For Black women across the African diaspora, the choice of how one wears their hair is at times more than simply a personal choice. Often, it comes with social and political implications that can have an extreme impact on all aspects of one’s life.
For centuries, women with African textured hair turned to hair products that straightened their hair, just to fit in. But, science has proven that chemical hair relaxers, most often used by Black women, contain potentially harmful chemicals, including possible carcinogens and chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, which can interfere with hormone function and could raise breast cancer risk.
Nowadays, women with natural, African hair are breaking the boundaries of stereotypical, white-washed beauty, claiming back their power and confidence, and embracing their natural hair. But, the delicate nature of our hair requires deliberate and specific attention.
“When African hair is not adequately retaining moisture, it can lead to several conditions, such as dandruff, thinning of the hair, receding hairline and hair falling out,” says NILOTIQA.
There is a growing movement of Black people and People of Colour who are choosing to wear their natural hair, instead of using treatments and styling techniques that help them conform to whitewashed beauty standards. As a Black person, wearing your natural hair often feels like a political act, because we are challenging historic stereotypes that regard Black hair as socially unacceptable.
These local, Black-owned brands create natural hair products that aren’t harmful to the hair or the environment, are locally produced, and not tested on animals.
Nubian Nature is a manufacturer of natural, clean, but also eco-conscious and sustainable hair products.
This hair care brand was founded, in 2013, by Shereen Makhanye after deciding to go back to embracing natural hair that hasn’t been chemically straightened with a relaxer. Nubian Nature offers a range of products made from organic and natural ingredients, sourced from woman-owned businesses across Africa. Each product is biodegradable and packaged in a recyclable pack. Oils come in blends that have been expertly crafted and fine-tuned to improve the health of your scalp and hair.
Nobanzi’s Product Pick: Moisture Boost Deep Conditioner is a deep moisturising treatment that gives hair an intense boost of hydration, without weighing it down. Packed with Amino acids to rebuild and strengthen hair from within and infused with natural oils of Carrot, Baobab, and Murumuru to take curls from dry to moisturised and bouncy.
Check out Nubian Nature’s website.
A natural hair care range manufactured for moisture-thirsty, brittle and damaged hair. Thokozani Mangwiro, who personally struggled with her natural hair, launched a line of products that are proudly handcrafted from organic and naturally sourced ingredients.
After several years of research, formulations and product testing, NILOTIQA offers deeply moisturising, high-quality hair care products that are locally sourced and specially formulated for natural hair.
Nobanzi’s Product Pick: Nilotiqa’s Deep Moisture Hair Butter is full of deep moisturising properties and nutrients for dry, damaged hair. It restores natural hair to its beautiful healthy moisturised state without being too heavy for the hair.
Check out NILOTIQA’s website.
My Natural Hair
The women at My Natural Hair believe that a woman’s hair defines her, and it is her crowning glory. So, it’s only natural that so much time, money, and research goes into hair care.
Their environmentally friendly products are derived from natural butters and oils for modern African women and suitable for all African hair types.
Nobanzi’s Product Pick: My Natural Hair’s Volumizing Mousse offers a generous lightweight bounce to your natural hair. Enriched with Castor oil and Olive oil, the mouse will moisturise your hair while adding glorious volume.
Check out My Natural Hair’s website.
What started as a necessity has turned into a business. Kafui Naturals creates products for people looking for chemical-free hair products that are derived from African-sourced, natural ingredients and safe for the environment.
Influenced by her upbringing, Kafui manufactures natural and eco-friendly products responding to the beauty needs of women, specifically Black women, using indigenous and healing knowledge.
Nobanzi’s Product Pick: The Hair Moisturising Spray protects the hair by strengthening and conditioning it to withstand all the elements. It is created from a blend of oils: Neem oil which relieves hair from dryness and gives hair sheen, Jamaican Black Castor Oil that pumps hair follicles with nutrients, and tea tree oil which fights bacteria and fungi to allow hair to flourish without interruptions to its growth.
Check out Kafui Naturals’ website.
This South African beauty brand was created to honour African heritage through its own standards. Afri-berry is a level 1 BBBEE, manufacturer of high-end organic skin and hair solutions that promise positive results.
The finest ingredients are sourced from across Africa to create hair products that are made from natural ingredients while keeping up with the ethnobotanical world.
Nobanzi’s Product Pick: The 100% organic Jamaican Black Castor Oil helps moisturise, thickens, strengthens and rapidly increases hair growth. It increases blood flow to the scalp, supplying valuable nutrients to hair follicles. The Jamaican Black Castor Oil helps prevent hair breakages, dandruff, eczema, and dry, itchy scalp.
Check out afri-berry’s website.
AfroBotanics is inspired by the different methods used in the 1930s. The first products manufactured were for African hair and addressed the hair problems caused by naturally dry hair using hair care methods used by Nguni women. AfroBotanics caters to individuals with hair that is too dry, brittle, tangled, and hard to manage.
Nobanzi’s Product Pick: AfroBotanics’ Hydrating 4C Hair Shampoo detoxifies your hair and keeps it strong. The shampoo is formulated to trap impurities and product build-up on your hair that blocks the hair’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients.
Check out AfroBotanics’ website.
Suki Suki Naturals
This proudly African brand provides customers benefits from the best that Mother Nature has to offer, without all the harmful extras.
Initially, it was a personal project, but now they are focused on creating handcrafted, authentically African products using relatively uncommon African specialities like Prickly Pear, and under-utilised natural remedies like Papaya and Mango. Each product is uniquely naturally formulated without the use of harmful preservatives and no animal testing has been done.
Nobanzi’s Product Pick: The Hydro-Protective Hair Mist can be used to hydrate protective hairstyles, as well as revive curls and coils. Formulated with Aloe Vera, Organic Marula, and Organic Baobab Oil, this hair mist is a moisture-enhancing sealant to keep curls and coils hydrated and to prevent breakage.
Check out Suki Suki Naturals’ website.
Vana Naturals is a woman-owned, natural haircare brand. This Cape Town-based brand offers premium clean beauty solutions for afro-textured coily, curly hair types using only natural and organic botanical ingredients.
All the ingredients are carefully curated and rigorously sourced to formulate high-performance products that nourish, protect and grow healthy hair and are not tested on animals.
Nobanzi’s Product Pick: Vana Natural’s Seal Me Up Pure Multi-Purpose Oil Blend is a pure blend of nourishing oils to protect, strengthen, & rebuild your hair. The non-greasy, lightweight formula can be used as part of your moisturising routine for hair and it’s suitable for all hair types.
Check out Vana Naturals’ website.
A thoughtful beauty brand that is not here to fix you, but to simply expand your options. Their products are made to be kind to your hair and reduce your impact on the environment. All used ingredients are derived from nature and are free from Parabens, Sulphates, and Mineral oils.
Nobanzi’s Product Pick: Their Activated Charcoal Shampoo deeply cleanses hair and scalp without over-drying, and also provides the detoxifying benefit of activated charcoal. It is delicate yet effective. Free from Parabens, Sulphates, and Mineral Oils.
Check out Masodi Organics’ website.
I hope that this article is useful as you continue on your natural hair journey!