The currency of curls: why textured hair is big business

Stephanie LaFlora
November 9, 2023

Textured hair is the career game changer you’ve been looking for

First, it’s important for me to get one thing clear right out the gate. Curly hair deserves expert care just as much as straight hair. Nothing in this blog is meant to “okay” unskilled people putting their hands or tools in curly or coily hair for profit. And while natural hair has been trending for the past decade with relaxer sales declining by 58%, it is not in fact a “trend”. What grows out of folks' heads isn’t a trend; it’s an essential service for any hair professional to offer. 

Whew – okay! Now…the fun part.

Until recently, textured hair has been a mostly untapped market. The ceiling on curls is unknown, which means there is A LOT of room for new players, despite any noise of skeptics. 

A bit of background:

The natural hair movement is a cultural shift that has been gaining momentum in the United States (also globally) for several years. The movement is centered around BIPOC women embracing their natural hair textures, which have often been stigmatized and discriminated against in mainstream society.

In the past, BIPOC women have often felt pressure to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards by straightening, chemically relaxing, or otherwise altering their hair. The natural hair movement encourages BIPOC women to embrace their natural curls, coils, and kinks, and to reject the idea that their natural hair is inferior to straight hair.

The natural hair movement has been driven by a number of factors, including increased representation of black women in media, the rise of social media, and the growing awareness of the harmful effects of chemical hair treatments.The movement has also been embraced by black-owned beauty brands, who have started to develop natural hair care products specifically for black hair. This has helped to create a more inclusive beauty industry, which is more responsive to the needs of BIPOC women.

As a result, there has been a significant decline in the sales of hair relaxers. This is a product that has been traditionally used to straighten naturally curly or kinky hair. However, over the last fifteen years, there has been a noticeable shift in attitudes towards hair relaxers, with many choosing to reject the harsh chemicals found in straightening products.

What this means for stylists

If you’re a stylist that has not been trained on styling curly hair, now is the time to educate yourself. If you're a stylist that already caters to curls, there are thousands of people in your city looking for you. Now is the time to make it easy for folks to find you and to start teaching other stylists what you know, cause honey, you’re in demand! 

Just recently, P&G acquired curly hair product company, Mielle, led by Monique Rodriguez. This was a major and historic winfor the Black female CEO and signals that the gains in this segment of the industry is only poised for growth. 

If you’re a stylist that’s been looking for opportunities beyond the chair, having expertise in texture might be the key ingredient to your success. Many hair salons and barbershops have started to specialize in natural hair care, offering services such as protective styling, natural hair styling, and hair care education.

The natural hair movement has also led to an increase in curly hair influencers, vloggers, and educators, who use social media platforms to educate and inspire others about curly hair care and styling. These influencers have found success monetizing their platforms through sponsored posts, product collaborations, and educational content.

The natural hair movement has also had an impact on the fashion industry. More fashion designers are embracing models with natural hair and are showcasing them in their fashion shows, campaigns, and editorials, this has helped to change the beauty standard, and has created more opportunities for models with curly hair.

Overall, the natural hair movement has created new economic opportunities for those who specialize in curly hair care. The demand for curly hair care products and services, as well as the rise of influencers and educators, has led to the growth of several black-owned hair care brands, salons and stylists, and models, and has helped to create a more inclusive and responsive beauty industry. This movement has also helped to change the beauty standard and has empowered individuals to embrace their natural hair.

City Spotlight: Denver

Did you know Crownhunt was based in Denver? In recent years, Denver has undergone a number of cultural shifts that have transformed the city and its residents. These shifts have been driven by a number of factors, including changing demographics, economic growth, and an influx of new residents.

One of the most notable cultural shifts in Denver has been the growth of the city's Latino population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Latino population in Denver has grown by over 30% in the past decade, making it the fastest growing demographic in the city. This has brought a new richness and diversity to Denver's culture, with a growing number of Latino-owned businesses, cultural events, and community organizations.

The influx of diversity has led to an increased need for hair professionals to offer more services. Between 2010 and 2020, the number of YouTube searches seeking help for curly hair more than doubled in Colorado, more than a 100% increase. 

Colorado is also one of the states leading the charge in legislation to protect people with natural hair from discrimination. In March, 2020, Colorado became the 6th state to pass the C.R.O.W.N. Act following California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virgina. 

Representative Leslie Herod has been a vocal supporter of the C.R.O.W.N. Act and has been working on this legislation for several years. She has been an active member of the Colorado Black Legislative Caucus and has been working closely with the community to build support for the act. Her dedication and leadership on this issue has been instrumental in the passage of the C.R.O.W.N. Act in Colorado.

Simply put –  If you’re a stylist in Denver and you aren’t ready for a coily haired customer to sit in your chair, you’re about to miss out.

More than economics – the culture of curls

This movement goes beyond the economic opportunities, it has a cultural and social impact as well, it helps to promote self-acceptance, self-empowerment, and self-esteem among BIPOC women, and has helped to create a more inclusive and responsive society.

Inclusion can foster a more equitable and just society by providing equal opportunities and resources to marginalized groups. However, it is important to note that inclusion is not always easy to achieve and may require ongoing effort and dialogue to overcome structural barriers and biases. There’s been a great deal of social media controversy in the past year and culture clashes around hair. But, why is this occurring? Because it’s not just about the currency of curls, but about the culture. People need to feel safe in spaces new to offering curl care, which requires cultural intelligence and not just technical skill. Thankfully, many educators are tackling this very issue and the industry is experiencing breakthroughs because of this. 

Want to get started with curls? Dive into our class library!

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