Shopping at beauty supply stores has finally become the norm for consumers and industry professionals seeking products, tools, and accessories designed specifically for styling Black hair.
For years, finding the necessary items for styling African American hair was much tougher, because convenience stores and local shops rarely carried a wide enough variety of beauty products that could fully meet Black hair needs.
But over the last few years, there’s been a whole new standard of diversity and inclusivity within the beauty industry. Beauty supply stores that cater to all hair types are becoming much more common. And these spaces are opening their doors in many different areas across the country.
Chains like Sally Beauty are carrying more products designed by industry professionals like Kim Kimble, who recently released a new line of hair products to best serve the at-home hairstyling needs of African Americans. And some of these spaces are independently owned by small business owners, who are pushing the boundaries for more inclusivity in the beauty industry.
Now that it’s easier than ever for African Amercians to find different hair products that nourish and enrich, we’ve created a short list of must-have items that can be found at most beauty supply stores. Read closely to learn about a few essential yet readily available hair products and tools that can help maintain the health and beauty of Black hair.
Oil is one of the biggest necessities for Black hair. This is because African American grades of hair can dry out extremely quickly. So, applying oil-based products keeps hair strong, shiny, and lustrous.
Because Black hair doesn’t need to be washed as often as other hair types, oils keep hair healthy in between shampoo and conditioning treatments. Common oils used on Black hair for growth and nourishment include olive, Vitamin E, tea tree, Jamaican Black Castor Oil, and sunflower oil.
Pomade is generally considered a heavier, more compressed oil. In regards to consistency, it closely resembles wax. And stylists commonly use pomade while pressing or straightening hair. Pomade lasts a little bit longer than most hair care products, and it may require a few extra washes before it’s completely removed. But it can help hold the curly texture that’s commonly associated with Black hair.
Common silk accessories that you’ll be able to find at your local beauty supply store include bonnets, scarves, and wraps. These silk accessories help keep oils locked in, while protecting the look and shape of a hairstyle over time. Silk head accessories are usually worn at night, when a person is sleeping. But it’s common to see someone sporting a silk scarf or wrap while lounging the house, since silk accessories can also maintain hair health, in addition to a style.
Wide or Fine Toothed Combs
When it comes to wide or fine toothed combs, remember that both kinds of combs are big staples in the African American community, when it comes to styling Black hair. Before choosing between the two, consider the hair type. Wide tooth combs are best for curly hair types. And fine toothed combs work best on straightened hair that needs to be parted and styled.
This product is used most often while working with kinky, curly hair. Because Black hair can dry out quickly, a deep conditioner is an extra step that helps keep hair healthy. It’s designed to penetrate the scalp and thoroughly condition the hair. A good deep conditioner can also improve the look, feel, and texture of Black hair, since it helps soften hair while increasing manageability.
Over the past century, hot combs have been widely used to straighten and style Black hair. This heavier comb can be made from wrought cast iron or brass metal. To heat a hot comb, you may need to use the eye of a gas stove. When you’re ready to press, blow on the comb to cool it. Then pat it on a paper towel and carefully run the comb through your hair.
Relaxer and Perm Products
A relaxer is a chemical process that straightens hair and keeps it that way for a prolonged period of time. They’re also called perms in the African American community. Outside of Black culture, perms have the same effect, but instead of straight hair, the end result is a set of curly ringlets a la Chutney from Legally Blonde.
Relaxers were very popular up until recently. The amount of chemicals and ingredients in relaxers have made them unfavorable. And that’s because if you leave the treatment in too long, it can lead to hair loss. With the growing popularity of natural hair styles and healthier hair straightening treatments, relaxers are still big. But they’re not as widely used.
Still, if you want to relax your own hair at home, just head to the beauty supply store nearest you. Simply find the little box advertising relaxers. Inside the relaxer kit, you should find the formula. There should also be a bowl to put in the contents. And there should also be a brush for mixing and application.