Jul 27, 2010

The latest revolution in black hair styles is a return to natural, non chemically processed, hair styles. TAG Concept Salon in Atlanta, co-owned by Tracy Robertson, only offers natural hair styles and has it's own line of products. Lashima Tate, from Jonesboro, is having her hair styled by TAG Concept Salon co-owner Tracey Robertson in Atlanta. Here she is before her styling.

The image quickly made rounds in magazines and the blogosphere – Supermodel Naomi Campbell captured on film just as a gust of wind swept back her hair revealing a massive bald patch at her left temple.

Everyone wanted to know: what happened to Naomi Campbell's hair?

The consensus was traction alopecia, a condition that develops when fragile hair strands are stressed due to tension, which in Campbell's case appeared to be from hair extensions.

As Atlanta gears up for the mid-summer Bronner Brothers hair show, which takes place August 7-10, black hair is once again in the spotlight, highlighting a growing cadre of women, who in an effort to avoid a Naomi Campbell-type disaster, have increasingly turned to less stressful hair styles.

Such trends are altering the $165 million mass market black haircare industry, and not always for the better. The two largest black haircare companies, L'Oreal USA and Alberto Culver Company, which account for more than one-third of the market, have both experienced sales declines in recent years, according to a 2009 study from Mintel, an international market research firm.

And while relaxers have been at the heart of the black haircare industry, 2007 saw the beginning of a decline in sales of relaxer kits at mass market stores, which is projected to continue during the next four years.

But Jerry Dingle, vice president of professional sales and marketing at Atlanta-based Bronner Brothers, said relaxers -- at least on the salon level -- are still very much mainstay of the black haircare industry.

"I don't agree with the trend away from relaxers," he said.

Natural hair is more about a look than a rebellion against chemical products, he said, adding that the trend has attracted converts because it is more economical and requires less maintenance than chemically altered hair.



Are you a natural girl or a relaxed girl?  If you are a natural girl, have you ever had a relaxer?  If so, how was the experience going from relaxed to natural?  Do anyone go from natural to relaxed or is this something that is just taboo?  Just curious...



  1. I'm a natural girl, in that I don't have a relaxer. But I do straighten it with a flat iron. The last relaxer I got was more than 10 years ago. I just determined it wasn't necessary, if anything it made my hair too straight and it looked thinner.

    One observation I have though is that it's not realy a new concept to become weaned from the relaxer up north. Now that I live in the south, it seems like it's something that women are just now warming up to. Women automatically assume that my hair is chemically relaxed because I wear it straight.

    I think there are more options now. I think the 90s braid craze really awakened alot of women to the idea of wearing more "ethnic" styles. Now hair can be viewed as more of an artistic expression. Now having said that I still think alot of women by into the idea that long flowy hair is better and many times I wish they wouldn't. Even when it's their own hair, sometimes it's just not that flattering.

    So I just wish women would free themselves up to know what really works for them. My hair used to be very long...to the middle of my back. Now I can barely stand it if it gets to my shoulders, because it's not the best look for me.

  2. I, too, am a natural girl. I went natural about 7 years ago simply because I was tired of the process of chemically straightening my hair. I am an easy breezy type of personality and sitting in a beauty salon for 2+ hours just became ridiculous to me.

    I think more women are choosing to forego the relaxed look because it is more socially acceptable now compared to 10 years ago. I've worked at a fortune 100 company in management with straight hair and recently natural hair.

  3. I have done it all! I wore a weave once-hated it. I wear braids/twists pretty much every summer. I had a perm and wore my hair to my shoulders pretty much all my life until 6 years ago. Then I went natural and it was the hardest and most expensive thing for me. I had to get my hair twisted every 2 weeks and that cost $50. My hair wasn't kinky enough and it didn't curl into a cute afro. I wasn't able to really style it so I went back to perming it. I tried using the flat iron, but that also requires $45-$50 every two weeks. With a perm I didn't have to go to the hairdresser unless I needed a touch up-that was every 2 months! A year ago I went Rhianna short and loved it! Now I have braids and I am growing back out my hair because I just want a change. I think as Black women we are blessed that we can do so much to our hair and find whatever works for us. Nobody looked down on me when I went natural-they all just smiled because they know I like to switch it up!

  4. I've been locked for 10 years now but before that, I had a perm and before that I had a jerry curl. Yes, a jerry curl. Towards the end of my perm days, I too was going bald on the side of my head in the front and when that started happening, I just had enough. I wasn't sure what I was going to do but I knew that my perm days were over.

    My daughter had suggested that I lock my hair because she had locked hers and felt really good about it. With slight hesitation, I finally did it and I haven't looked back since. My hair grew back completely in the spots that were balding and it hasn't been this healthy and full since I was a little girl. I consider my hair at it's most natural because it hasn't seen any part of a chemical in over a decade at this point.

    Juliette Samuel