The Slow Death of the Relaxer
Once upon a time, price wasn’t even a factor when it came to buying hair relaxers. If Dark and Lovely increased their boxed relaxers from $5 to $10, we would be mad about the price, but still buy it - frowned face and all. The straighter it could get our hair; the better. The Relaxer/Perm sales were always at a stable high. That is now a thing of the past. As the Natural Hair Movement gets stronger, Black hair care companies are reporting declining sales on relaxers and texturizers. More women are now seeking knowledge on how to care for their hair in its natural state, rather than change it. If you take a look on the shelves of Wal-Mart and beauty stores, relaxers are no longer as plentiful, or as expensive as they once were. I am sure that the black hair salons do not like the Natural Hair Movement at all.
Mintel, a research company, publicized a report that really caught my attention. They looked at the Black Hair Care market and the depletion in sales between 2008 and now. They discovered that the relaxer segment of the Black Hair Care market will cap at about $152 Million this year which is a 26% drop since 2008 where the sales were $206 Million. In the past few years, more black women are wearing their hair in its natural state than ever before.
“The natural hair trend is driving an increase in sales of styling products such as styling moisturizers, setting lotions, curl creams, pomades, etc., but the increase has caused the relaxer segment to decline in sales,” says Tonya Roberts, multicultural analyst at Mintel. “A look at expenditures from 2008-2013 shows steady growth in the Black hair care category for all categories except relaxers/perms.”
“Given their passion and love of hair, Black consumers represent a lucrative market for companies. Black consumers are always looking for new products to try and seeking information about hair care products,” notes Tonya Roberts. “Social networking is one avenue that has helped to garner trust, empowerment, individuality, and pride as it relates to hair care. Brands have been born and re-born using social networks.”
So what’s the appeal of the natural style? Forty-eight percent of women believe natural or curly hairstyles exude confidence and the same percentage consider them daring. Meanwhile, 45% of Black women think natural coifs are trendy.
The Natural Hair Movement is making strides but we still have a long way to go. The 45% of black women who think it is ‘just a trend’ need to be worked on. However I am happy that more women are now loving their natural hair, and embracing and helping the movement to be stronger.
The natural hair movement will be the death of the relaxer. Watch out!
What are your thoughts on this?