By Luna Chibwa


When I think of my relationship with my hair – and the hair industry in general – it’s one marked with highs and lows. Complicated, intriguing and overall, still a work of progress.

Trust, or the lack thereof, within the industry is something I myself feel, and many other Black women are still working on — from trusting hairdressers to learning how to trust mainstream hair care brands. When I talk about the lack of trust, I’m describing a myriad of mistrusts. This can range from that anxious feeling of not really knowing if you’re in capable hands with your hairdresser, to the gut-sinking feeling when things inevitably go wrong when you indeed find yourself in incapable hands. And of course, the abundance of articles on the lack of hair diversity and the continuous hair discrimination for your doom scrolling needs. 

I personally feel the reason that there is segregation within the industry is due to the lack of trust between Black consumers and the hair care execs at the top. The statistics speak for themselves: like a trauma response to the abuse of trust… 


  • 58% of Black hair care products contain at least one toxic ingredient 
  • 70% of Black women read labels on hair care products
  • 87% of Black women prioritise clean and safe products
  • 25% of Black women have difficulty finding products for their hair — more than 50% have been unable to find them

But just how toxic are these Black hair care products? In 2020, DevaCurl was under fire due to claims that their products cause hair loss, damage to the curl type/texture, scalp damage, and even a triggering of psoriasis. I believe this is the leading motivation behind why so much of natural hair care is focused on natural ingredients, ayurvedic remedies and DIY treatments.

There has been one hell of a silver lining: the boom in natural hair care brands, along with the consumer trend of supporting and shopping Black-owned labels through the innate understanding that the product can be trusted. (Simply put: Black-run brands are more trustworthy to a curly or textured haired person because they more than recognise the pain points by virtue).

As refreshing as it may feel —  seeing hair care brands diversifying their product offerings for “all hair types” and introducing curly-hair product lines — I do wonder if this will be the stepping stone towards a more integrated hair industry. Or, if it’ll take more trust-building through representation of POC hairstylists as brand ambassadors to really get Black consumers on board to fully trust mainstream brands. And be integrated into the ‘professional salon care’ sector and out of the niche. Cydia Harvey once summed up the Black hair care market to have “a lot of misinformation and not enough care, so people end up disappointed because they’re bouncing between trying different low-performance products and brands they can’t trust.” That is why she opted for a direct-to-consumer approach for T.H.O.M., her own brand, building direct trust and communication with the consumer.

As far as trust-building goes, I have a positive outlook that this gap and segregation within the industry is being repaired, as more brands realise that they cannot promote diversity without being truly inclusive in all facets.

By Luna Chibwa