It is estimated that more than 90% of Western Black women have had their hair straightened at least once. Following centuries of living with the societal perception that afro-textured hair is “unattractive”, every year millions of Black women across the world opt for chemical relaxers and other treatments to make their hair straight. In fact, many Black women would liken the straightening of their hair to a rite of passage ritual and a sign they have entered into adolescence and adulthood. Thankfully, the natural hair movement has gained momentum over the last two decades, slowly but steadily changing the cultural mindset: natural afro hair is beautiful just the way it is, and it’s time to embrace it. Nylah’s Naturals, an all-natural vegan haircare brand, puts extra effort into promoting natural afro hair and teaches Black women to embrace it.
“After years of heavy chemical treatments to straighten their hair or even opting for wigs, many women who have recently joined the natural hair movement need guidance on how to best care for their afro-textured hair,” says Kam Davis, Nylah’s Naturals Founder and CEO. “At Nylah’s Naturals, we try to create products that are 100% safe, natural and highlight the essential beauty of afro hair. We also put extra effort into hosting educational talks and online events, sharing best practices for afro haircare.”
The negative perception of Black hair led to the booming industry of straighteners, relaxers and salon treatments, all aimed at ironing out any natural kinks. As a result, several generations of Black women struggled to grow their hair long due to breakage caused by the damaging chemicals in the straightening products. The good news, though, is that the market for hair relaxers is gradually decreasing, creating space for products that work with, not against, natural hair.
“With so many stories of personal struggles to grow long, shiny and healthy hair after years of using relaxers and straighteners, it is obvious how much damage has been done by so many women to their afro hair,” continues Kam Davis. “I was inspired by my daughter to start Nylah’s Naturals in an effort to give her the best tools to celebrate her natural beauty. I also want to share my knowledge with other Black women who are just starting their natural hair journey. At Nylah’s Naturals, we run an initiative called Untangled, a series of workshops and online talks where I talk about the ingredients, techniques and products that can make your afro-textured hair look and feel its best.”
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, Kam would hold offline events every few months, meeting personally with her customers. When lockdown happened, she explored an online format, regularly hosting online talks via Nylah’s Naturals Instagram account, talking about the usage of products, best wash day routines, and more helpful tips.