are the Molasses Hydrating Deep Conditioner ($18) and Coconut Papaya Hair Paste ($15). As a transitioner, products that cater to my new and damaged hair are automatically high up on my list. I love the moisture, shine, softness, and just everything about both deep conditioners. Stay tuned for in-depth reviews on both!
Where to Buy: In addition to www.myhoneychild.com, the My Honey Child line of products is available at the flagship store of the same name in Raleigh, North Carolina. There are also a number of brick and mortar and online stores carrying the My Honey Child products in several states and internationally. Check to see if there is a store near you here!
All in all, I'm having a blast discovering and showcasing these amazing small business brands. Is one of your favorites not featured? Shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or let me know on Instagram @maneobjective. I'm really serious about this mission to promote supporting Black owned natural hair businesses, with products that keep our hair and health at the center. Sure, the products may cost a little more, but I can without a doubt say that every penny is worth it. My hair has never performed better, shed so much less, been stronger, and retained moisture so well - all of which are major feats for transitioners and naturals. The icing on the cake is truly the ingredient integrity of these brands. None of the brands featured cut corners for the sake of a profit. What more could you ask for?