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...