As a member of the curl community, and an “influencer” I want to do everything I can to support Black Lives Matter and the black community. I think it’s incredibly important to note and remind people that the curly girl method did not start with a white woman. It was out of the knowledge, skill and expertise of the black community and their natural hair movement, that the curl community was born. The two are not to be confused, but we would not have the curl community if it weren’t for the natural hair movement.
Thought Provoking, Action Inspiring Words from Nicole Ocran
Last week, I discovered Nicole Ocran’s Instagram account. An African-American-Filipino fashion blogger, with the most infectious smile! Nicole said something that really opened my eyes. I encourage you to follow her on Instagram, watch her stories, and check out her BLM highlights. Nicole asked (and I’ll paraphrase a little here), that white women/people stop asking black people what to say or do to show support or speak about race etc. We know what to do when the Amazon Rainforest is on fire, when Australian Bush Fires are raging, Notre Dame is burning or cats and dogs need adopting. And if our discomfort is all we have to lose (when it comes to speaking out against racism), then we’re doing pretty well. Everything and all of that is so true!
Putting My Money Where My Mouth Is
A few months ago, outraged and heart broken by what I was seeing on social media, I donated AU$1,380 dollars to three charities for the Australian Bush Fires. After watching Nicole’s stories, I decided there and then, to not only match that amount in donations, but to raise it! If I can do it for the Australian Bush Fires, I can do it for Black Lives Matter. AU$1,380 dollars is around $960. I have donated a total of $1,000. $200 each to Black Visions Collective, Colour of Change, The Movement of Black Lives, The Bail Project and Rachel Cargle’s The Loveland Foundation – which I will continue to support with monthly donations. I also paid $200 to the illustrator and artist, who is also black, Mezay Ugbo from The Everyday Print Co. For the beautiful artwork in used this blog post and corresponding Instagram post.
Showing Support for Black Owned Businesses in the Curl Community
Every year I put together an A-Z Black Friday Guide for Curly Girls. So I wanted to show my support to the black community by doing an A-Z Guide to Black Owned Businesses in the Curl Community. Many of my favourite, greatest of all time products for curly hair, are from brands who were founded and are owned by incredible black men and women. Below is the full A-Z Guide, and I encourage you to buy from and support these businesses. There are many here that I haven’t tried, but will be doing so over the coming months. Over the next seven days, I will be sharing one of my favourite products each day on Instagram. With a mini review and any discount codes I have, from one of these black owned businesses. So if you don’t already follow me, please do. I’m @curlycailin.ie
A-Z Guide of Black Owned Businesses in the Curl Community
This is a list of over 60 black owned brands from around the world, both big and small businesses. Although they all make products for wavy, curly and kinky, coily hair; not all products are “curly girl” friendly. So please do your own research before purchasing. I’ve included some brands who were founded by black men and women, but have since been bought out by larger companies such as Carol’s Daughter who was bought by L’Oréal, and Shea Moisture who was bought by Unilever. I’ve also decided to include some brands, who although aren’t founded or owned by black people, do have a large percentage of black people working in the company, such as Bounce Curl and Rizos Curls. A lot of products from these brands are available on my Amazon Shop and my Amazon UK Shop, but I’ll link to their websites and UK/EU distributors throughout.
Afro Hair & Skin Co. – The Afro Hair & Skin Co. is an award-winning afro beauty and wellness business from the UK. Dedicated to creating truly organic and natural products carefully crafted by hand, using fresh natural, and locally sourced ingredients. Listed at No.3 as one of VOGUE magazines, best skincare products for people of colour! As well as my best friend’s favourite hair and skincare brand! Although they specialise in providing high quality, green beauty options to meet the unique needs of afro textured hair. As well as skincare that addresses some of the concerns that come with having melanin rich skin. I’ve tried their facial oil and loved it! I’ll definitely be purchasing more from this brand. Also, their packaging and logo designs are beautiful!
Afro She – An Australian brand, AfroShe products are hand made, vegan-friendly and cruelty free, and formulated with 100% natural & certified organic ingredients.
Alikay Naturals – Another award-winning brand, based in the USA, but available at Naturalistic Products in the UK/EU. They have a huge range of products for wavy, curly, kinky, locs and colour treated hair.
As I Am – a hugely popular brand in the curl community. Their Coconut Co-Wash is one of the best co-washes on the market! They have a large range of products, and are very affordable. You can get 15% off As I Am using code CURLMAVEN at Look Fantastic, who do free worldwide shipping.
Big Hair + Beauty – A UK brand which I’m really excited to try. They also do handy travel sizes, and travel size bundles too. You can save 15% off your first order by subscribing to their email list.
Botanika Beauty – Another great affordable brand in the US. Inspired by the botánica stores found across densely populated Latinx communities. Botánika Beauty was created to meet a social niche and link to the beauty rituals of our past. Available in the UK/EU at Naturalistic Products.
Bouclème – from the UK, but available worldwide. One of my favourite curly girl brands! My favourites are the Curl Towel, new Scalp Massager, Curl Defining Gel and Super Hold Styler – essentially a strong hold custard. They do great 100ml travel sizes. You can buy the full range of products here. You can also get 15% off Boucleme at Look Fantastic, using code CURLMAVEN. They do free worldwide shipping.
Bounce Curl – Although Bounce Curl isn’t a black owned business. Merian has a small team which includes mostly black women. Which is why I’ve included them on this list.
Get 10% off Bounce Curl using code CURLMAVEN at all of the following distributors/online retailers:
- USA: Bounce Curl
- IRELAND: The Clean Beauty Edit – ships worldwide
- UK: Kiyo Beauty – ships worldwide
- Canada: Curl Warehouse
Briogeo – A hugely popular and one of the more wider, well-known brands for curly hair. Briogeo is free of harsh sulfates, silicones, parabens, phthalates, DEA and synthetic color. All products are 90 – 100% naturally derived, gluten free, cruelty free, mostly vegan and ethically sourced. Not to mention one of the most gorgeous graphics, colours and packaging on the market! Available world wide here at Cult Beauty. You can get 10% off your first order if you sign up to their newsletter.
Cachos Brazil – A hugely popular brand, I can’t wait to try their Combing Cream. Cachos Brazil contains the finest ingredients found in the Amazon and has very rich, highly-concentrated formulas. 100% sustainable and cruelty free, their ingredients are all natural and plant-based. Available in the UK/EU at Naturalistic Products.
Camille Rose – Another popular, well-known brand in the curl community. I’ve only tried their cult-favourite Curl Maker. But they’ve recently launched at Look Fantastic, who ship worldwide. Get 15% off Camille Rose using code CURLMAVEN. The full range is available at Naturalistic Products.
Charlotte Mensah – From the UK, Charlotte is an award-winning hair stylist with a line of products, and the first black woman to be inducted into the British Hairdressing Awards Hall of Fame! She perfected her craft under the guidance of ‘The Godfather of British Afro Hairdressing’, the late Winston Isaacs. Charlotte has also been crowned the Afro Hairdresser of the Year in the UK three times. A go-to authority on Natural Afro, Mixed & Curly textures by magazines such as Elle, Vogue, Harpers Bizarre and Tattler to name a few.
Curl Junkie – Another hugely popular brand in the community. The owner, Marsha wanted to create at least one product that every person with textured hair can’t live without. She definitely achieved that! Unfortunately Curl Junkie isn’t available outside the USA. I really hope that changes in the near future, as their Repair Me! deep conditioner is one of my absolute, all time favourites!
Curl Mix – Founded and owned by husband and wife team, Tim & Kim. You may have seen them on Shark Tank. Curl Mix started out as a DIY subscription box in 2015, that turned into a full hair care line three years later. Handmade, vegan, cruelty free, containing organic ingredients and free from phthalates, sulfates, parabens and formaldehyde. They have five ranges of cleansing, conditioning and styling products – including fragrance free, and accessories. You can get 15% off your first order by signing up to their newsletter. Available in the UK/EU at Naturalistic Products.
Curly Ellie – A fantastic UK brand of high quality and unique hair products designed specifically for sensitive, curly, kinky and frizzy hair to moisturise, hydrate, detangle, define and add shine to curly hair. Initially created for kids, these products are much loved by adults too! Curly Ellie products are free from gluten, sulfates, dairy, peanut, wheat, silicones, parabens and mineral oils. Available in the UK/EU at Naturalistic Products. Click here to see a full list of stockists around the world.
Curly Girl Movement – Based in The Netherlands, I’ve watched this brand turn from an idea and home recipe, to a fully-fledged business. Shamilla has two styling products, free from silicones, parabens, sulfates and mineral oil. “Don’t suffocate your hair with super greasy hair products, but let your curls breathe. Use light products and let the oils that are naturally present in the hair do their job. Less is more! And for that reason we have developed products that are very lightweight yet nourishing. You only need a small amount to get beautiful hydrated curls. A little goes a long way! Not only will you save money but your curls will be forever thankful!” – Shamilla. Available in the UK/EU at Kiyo Beauty.
Dizziak – Another new brand from the UK. After years of frustration caused by the lack of truly rich, deep conditioners on the market. Founder and stylist, Loretta De Feo, wanted to create a beautiful-looking, vegan-friendly product that would actually work on afro hair, without relying on harsh chemicals. Dizziak, ‘an aphrodisiac for afro hair’, was born. There’s only a cleanser and a conditioner, but I can’t wait to try them. Available worldwide at Cult Beauty.
Ecoslay – If you haven’t seen or heard of the cult-favourite Orange Marmalade where have you been?! Another brand I’ve watched grow over the past few years. Amazing home made formulas mixed up in the kitchen. These all-natural products have the freshest and most simple, shortest ingredients list on the market. Available in the UK/EU at Naturalistic Products.
Flora & Curl – A great UK brand with freshly made, plant powered, botanical hair care products to nourish, hydrate, soothe and protect all curl types. Free from harsh chemical, synthetic fragrance, sulfates, silicones, parabens and mineral oils. Available at Ulta in the USA, and Naturalistic Products in the UK/EU.
Frizé Frizé – A Canadian brand of natural curly hair products made using all natural ingredients.
Girl + Hair – Specifically created to maintain and grow naturally textured hair while in braided, protective styles or hair extensions. Made using naturally based protective, fortifying and conditioning ingredients to promote the growth, retention and strength of the hair follicles. Cruelty free, colour safe and free from alcohols, silicones, sulfates, dyes and parabens. You can get 15% off by signing up to their newsletter.
Hair369 – my favourite hair growth vitamins from husband and wife team, Dave and Chelle. They’re the best on the market in my opinion. I’ve been using them for over a year and have seen phenomenal growth, even with three hair cuts! You can get 10% off using code CURLMAVEN and they ship worldwide.
Hair Rules – Founded by Anthony Dickey, “texture guru” and stylist. His clients include Michelle Obama, Alicia Keys, Kelis, Rihanna, Solange, Sarah Jessica Parker and Minnie Driver. Dickey trained in world-class salons like Oribe and John Frieda. His bold and imaginative styles have been featured in numerous publications, including Vogue, Vanity Fair, Essence, Glamour, Vibe, and Harper’s Bazaar. In 2007, Dickey launched Hair Rules. A line of customized, texture-specific cleansers, conditioning treatments, and styling products for kinky, curly, wavy, and straight hair. Get 15% off your entire order until June 11th with code TEXTURELOVE.
Hairfinity – Hairfinity started out with vitamin supplements. Before going on to add a cleanser, oil and conditioning products. My favourite deep conditioner of all time is their Strengthening Amino Masque. I also love their Balanced Moisture Conditioner. They often sell out quickly, so don’t wait around if you see it in stock! You can get 15% off Hairfinity at Look Fantastic using code CURLMAVEN. They also do free worldwide shipping. If it’s sold out there, try Naturalistic Products.
Inahsi Naturals – This much-loved brand is next on my list of products to try. A small collection of quality products made using natural ingredients. Created specifically for naturally curly hair. Whether loose, wavy curls or tightly coiled, color treated, straightened with heat, teased, transitioning with protective styles, braids, and/or weaves, or relaxed. Cruelty-free and free from parabens, silicones, sulfates, and other harmful additives. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU.
Jim & Henry – From the UK, a small collection of products designed specifically for curly, kinky coily, afro hair. Each product is named after the number of ingredients in the product. Eight – their leave in conditioner, is probably their most popular and well-known product. Lightweight enough for wavy hair too. Available in the UK/EU at Kiyo Beauty.
Kinky Curly – A cult-favourite brand in the curl community, especially Come Clean, Knot Today Leave In Conditioner and Curling Custard. Available at Whole Foods and Target in the US, or Naturalistic Products in the UK/EU.
Luxe Locks – Natural, hand made, cruelty free products for wavy, curly and kinky coily hair.
Mahogany Naturals – Mahogany Naturals is an award-winning product line by a multi award-winning curly hair stylist, Tope Beesley. Created in 2012 to address the needs of curly, textured and afro hair. All ingredients are 100% organic, and PETA-certified cruelty-free. All products are made in small batches to maintain freshness and potency. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU.
Melanin Haircare – Founded in 2015 by Whitney, aka Naptural85 on Instagram and YouTube, and her sister Taffeta. Whitney has the best and easiest DIY flaxseed gel recipe on YouTube. Melanin is free from silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde and mineral oil. “I wanted to share my love for natural, homemade and safe hair products, so that everyone, regardless of time or budget, could benefit from real, nutrient-rich products for healthy, thriving hair and scalp.” – Whitney. Based in the US, they do free worldwide shipping for orders over $75.
Mielle Organics – Another hugely popular brand in the curl community. Similar to Hairfinity, Mielle started with supplements for healthy hair, skin and nails. They now have a huge line of affordable products. Sign up to their newsletter to get 20% off your first order. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU.
Miss Jessie’s – Founded by sisters Miko and Titi and named after their grandmother. Miss Jessie’s is a well-known and recognisable brand of products and accessories for naturally textured and curly hair. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU.
Morango Curls – I first discovered Morango Curls on Instagram a few years ago. They’re a curl specialist salon in The Netherlands and create the most amazing shape on wavy, curl and kinky coily hair! They also have their own line of products which are carefully formulated with the aim of treating curly hair at home with salon results.
Naturalistic Products – The UK and Europe’s largest distributor of many of the most popular American brands of hair products for the curl community. They ship throughout Europe, as well as Australia, Canada and the USA.
Nature’s Little Secret – A relatively new company founded in 2018. Nature’s Little Secret is handmade using natural and organic ingredients to provide high quality, natural products for all hair textures. PH balanced and free from harsh chemicals, parabens, formaldehyde, artificial colors, sulfates, coconut oil, shea butter, silicones, and phthalates. Get 15% off your first order when you sign up to their newsletter.
Oyin Handmade – A family-owned and operated business, creating high-quality, effective products for curly hair, made from natural, organic, and food-grade ingredients. Oyin Handmade products are gentle and moisture-focused for dry, curly, and highly textured hair types. Cruelty free and free from silicones, sulfates, parabens and mineral oils. Get 15% off your first order when you subscribe to their newsletter. Available at Kiyo Beauty for the UK/EU.
Pattern Beauty – probably the biggest launches in the curl community recently, and already winning multiple awards. Pattern Beauty by Tracee Ellis Ross is one of the brands I’m most excited to try. However, their products aren’t curly girl friendly, as they contain amodimethicone. But damn, the bold, bright colours, graphic design and packaging is iconic! I mean, what else are you gonna get from Tracee Ellis Ross, right?! Unfortunately Pattern Beauty isn’t available in the UK yet, but it’s the type of brand I imagine Cult Beauty will pick up.
Puff Cuff – I’m a massive fan of these hair accessories! They’re absolutely genius and if you haven’t seen them already, I can only describe them as circular banana clips, kind of… Puff Cuffs are pricey, but worth it. I bought the multi pack almost three years ago and I still have all of them! I use the Mini to put all my hair up in a pineapple every night. You can see all the ways I use them in this post. They’ve expanded their range to include other hair accessories. You can get 10% off using code CURLMAVEN. Also available on my Amazon UK Shop.
RawKyn – Rawkyn is founded and owned by Sharon, the best friend of Merian, who’s the founder of Bounce Curl. Rawkyn specializes in deep conditioners, hair masks and treatments that contain extremely hydrating, restorative and nourishing ingredients. All their products are cruelty free, and free from parabens, silicones, PEG, sulfates, mineral oils and sodium chlorides. Get 10% off using code CURLMAVEN. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU.
Righteous Roots – Righteous Roots are an iconic and much-loved brand within the curl community. Their cult-favourite Righteous Roots Rx is a hair rejuvenating growth oil. And PrePoo is a detangling oil for use before cleansing. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU as well as my Amazon UK Shop.
Rizos Curls – Rizo’s Curls are another brand who although aren’t black owned, 55% of their small team are black, and 91% are women. So they made the list and I am definitely all for supporting that! Made using quality natural ingredients, cruelty free, and don’t contain sulfates, silicones or parabens. Their capsule collection of products are firm favourites in the curl community. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU.
Shea Moisture – now, this is a tricky one. If you’ve read any of my blog posts before, joined my Live Curl Clinics, or had a DM exchange or one on one Curl Clinic with me. You’ll know I don’t use, advise or recommend Shea Moisture products. At all, ever! I don’t believe they are good products, or made using good quality ingredients. Along with many other hair care professionals, I’ve found that they can cause long term damage to the hair, including my own. They were bought out by Unilever a few years ago. But I felt they deserved a place on this list, as one of the original black owned businesses in the curl and natural hair community.
Talijah Waajid – A veteran of the natural hair movement and curl community. Five product lines specifically formulated for naturally wavy, curly, kinky and coily hair textures. Providing moisturizing, conditioning and cleansing products to support healthy, flourishing, beautiful natural hair. Talijah Waajid is also the founder and presenter of the Taliah Waajid Natural Hair & Healthy Lifestyle Event. Which has been running for over 20 years and brings over 30k attendees over the two day weekend. Available at Kiyo Beauty for the UK/EU.
TGIN – aka Thank God It’s Natural products are made in small batches using the finest natural and organic ingredients for maximum freshness. Cruelty free, they don’t contain parabens or phthalates. They have a large range of products, including travel sizes. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU.
The Happy Hair Co. – an online accessories shop in the UK. They also have a curl towel made from cotton and bamboo, which I’m excited to try.
Tréluxe – I discovered this brand a few months ago and already love and repurchased their Hi! Definition Gel. Tréluxe have created a four-step line of products formulated with quality, natural, plant-based ingredients. Giving curl definition, moisture, and strength for curly and textured hair. Free from parabens, silicones, phthalates, sulfates, sulfates, artificial colors, gluten, and cruelty-free. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU.
Trepadora – Based in the UK, multi award-winning products formulated to help calm frizz and create beautiful curl definition for naturally textured hair. All products are curly girl friendly, free from silicones, sulphates, mineral oil, parabens, synthetic fragrances or artificial colours. Cruelty free and 100% vegan. I also love their curl towel, it’s one of the best!
Tropic Isle Living – the best Jamaican Black Castor Oil on the market, hands down, and the only hair oil I’m happy to use and recommend. Great for hair growth, they are the highest quality oils on the market, you literally only need 1-3 drops, max! Tropic Isle Living are who originally coined the term “Jamaican Black Castor Oil”, over 25 years ago.They have lots of different black castor oil blends, as well as cleansers and conditioners. Get 10% off your first order by subscribing to their newsletter. Available at Kiyo Beauty for the UK/EU as well as my Amazon UK Shop.
Twisted Sista – A UK brand of products from Urban Therapy, a chain of salons in London. Twisted Sista products are formulated to help maintain moisture, curl definition, and frizz prevention for wavy, curly and coily hair types.
Uncle Funky’s Daughter – Sustainable, all-natural, chemical-free hair care products for kinky, curly and textured hair that truly tames frizz and provides long-lasting defined curls. Paraben, sulfate and overall junk-free, their product line includes cleansers, conditioners, moisturizers, curl definers and stylers. Their first product was Curly Magic® which continues to be hugely popular, to define, hold and elongate curls. Get 15% off your first order if you sign up to their newsletter. Available at Naturalistic Products for the UK/EU.
Urbanaire Gypsy – Urbanaire Gypsy’s products are formulated to a minimalist philosophy. With a product line of multipurpose hair care products made using using natural ingredients that are cruelty-free, gluten-free, vegan-friendly.
Women to Women Naturals – Cruelty-free products made using natural ingredients, and free from silicones, sulfates and parabens.
I truly hope you found this post helpful, some new brands to support, and products to try. If you know of any black-owned brands that I haven’t included, please comment below so I can add them to the list. I will keep this list updated over the coming weeks and months as I discover new black owned businesses, so it can be a continual resource for the curl community. Please purchase responsibly, don’t @ me if you’re bank account says no next week at the grocery store. And if you’re not sure if a product is curly girl friendly or not, check out Curls Bot and/or Is It CG?.
Before I sign off from this post, I thought I’d share my story, my experience with the black community and how black women taught and helped me look after my curly hair. One of my Irish aunties married a black man from Cameroon, Africa. She has lived in Brixton, London all my life and I would often visit her for school holidays, long weekends and street parties (aka the most fun ever!) as a child. I was there when Nelson Mandela came to Brixton in 1996. To this day, I have never experienced an atmosphere like it! I would stay for weeks at a time, my aunt, cousin and sister the only white people on the street, long before Brixton was gentrified.
One thing I never experienced or saw during that time, was racism. I was surrounded by black people, I never felt “scared”, “threatened” or “intimidated.” Why? Because black people aren’t scary, threatening or intimidating. My uncle was black, my cousins are mixed race. I didn’t know what it was to be racist towards others. And I was treated like all the other (black) kids on the street. I wanted my hair done in cane rows, just like my friends. I’d sit on the front steps for hours getting my hair done by their mum’s, sisters and cousins. Which of course, now I know is cultural appropriation, but back then, I was just a kid. And like all kids, I wanted to be just like my friends. And as the only white kid on the street, all my friends were black.
I was treated with nothing but kindness, equality and love. Back in the 90’s, on those streets of Brixton, I didn’t know what race, racism or skin colour was. They were just my friends. I got to eat new, different and amazing food. See the most colourful textiles, fashion and art. Listen to reggae and sing along to Erykah Badu. Try (and fail) to break dance or play traditional African drums. I learned about black culture and religions, not to touch people’s hair because it’s sacred. It’s also where I learned how to care for and look after my own curly hair. This is what I mean when I say, the curly girl method did not come from a white woman. And as a white “influencer” in the curl community, it’s so important to acknowledge, appreciate, give credit and show due respect to the black culture, community and natural hair movement. Because that’s where the true source of knowledge and education comes from. And as you can see from the list of amazing black-owned businesses above, they make some of the best products in the world for curly hair!
I got my thick, curly hair from my Italian/Sicilian father who has tight, 3c curls. I didn’t grow up with him, or that side of the family around, so I missed out on learning how to look after curly hair. And my mum had no clue how to “tame” it or look after my “unruly” hair. The best I would get was an egg cracked on top of my head with a few glugs of olive oil, before getting my hair wrapped in a plastic Asda bag! Until one day as a child, I was brought to one of the Afro-Caribbean hair shops in Brixton, to get some advice and products, where I was handed a bottle of Luster’s Pink Lotion. From then on, I’d always stock up on bottles of Pink Lotion (and loaves of Jamaican Hard Dough Bread!) every time I went to London. Or if someone came to visit. I still request at least three loaves of Jamaican Hard Dough Bread if someone visits from London! And that’s what I used until I was introduced to Pantene Defined Curls Mousse at age 13. And I’ve been using that ever since, that’s 21 years!
With kindness, equality and love, Gabriella x
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