Relaxer Sales Down 30% As Natural Hair Products Flood The Market

hair relaxers aisle in store

Surfing the net recently I came across an interesting piece in the Bloomberg Business week website. Here’s a short excerpt from the article:

In 2009 the comedian Chris Rock created a stir with his documentary Good Hair. In its wake, many turned to the Internet in search of alternatives. In chat rooms on websites such as Curly Nikki and Afrobella, women shared tips for grooming afros and compared mom-and-pop product lines catering to women who’d decided to “go natural.” According to market research firm Mintel Group, in the three years after Good Hair’s release, sales of chemical relaxers fell more than 30 percent.

While I am not sure I agree that the movie ‘Good Hair’ played such an outstanding role at contributing to the drop in sales of relaxers I can at the same time appreciate a good statistic. Now we can actually put a figure into how much the relaxed industry has suffered since women switched to natural in their droves.

Really it is also the first time that I have seen a public acknowledgement in mainstream media of just how powerful the natural hair movement has been over these last few years and what the costs have been on one hand for the relaxer companies and on the other hand the increase in sales for the small mom and pop companies that have been working tirelessly to give us quality products for our natural hair.

The fact that our ‘growing niche’ has made it to mainstream media is very interesting but we still have a ways to go on presenting the correct facts about where the source of the surge in sales comes from and even more appreciation of the work of women who are sharing their experiences everyday on blogs, YouTube, in forums and at meetups.

We cannot deny that when Target and Chris Rock joined the party it absolutely helped to propel things forward for the natural hair movement and small as well as some of the larger hair product companies focused on creating quality natural hair products.

Target in particular has been instrumental in propelling the switch to natural by placing natural hair products in a prominent spot at the end of the hair product aisle instead of in the ethnic hair product aisle. In so doing, they have made curly hair mainstream.

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About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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  1. prieta

    my hair is about 3 inches what can I do to my hair.

  2. BiscuitBunny

    I think it’s great that more women are being convinced that they can wear their own hair without worrying about societal image standards from their family/friends/ colleagues etc. I am natural and have been since 2011 but for me, I have found that I have really looked to specific product lines or manufacturers for help. I use only a few products: a no paraben shampoo (very cheap £2 by Inecto), a conditioner (Tresemme Platinum which I mix with my essential oil mix), a moisturiser (Profectiv does the job, has a lot of essential oils in, lasts a long time). For curly/textured styles I mix a supermarket hair gel with whatever curly pudding I can find, usually cheap. My oil mix is clear castor oil, tea tree oil, and a sweet smelling oil for kids by one of the hair brands (I forget which).

    So I haven’t really looked to the manufacturers for star products that will help me with my hair. As long as I can deep condition well, moisturise and oil, styling is my biggest challenge (esp. with these different lengths all over my head). Overall though, I think it’s great that manufacturers are looking into natural hair as a serious market. However, there are a lot of high price swindle ‘natural products’ out there. I always read the label, to ensure I’m not being cheated into buying something that is just cream with a bit of oil etc…

  3. Keira Bell
    Keira Bell

    Relaxer sales may have dropped but the same people in the “relaxer business” are same ones making bank off products for natural hair as well so technically they aren’t really losing anything in that sense. But at least now we have a number on the effect of the choice to relax. #naturalhairRocks! 🙂

  4. Muriel Oduro
    Muriel Oduro

    The price has to drop as more people go natrual. … lets see how or if that affects the weave business. .. on the other hand hair conditioning products n creams will continue to sell well.

  5. Shevonn Avery
    Shevonn Avery

    I dont think their needs to be a drop in the weave industry just because more people are embracing their national hair! Ive been natural almost 3 yrs and about twice a year I like to switch up my look. Instead of damaging my hair with heat, why not get weave and play around with that? Not to mention weave (if don’t right) can be a great protective style!

  6. Geraldine Anneni
    Geraldine Anneni

    some of the business savvy people are trying to cash on the natural hair bandwagon by coming out with new products for natural hair. One of the reasons i do this natural hair thing is to save money and time, and that’s exactly what I am doing while my hair is growing longer and healthier. Thank God for youtube! Make your own natural products!

  7. MEshell Green
    MEshell Green

    That’s good but it the same makers of relaxers that is making so-called natural products now.

  8. Kemirah Godwin
    Kemirah Godwin

    I highly doubt this, I feel like this is just another article to make naturals feel supreme over relaxed hair. But honestly who cares who is relaxed or natural? I feel as long as the hair is healthy what is the big deal? All natural hair isn’t healthy and all relaxed hair isn’t healthy. Things change so much first it was you are natural if you Dont wear weave you just wear your own hair. No it is chemical and no chemical. I feel like it should be no completion between hair, to each your own.

  9. Tasha Harris
    Tasha Harris

    I relax my hair and I’m fine with it. I don’t relax it every month but my hair is thick and it makes my head hurt to comb it. It doesn’t make you less of a person or less of black women by perming your hair. Some women need weave due to health reason like chemotherapy, thyroid diseases, or Alopecia Areata.

    1. Chanté Robyn Ross
      Chanté Robyn Ross

      um this is my problem. Naturals celebrating the beauty of their natural hair always make relaxed girls feel like theres some kinda hating going on. WE rejoice over this why? because we are happy that more black women can enjoy and embrace their natural hair. Black woman tend to be very insecure and to see women enjoying what they were naturally born with is a joy. We are not saying that all women who relax their hair are wrong o unhealthy. no. You must admit a large percentage of relaxed women wear their hair straight all the time because they are ashamed of their natural hair and are against most of the perks of the race. Not all of course. Some people just love having straight hair and thats THEIR CHOICE. Its just time for those who have been afraid or hiding behind wat society deems “acceptable” to come out and love themselves regardless. Relaxed or natural black women simply need to support and encourage each other to be strong in a society that tears us down each day. Once you and your hair is healthy i see no problem. Alot of people are misunderstanding this post and need to re-evaluate the way they look at it. Stay blessed!

    2. Kerimah Rogers
      Kerimah Rogers

      I still relax. It’s what works and what is convenient for ME. My natural hair grows in SUPER THICK and it’s hard to deal with. I don’t have 2-3 hours a day to dedicate to fooling with my natural hair. It’s a headache.

    3. Mimi Janvier
      Mimi Janvier

      I relax and color and love it . Summer I leave my hair out and during winter I have a “hat” aka wig or braids to protect it from the cold and hot.
      This natural / relax debate is ridiculous blk ppl always have something to debate

  10. Tameika Toorie
    Tameika Toorie

    Great article. It used to be so hard to find organic hair care products and now they’re everywhere! Gives me such pride to see black women rock their natural hair texture.

  11. Candace M. Chambers
    Candace M. Chambers

    **DISCLAIMER : Do what works for you** …The companies are realizing a lot of women are waking up so they go back to the ” lab ” and make products for natural hair. Chemicals are chemicals and will cause damage over time because it alters the natural state of your hair. I have compared my hair over the years and saw a major difference. Mind you I was faithful with my trim and relaxer every 8 weeks. ( I know everyone is different but I thought that worked for me..or so I thought) Im so glad I did the big chop. My hair is SO much healthier, growing fast!, and THICKER. I dont want anything on my scalp anymore that can eat through a coke can… i.e. having to ” base ” your scalp down so it wont get burned/damaged from chemicals. And dont let a little get on your ear by mistake…the next day it will be red, irritated and/or chemically burnt.

  12. Jessica Williams
    Jessica Williams

    Love my relaxer. You can still have healthy hair using a relaxer. Its all about how you treat your hair bottom line. If natural works best for you then do it.

  13. La Tosha Walls
    La Tosha Walls

    Just did the big chop. Going natural from relaxed. But ultimately do what’s best for your hair and what your comfortable with. Not placing judgement.

  14. Ni-Ni Henderson
    Ni-Ni Henderson

    Good. Let the deep discounts begin for my relaxers and price gouging continue for “natural” products at will. So far that’s what I see happening when I go down the product lines.

  15. Middle Child
    Middle Child

    I think that some of us are getting lost in translation. Certain sisters are always quick to be dismissive about a relaxer when the reality is that is really has nothing to do with a relaxer. I dont’ delight in telling anyone how to do their hair but let’s face it or rather for those of us that care to admit it, we have been taught to feel a certain way about our hair. I would never attack or question someone’s level of blackness due in part ot whether they have a relaxer in their hair or not, I would just like to see that sisters are not subscribing to the notion that somehow our hair is inferior. And that is what some many sisters keep dismissing. I don’t care how you choose to do your hair i care that another black women has a healthy sense of self.

  16. Lindsay A. Hackney
    Lindsay A. Hackney

    I’m so glad I’m off the crack. It’s definitely not worth the anxiety and the scabs and the fact that it may have been seeping into my brain! I love straight hair but the natural revolution is here. If U like it straight #putawigonit

  17. Marla Booker
    Marla Booker

    My grandmother used to say 30 yrs ago “those chemical are getting in your brain, its not good for you… We finally get it now. No relaxer for me anymore!!

  18. Middy Fuller
    Middy Fuller

    Yes thank goodness…. When black women who relax their hair pass away medical examiner’s find a layer of buildup under their scalps from the relaxers seeping into the hair folicals …

    1. Ann

      This is a damn lie. What a disgusting comment. You sound ignorant.

  19. Elisabeth Ayoola
    Elisabeth Ayoola

    I’m natural, but if I can decide to perm tomorrow and then big chop agin in 6 months. With that being said, to each irs own. The most important thing is how we take care of our hair. If the prices drop, then good for those who are still relaxing, less money to spend 🙂 The sad part is that we always find something to divide us…first it was this light skin vs black skin, and now is natural vs. Relaxed…. stop segregating each other and find something more supportive to trend!

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