How would you say the industry has evolved in the past 10 years when it comes to natural hair? Do you think Hollywood and the fashion industry have become more accepting of it?
Over the past 10 years, relaxers have been deprioritized in the black community. Other presumed less-harmful chemicals began to take their place, such as the keratin treatments. It was not until we learned about formaldehyde that clients and stylists began to back off from the keratin treatments. That signaled the start of the chemical-free craze. Everybody wanted to be natural but still get their hair straightened. The problem was that most people’s hair would not last through humidity or exercising. When they had to shampoo it naturally, they did not know what to do in terms of styling. Their hair had uneven textures and was just difficult to manage. From there began the “big chop” phase, removing all compromised ends that were not natural in texture.
For those opting out of the big chop, “protective styles” that allowed them to grow out their hair and remove compromised ends little by little were chosen. Today, most people in the black community avoid using chemical straighteners but still struggle to manage their natural hair. As a result, wigs, weft extensions, and lace closures have made a tremendous rise in our community.