Search Results: Essence Wiley

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair

Thin, fine hair can stem from a plethora of reasons, including stress, aging, medical conditions, or just old ‘ol genetics. But less dense strands don’t have to stop you from experimenting with your hair. All hair is made equal in that it is finessable

Haircuts and color not only provide an opportunity to spice up your look, but they are also an easy way to create volume, compliment your natural features, and create an overall illusion of thicker, shinier hair, and sometimes healthier hair.

Image Source: @jasanhis

While a change as drastic as cutting your hair or dying it a new color can be exciting, we recognize that it can also be intimidating. Research is your best friend when delving into the next phase of your hair chapter. Cater your search to the characteristics of your strands. In this case, look to celebrities and stylists who sport or work with fine, thin hair.

Take note of what you like about their style of choice. Is it the volume? Is it the length? Maybe you’re a Swiftie whose hair profile aligns with the legendary Taylor Swift. Her infamous shaggy cut or long layers with bangs might be up your alley. Want a bright, voluminous look? Think Margot Robbie’s mid-length, platinum blonde layered cut. Look to Lily Collins’ brunette “jellyfish” hair for an edgier vibe.

Here is a list of 15 trendy haircut options to elevate your look.

1. Side-part lob

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @daviddamours 

Short for “long bob,” a lob haircut exudes maturity. Blunt cuts are the number one hack for creating the illusion of thick, dimension hair. Adding a deep side part and some balayage makes the style super sleek and stylish.

2. Choppy Pixie

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: 

Chopping your hair can instantly take years off your appearance. A choppy pixie cut is the perfect way to liven up your look, with several choppy layers that create thick-looking, dimensional hair.

3. Short fringe bob

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @jayne_edosalon 

Fringe bangs can transform your vibe by playing up your facial features. Again, the bluntness of bobs is great for tricking people into thinking you have thick hair. This style may be a more high-maintenance cut. A fresh dye job or highlight can elevate this cut even more.

4. Pixie

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @mariana_polit 

We’ve got to love a traditional pixie. Not only does it exude “cool girl,” but it’s also super low maintenance. Talk with your stylist about how you can use this style to elevate your bone structure.

5. Asymmetrical Pixie

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @sashairdressing_stkilda 

Pixies are already cool, but adding asymmetry will make you seem even more fashionable. This cut is a great option for rounder and angular face shapes.

6. Face Framing Layers

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @leventkilic0 

OK, you’re not ready for a huge change, but you want your hair to have shape and fullness while complimenting your beauty and maintaining some length? Face-framing layers are for you.

7. Medium Choppy Cut with Long Curtain Bangs

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @flyingoverrussia 

Wispy curtain bangs can make your hair look soft, textured, and voluminous. This is another style for those who want their hair to appear fuller without losing length. Be prepared to style your strands every day with this cut.

8. Blunt cut with Floating Layers

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @balayageby_mtlewis 

Floating layers are a technique used by stylists to add volume. The top layer is longer while the middle and bottom sections are cut shorter. Once complete, you have a volume-filled, well-shaped cut.

For thin, fine hair, ensure your stylist goes for a shallow cut, as losing weight or density isn’t the goal. This style is the more low-maintenance pick, as the layers do most of the styling work for you.

9. Mullet

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @arenakappers 

What’s cooler than a mullet cut? A dimensional blonde mullet cut. Mullets don’t always equal the “party in the back” type style. Keeping the top layers choppy and short while maintaining length at the back of the neck creates a super chic yet feminine look. 

10. Extra light layering

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @chrismcmillianthesalon 

Having thin, fine hair doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice length. A blunt cut on the ends with dimensional layers is an easy fix for our long-haired people to add volume and texture.

11. Modern Shag

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @rachelwstylist 

The modern shag is a great option for our uber-confident edgy people. Shag cuts are defined by feathered layers on the top and side of the hair and thin fringes toward the ends of the hair shaft. Style this look with beach waves for the best results.

12. Blunt bob with Money Pieces

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @salonher_ 

Money pieces are another technique used by colorists to frame the face. They’re essentially a bright highlight towards the face. It can be done with just about any cut or color, and it’s an easy, low-maintenance way to elevate your look.

13. Wolfcut

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @avenueexperience 

A wolf cut is a more wild version of a mullet. It’s still shaggy and uses lots of layers, just with longer, disconnecting strands in the back of the head.

14. Clavicut

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @glamourbrasil 

A clavicut is essentially a longer bob. It’s a blunt cut, specifically at the collarbone. Instead of boasting several lengths, it’s the same length all over. It has more versatility than other haircuts, as it can still be put in a ponytail.

15. Short cut long fringe

15 Trendy Haircuts for Fine Hair
Image Source: @__k_vu___ 

Are you looking for something easy, breezy, and beautiful? Try some long layers with fringe bangs. This style is all about adding volume while keeping longer hair.

While it can feel limiting, many thin, fine hair options exist. Remember to take into account your lifestyle, hair needs, and facial features when picking out a haircut. Happy researching!

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

Happy Earth Day Curlfriends! Looking to nurture your hair and keep the planet healthy? Look no further; we’ve compiled a list of vegan and plant-based brands your crown will love.  

First, let’s discuss how plant-based products differ from vegan products. Words like “clean” and “natural” may come to mind when thinking of veganism, but what does that really mean in beauty? 

Vegan products do not use animal-derived ingredients. Think collagen, which comes from animal tissue; keratin, which is derived from animal hair and horns; or glycerin, which is sourced from animal fat. Instead, vegan products pull from all-natural plants like nuts or aloe. Though commonly used interchangeably, vegan and plant-based products differ. While vegan brands exclusively use ingredients sourced from plants, plant-based brands do not have to be 100% vegan. 

Vegan products are typically stamped by advocacy organizations like The Vegan Society, a global charity committed to promoting veganism.

Expected to grow from $17.2 billion in 2023 to $18.6 billion in 2024, the vegan and plant-based product market has grown rapidly. 

Here’s a comprehensive list of ten of our favorite vegan brands.

1. Sienna Naturals

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

This Issa Rae-approved brand uses earth-friendly, vegan ingredients and chemistry-based technology to promote a healthy scalp without compromising the planet. Its “from the Root” strategy focuses on repairing the hair’s health from the moment it grows. The “Wash Day Duo” is a great entry-level purchase.

2. Donna’s Recipe 

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

Donna’s Recipe is the brainchild of Tabitha Brown, an internet sensation, author, and vegan enthusiast. Consistent with her viral vegan recipe videos, Brown partnered up with Gina Woods to curate a vegan hair care line inspired by her own ‘fro, infamously named Donna. The “recipe” includes a slew of hair products, including hair vitamins and strengthening oils.

3. Vegamour

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

Vegamour takes a holistic approach to haircare, using its 100% vegan bioactive ingredients to restore hair growth and care for the hair follicles from the inside out. Its formula includes Karmatin, a plant-based alternative to keratin.

Plus, the website is especially user-friendly, allowing you to shop based on hair concerns or needs. They have a plethora of styles and treatments, but the “GRO Full Routine Kit” is perfect for people looking to thicken up their strands.

4. Aveda

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

Aveda is a tried-and-true brand known for its salon-quality products and accessibility. But it’s also vegan! The company has used high-performing vegan ingredients with a low environmental impact since 1978. From smoothing products to volumizing ones, Aveda offers products for all hair types and needs. Their corporate responsibility initiatives are equally impressive.

5. Rebundle

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

This brand embodies what happens when innovation and creativity meet business. Black-woman-owned and run, Rebundle supplies plant-based, itch-free braiding hair free of harmful chemicals in other synthetic hair fibers. The hair comes in a range of tones for all hair colors, and each bundle is as long as 30 inches.

6. WonderCurl

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

If you want to turn to ethical brands this Earth Day, WonderCurl’s stylers, butters and treatments are a great start. Their products are crafted without harmful chemicals like silicones, parabens, and phthalates. They’re only tested on humans, and the “Moisturizing Hair Pudding” has proven to provide a great definition for curls.

7. NatureLab Tokyo

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

NatureLab Tokyo is another plant-powered haircare brand to have on your radar. Not only is it a fully vegan line but they are also cruelty free. The brand’s ethos intertwines Japanese beauty rituals with botanical technology to produce affordable, environmentally clean products. The “Perfect Repair” products are some of their bestsellers. 

8. Nuele

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

Defined as “your hair is vibrant, gorgeous, & powerful” in Swahili, Nuele is owned by two black women who studied food science for over 30 years before applying their biochemical background to cosmetics. Following the “Nuele Standard,” the brand offers a collection of 100% natural, organic, and clean shampoos, conditioners, masks, and more.

9. Rahua

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

Rahua Oil is a ritualistic hair oil extracted from the Achiote Seed. The Quechua-Shuar tribe, an indigenous people in the rainforest of South America, inform this brand. Passed down through generations of indigenous people, the oil nourishes the scalp while also helping to retain length. Rahua, the brand, couples the oil extract with other natural ingredients to make all-vegan body and hair care products.

10. Odele

Celebrating Earth Day With Vegan and Plant-Based Brands

Odele takes a transparent approach to vegan haircare. Hoping to curate a safe, affordable, high-quality line of products for all hair types, the brand is very clear about what is and isn’t used in its many body care and haircare collections. The Volumizing and Smoothing Shampoo and Conditioners are some of the Bestsellers.

Celebrity Colorist Guy Tangs Weighs In Whether You Should Get a Gloss, Glaze, Dye, or Toner

As we rise from winter’s dusk and embrace spring’s sunshine, I’m sure you’re wondering how to spruce up your look. Winter weather can impact your strands more than you think. A lack of moisture in the air and harsh cold temperatures can create dry, brittle, and frizzy hair, often leading to split ends and breakage if not cared for properly.

This damage can be exasperated on color-treated hair. Treatments are equally as important as regular color-touch-ups for your chemically treated strands. Consider how you approach skin and body care. Whether it’s extra moisture, shine, or a good tone treatment, it’s important to understand when your hair needs what, especially chemically altered hair.

NaturallyCurly tapped celebrity hairstylist and color aficionado Guy Tang for advice on how to use hair glosses, glazes, toners, and dyes to your hair’s advantage. His celebrity portfolio includes the custom wigs worn by Meg Thee Stallion in the WAP music video with Cardi B and work with Paris Hilton.

Tang recently expanded his “Mydentity” hair product brand, which features custom hair colors to help people embody their purpose through funky, exciting hair. If you want to liven up your curls, coils, and waves with a pop of color, his warm shade collection is perfect for adding rich copper, vibrant reds, and golden brown shades to your hair.

Celebrity Colorist  Guy Tangs Weighs In Whether You Should Get a Gloss, Glaze, Dye, or Toner

What is a gloss treatment? What are the benefits?

A gloss treatment is a versatile option to enhance shine and overall hair appearance. It involves applying either a semi-permanent color gloss or a clear gloss such as the #mydentity REFLECT Liquid Demi Clear, formulated with Keratin Amino Acids to boost hair health. Glosses can enhance shine, condition and moisturize hair, boost the vibrancy of hair color, and seal the cuticle, reducing frizz and improving overall texture.

What is a glaze? How does it differ from a gloss? 

A glaze is a salon treatment that provides temporary color and shine. Hair glazes typically do not contain ammonia and peroxide, making them a more gentle way to add subtle color or shine to hair without causing damage or committing to a permanent color change.

While gloss and glaze are often used interchangeably, there are differences in their formulation and intended purposes. Both refer to similar treatments that enhance overall hair appearance and shine. Still, glazes tend to have more pigmentation than in which overall hair appearance and shine is enhanced, but glazes tend to have more pigmentation than glosses.

Will a gloss treatment lift my hair?

A gloss treatment will not lift or lighten hair. Glosses work by depositing color or clear gloss onto the hair shaft. Adding a color gloss can deepen and enrich existing color, and a clear gloss will enhance shine without affecting color.

Is toner dye?

Image Source: @guy_tang

Toner is a hair dye product that functions differently than traditional permanent or demi-permanent hair dyes. Toner addresses unwanted tones and enhances desired tones rather than changing the overall color.

What types of clients do you recommend toner, glosses, glazes, and dyes to?

Toner, glosses, glazes, and dyes cater to various needs and preferences, and clients can benefit from each treatment. A toner is recommended for clients who have recently bleached or lightened their hair and want to neutralize unwanted tones.

Glosses work well for clients who want to add shine and enhance the overall appearance of their hair without making a permanent change. A glaze is recommended for clients who want to add shine and enhance the overall appearance of their hair and those who want to smooth their hair cuticle and reduce frizz. I recommend dyes to anyone interested in making a significant change to their hair color and willing to commit to regular maintenance and touch-ups.

Can you tone virgin hair?

Toner targets the underlying pigments that are exposed during bleaching or lightening. Since virgin hair has not been chemically treated or colored, these underlying tones need not be adjusted with toner.

What does aftercare look like for the different treatments? 

For all treatments: Wait 24 to 48 hours before washing your hair after treatments to allow the effects to set in to fully set in. Use sulfate-free and color-safe shampoo and conditioner to help maintain longevity and prevent premature fading. I recommend the Olaplex NO. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and AG Hair Curl Revive Sulfate Free Hydrating Shampoo.

Gloss: Consider deep conditioning treatment regularly to keep the hair hydrated and maintain the gloss’s vibrancy. Also, avoid excessive heat or harsh styling products as they can cause gloss and color fading.

Glaze: I’d suggest a leave-in conditioner or hair oil to seal moisture and maintain the glaze’s shine and smoothness.

Dye: Avoid hot water when washing hair, as it can strip away the color and cause fading. Consider using a color-depositing conditioner like #MyRefresh or a mask once a week to refresh the color and keep it looking vibrant.

There’s a common myth that dyes ruin hair. I’m curious to hear your take on this.

While the statement that dyes ruin your hair can be true, it is a bit of an oversimplification. Frequent and improper use of hair dyes can lead to damage, but it is inaccurate to say all dyes ruin hair. Over time, frequent use of dye can weaken the hair, leading to dryness, breakage, and brittleness. The key to minimizing damage from hair dye is proper application and technique. A skilled hair stylist will assess a client’s health and choose the appropriate dye formula and strength to minimize damage. Proper aftercare (mentioned above) is also essential!

Does hair texture impact how glazes, glosses, dyes, and toners penetrate the hair?

Image Source: @guy_tang

Yes, hair texture impacts how glazes, glosses, dyes, and toners penetrate the hair. Factors such as porosity, coarseness, curvature, condition, and absorption rate affect how glazes, glosses, dyes, and tones penetrate the hair and the resulting color or tone. Highly porous hair tends to absorb color more quickly and deeply, which can lead to faster fading.

I know my hair could benefit from a new treatment. Where do you recommend I start in the process?

First, identify your hair needs. As previously mentioned, glazes, glosses, dyes, and toners all do different things and target different issues, so figure out what you need. Next, please consult a professional, talk to your stylist about what would be best for your hair, let them assess your hair’s condition, and discuss realistic goals for your hair and lifestyle.

Can I gloss, glaze, or tone my hair at home? Are there specific products I should look out for?

When doing these treatments at home, it is important to choose the right products. I’d always recommend seeing a professional for a permanent color change.

Should my stylist be adding a gloss or glaze to my service?

It depends on your hair needs, preferences, and the desired outcome. If you want to add shine and try something new, a gloss or glaze can be a fun intro to color! Just as easily as you identify a break-out on your face or a random scratch on your body, pay as much attention to your hair’s behavior.

If you’re undecided on applying color to your hair, check out this expert take here.

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp

While being hairless may lead you to believe you’re escaping long wash days or extensive hair care routines, bald heads need love, too. Yes, bald people still have to wash and moisturize their scalps.

Balding is more common than you might guess. Over 50 percent of men over the age of 50 are likely to experience androgenic alopecia, also known as male pattern baldness, in their lifetime. Genetics plays a large role in your hair’s fate. MPD, a hereditary condition, refers to male sex hormones called androgens that regulate hair growth in cycles.

“With male pattern baldness, this growth cycle begins to weaken, and the hair follicle shrinks, producing shorter and finer strands. Eventually, the growth cycle for each hair ends, and no new hair grows in its place,” according to Healthline. One of the earliest symptoms of male pattern baldness is a receding hairline or a bald spot. 

Hair loss can also be onset by age. As you age, hair growth slows and eventually stops, causing the follicles to become thin. Stress, diseases, and tension can also contribute to hair loss.

Image Source: @bald_bandito

Whether you were forced into baldness or are willingly trying a new look, it’s important to formulate a “no-hair” care regimen based on your skin’s needs. “Just because I don’t have hair doesn’t mean I can neglect my scalp,” says content creator Carlos Harris Jr., who is intentional about his grooming routine. 

Dryness and dandruff are the biggest risk factors for bald heads. The skin can become overexposed to sunlight, leading to a dry, flaky, and itchy scalp. For people of color, this can result in visible discoloration and light-colored patches. 

Image Source: @getklen

Going bald is a mental thing. Experts suggest thinking of your scalp as an extension of your face. It should be clean and well-nourished. Hydrating, moisturizing, and gentle products are the first line of defense against dandruff. Salicylic acid cleansers have some great perks– they moderate oil levels and exfoliate the skin. Tea tree oil, hyaluronic and glycolic acid, and vitamin E are all other key ingredients to look for when shopping. 

Luckily, we’ve got you. NaturallyCurly has compiled a list of products catered toward our bald brothers, and we even included some bald celebrity hunks for inspo on how to rock your look.

Our Recommendations:

Own Your Dome® Comprehensive Cranium Care® Head Wash

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp

C3’s Head Wash is a tried-and-true product for baldies and is perfect for those with sensitive skin. It’s a four-ingredient wash that doesn’t include any additives like fragrance or foaming agents, reducing the risk of inflammation on the scalp. It can be used daily on the face, scalp, and beard. One review says the award-winning wash “has cleared up my regular face breakouts, and my head has been clean and clear as well.” 

Bee Bald Clean Daily Cleanser

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp

Bee Bald is another male grooming line founded by a bald man who wanted to purchase products that worked on his face and head. Their Clean Daily Cleanser does just that, leaving the skin clean and refreshed. It is made with (among other things) Salycilic and Glycolic Acids, providing a gentle exfoliation and hydration system.

African Shea Butter

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp

After a good cleanse, you’ll need to follow up with a moisturizing product on the scalp. Ol’ trusty– African Shea Butter is a great option. It’s super accessible. You’ve likely seen it at your local beauty supply and sometimes a local grocery store.

Not only does Shea Butter nourish the skin, but it offers anti-inflammatory properties that help fight breakouts and heal any cuts, even skin tone, and adds a protective layer from sunlight.

Keep in mind that a little goes a long way, but if you’re going for that Mr. Clean shiny look- the more, the merrier. Purchase an unrefined, all-natural butter for optimal results.

Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Body Cream

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp

While experts recommend using facial products for your bald head, this Weleda moisturizer is acceptable for all body parts. With a medley of plant-rich ingredients like chamomile, rosemary extract and sunflower oil, this product restores all hydration to rough, dry skin. The instructions encourage using a small dab as the thick full-coverage product will leave a lasting glow. 

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF 60

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp

Whether you’re sporting a baseball cap, a hoodie or flaunting your now clean, moisturized head, sunscreen is essential for bald people. A broad spectrum one like this product from the viral brand, La Roche-Posay is ideal.

It offers a dermatology-approved formula of protective antioxidants and lightweight powders that will leave your skin nourished without becoming greasy. Plan to reapply it throughout the day to stay protected.

ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica Zinc Oxide and 100% Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50+

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp

If you want to splurge, check out this GQ-approved SPF. It checks off all the boxes—it’s broad spectrum, doesn’t leave a white case, and is sensitive-skin friendly. What makes its formula special is the DNA Repairsomes, which help heal existing sun damage. You should snag this sunscreen if you know you haven’t cared for your scalp.

Our NaturallyCurly team:

The men of NaturallyCurly have the sharpest scalps and are here to share their favorite products that help cleanse, smooth, and condition their skin. Check out their recommendations for products that can help keep your scalp skin happy and glowing.

Varsay Sirleaf, Director of Innovation

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp

Zachary Kaul, Senior Business Analyst

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
  1. Cleanser – Neutrogena T/Sal Shampoo
  2. Razor Bump Care – Topicals Ingrown Serum
  3. Moisturizer- Mielle Rosemary & Mint Scalp/Hair Strengthening Oil

Karton Zawolo, BeautyCon/NaturallyCurly Business Advisor

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
  1. Shea Moisture Bald Head Moisturizer
  2. Shea Moisture Full Beard Detangler
  3. Shea Moisture Beard Conditioning Oil
  4. Shea Moisture After Shave Elixir

Overall, a well-manicured bald head is undeniably sexy at any age. Take these 12 celebrity hunks, for example.

1. Steve Harvey

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
Image Source: @iamsteveharveytv

2. Samuel Jackson

Image Source: @sharifhamza

3. Ocho Cinco

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
Image Source: @ochocinco

4. Morris Chestnut

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
Image Source: @morrischestnutofficial

5. Common

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
Image Source: @alexjpiper

6. Boris Kodjoe

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
Image Source: @boriskodjoe

7. Vin Diesel

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
Image Source: @vindiesel

8. Tyrese Gibson

Image Source: @tyrese

10. Birdman

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
Image Source: @birdman

10. Shaq

Image Source: Getty Images for The Shaquille O’Neal Foundation

11. The Rock

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
Image Source: @therock

12. Shemar Moore

Yes, Bald Men Have To Take Care of Their Scalp
Image Source: @shemarfmoore
Kings Crowning Founder Darrell Spencer Talks The State of Black Male Beauty

As a kid, Darrell Spencer and his father headed to their local barbershop for a fresh cut every Saturday morning. Raised by  “a pretty boy” in Chicago, Saturday morning cuts and fades became the 27-year-old’s introduction to self-care and beauty as a black man. Today, he helps other black men embrace their own self-care journeys through his haircare brand, Kings Crowing

Spencer was working as a marketing and sales professional at Google when he decided to act on his entrepreneurial spirit. 

I worked at Google, Facebook, Linkedin, and Pinterest basically helping brands handle their paid advertisement across these platforms- building their brand and building their businesses so I had a lot of idle time, and I’m like, ‘why am I just building these other companies up?’ like if ‘I’m helping them out, I can do it myself,’ he said.

During the rising action of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, Spencer recognized a significant lack of self-care and beauty products catered towards men and, further, black men. His first product, The Crown, directly reflects his approach to bridging that gap. “The Crown” is a protective satin-lined cap to help men retain moisture, reduce breakage, and preserve overall hair health. The viral hair accessories include all hair types and lengths and offer a male-friendly alternative to bonnets, a protective headwear for women.

Image Source: @kings_crowning

There is a huge market for male grooming products. The industry is expected to be worth $115 billion by 2028. In 2022, Mckinsey & Co. found that black consumers make up only 2.5 percent of revenue in the beauty industry despite being responsible for 11.1 percent of total beauty spending. Further, the consulting firm found that addressing racial inequity in the beauty industry is a $2.6 billion opportunity. 

Spencer, who has been a full-time entrepreneur for a year, has mastered the essence of his business by fusing his passion for feeling and looking good with his marketing skillset and his keen eye for the needs of his community. We talked to this curl leader about everything from spotting beauty trends to implementing new products to the future of black male beauty.  

Since its initial launch, Kings Crowning has expanded into “King-rags” an elevated take on durags; a collection of satin-lined baseball hats, brimless hats, scrub caps, and hoodies; an Ultra Moisture hair care line and smell-good body butters.

When do you think you learned about what self-care and beauty looked like for you?

My dad, um, when he was young, he was a pretty boy. He ended up putting me on the game very early on, right? So, very early on, I had a clean-cut fade. I stayed in the barbershop probably in grade school every Saturday. Every Saturday, I loved it. Every Saturday morning, we went to get our haircuts, which was a mandatory weekly thing.

So that became routine and ritual, and I think that was probably when I first began to understand how important self-care and beauty are, and keeping up with that is important because it has to start with my hair. I think for a lot of black men, it starts with your hair, too. I think skin is another one we’re slowly working our way into for black men, but I think the primary point of beauty stems from our hair, and that was honestly mine, was getting haircuts.

Kings Crowning Founder Darrell Spencer Talks The State of Black Male Beauty

Then eventually, I grew my hair out, and I had curls, and then that kind of what [inspired] Kings Crowing and how it comes about because I’m like, ‘I don’t want to wear a bonnet, so what do I have to refer to as a man?’ and then that is how it all played out.

What has the transition from corporate America to entrepreneurship been like?

The transition has been interesting because now, I have my whole day to myself, and I have to build my schedule, you know? There are different things that I could not do with the brand and the business because I was working a full-time job.

Now, I have so much time to delegate different time slots. I think your note is interesting; this clear pathway exists, right? There is a track that I followed. Corporate America led me to my business, and it equipped me with the skillset and the knowledge to run my brand. 

The life of my brand came and came from paid advertising. That was the bread and butter and the engine of the brand and business. We run traffic through Google. Facebook, Snapchat, email, and SMS. So, all those marketing ploys and strategies I learned from corporate America honestly follow me. They gave me the resources and the knowledge to run this business as a viable CEO.

What role does social media play in your business strategy?

That’s how you differentiate your brand from the others and show your brand voice. So our brand voice- we’re very young, we’re very vibrant, and we use colloquial terms like ‘Wassup Bro?’, ‘Yo wassup king?’ like we talk like that, and that’s kind of the way for us to connect a lot easier with our consumers and customers.

Image Source: @kings_crowning

We want to create that so the distance feels smaller, easier, and closer, so we use that to emphasize our brand voice, but also through marketing. We create various short-form content and long-form content to ensure that we can market the products because it’s one thing to have products, but it’s another thing to be able to showcase how to use the product [and] how to wear the product.

How do you decipher staple products from trendy, quick products?

I try my best to let the consumers talk to me. I feel like you know what your staple is by the demand for it. So you know, if the customers are asking for this and they’re reviewing it and they’re falling off the shelf, that’s the staple product. You really can’t, as a CEO, choose what the staple product is.

You can, in a sense, roll out what it can be, but I think ultimately, your consumers are the people that’ll choose what is best and what they’re rolling with. So I say honestly, I like to let my consumers choose the best products and listen to them, especially comments. Through our paid advertising, you see all the comments.

I see a lot of suggestions from comments that I take and create those products through. I listen to our consumers and allow them to lead our decisions to ensure that I’m pushing out products catered to and geared toward what they want and need right now. It’s also about keeping up and noticing what’s hot now and then capitalizing. There’s room and space for everybody. I wouldn’t say I like the notion and the idea that if somebody already rolled something out, you can’t roll it out as well. We’re all in our niche [and] our own area and can grow in the same areas.

Kings Crowning Founder Darrell Spencer Talks The State of Black Male Beauty

Beauty and self-care can be taboo for black men. How have you kept your target audience engaged?

When I entered the brand, I entered the space. We were essentially the first of its kind. Now you’re seeing more and more men’s brands, which I love, but we were the first to roll out products for men to protect their hair, satin-lined products. You saw it everywhere for women but didn’t see it all for men. I started the conversation, right? I made it more comfortable, and I created a market. I marketed these products so that men felt comfortable in them, right?

I think that we have this stigma around bonnets and things like that for women, but where are the products for men to feel comfortable and wear? Where are the products that are marketed towards men? I think that when we begin to create products geared and marketed towards the issues men have and the features that will be beneficial and fruitful for men, that’s where you get started. So having the products is one, that’s how you start.

Image Source: @kings_crowning

How you market it, we intentionally market it by showing all different kinds of black men. We market it by showing all different kinds of hair. We want all men to feel heard and seen through our products. The second step is how we market it to show our audience that you can see yourself in our products. Thirdly and lastly, I would say conversations. One big thing that I’m about, and I recently did, is actually with another major Chicago brand called the Beauty Genie in Chicago [by] Ebony Kareem and her brand. We collaborated to have just open conversation and dialogue.

Two weeks ago, we were over at Tuskegee University and went there. We brought over this theme called the King’s Council, where we had an open conversation with the black men on campus about beauty, beauty standards, growth as men, how we can be better, insecurities, and vulnerability. We wanted to have a very open and candid conversation to ensure that we’re pushing the conversations, to ensure that we’re pushing us as black men forward. We’re just not afraid to have open conversations and do much with our brand.

This is interesting. Why Tuskegee? Is there a specific reason you chose an HBCU?

One thing about me is that I don’t forget about my people. I create these products for my people, so I always want to reach out to them, which is why HBCUs are important to me and many others. Tuskegee University was already a target for my business partner, Ebony Kareem, so it made sense. It made sense to start there because she already had an existing relationship, so let’s bring it there first.

I think the goal is to make it bigger where we’re traveling across all these different HBCUs and having open and candid conversations for black men to feel comfortable because I think safe spaces are important. I think we have to foster safe spaces. The question is, how do we foster safe spaces? So we want to facilitate those areas and those rooms.

How do you see King’s Crowning expanding in the future? is there something in particular you’re looking forward to accomplishing?

We have some satin-lined baseball hats right now, but as a CEO, I always want to be innovative and edgy, right? So one thing that I want to do [is] I want to give a complete facelift to all our hats. I want to create innovative designs [and] make them edgier and more current. So, I’m starting with our hats on the closer end and to the near future. I want to create a long list of hats we can run out of: trucker hats with satin-lined, everything.

That’s the start of it. But also rolling out hair growth oil for men. It can be great for your waves, your locs, your curls, and your afro, so it’s all-encompassing. So, I want to continue to do that and to innovate in the space. Eventually, I’d love to break into retailers. That’s one of the biggest things that I wanna do. But what we’re also working on, lastly, is rolling out a sister brand of Kings Crowing.

Image Source: @kings_crowning

We’re going to roll out Crown’s Skin, which is essentially body butters. So that’ll be the skin care arm of Kings Crowning, and our very first parts will be the best body butter that you can ever have. It’s all organic, but it’s essentially cologne in a bottle. Cologne through body butter is different, and they smell amazing, so that’s my long-term vision. We’re building, and we’re grinding over here.

What does the future of black male beauty look like, in your opinion?

I think it’s a scale. We’re not a monolith. It ranges. I think we’re now at the cusp of men and black men feeling comfortable and safe to discuss. Let me reel it back. I think that there have been a lot of black men that are comfortable. Still, I think hyper-masculinity, the way we have been trained societally [and] sociologically, it’s been ingrained in black men to be hyper-masculine and to veer away from things that may make you closer to the feminine, right?

But there have been black men who have been trying to fight that battle and that stigma, and there are others who are still a little delayed. When it comes down to that and that notion, I think we’re doing a good job, and we’re at the cusp of breaking into it. We’re getting there.

Crowning one King at a time, Spencer creates space for black men across the beauty.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

Fashion month is fully underway, and black designers worldwide are showing up and out. From custom braided hair pieces to melted lace to slick-back buns, the hair choices for a collection help to tell each designer’s story and often explore their experiences with black culture and style throughout history.

Thanks to organizations like Black In Fashion Council, 15 Percent Pledge, and Harlem Fashion Row championing black-owned brands and initiating conversations around diversity and inclusion in the industry, ‘we’ can finally claim a spot in the fashion scene.

In 2022, 15 Percent Pledge reported more than 25% of the New York Fashion Week calendar featured black-owned brands, a historic moment for the industry. That number is under 10% this year, with just eight on the calendar. One can only wonder if fashion has hit a standstill when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

Contrary to the new ‘DEI’ filled world we live in, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to maintain what seemed to be promising results from 2020’s racial reckoning. New York Times fashion critic Vanessa Friedman believes the industry is still very much in the same place it was in years ago. 

This conversation extends to the behind-the-scenes of fashion shows. Last season, Vogue Business reported many Black models resorted to doing their own hair “because hairdressers lacked the expertise to work with textured hair.” A similar conversation sparked when a viral TikTok of white makeup artists struggling to color-match a black model’s skin surfaced online. “I look like a ghost,” the model, Megan Millian says in the video before cutting to a clip of her crying on Facetime.

Image Source: @megan.milan

“This conversation is cyclical,” said the co-founder of Harlem Fashion Row, Brandice Daniel, in an interview. “The conversation keeps happening every few decades so we have to figure out, how do we set up something that lasts in perpetuity?”

But long before being welcomed into the industry, black people were fashionistas. Emerging black designers stand on the shoulders of black fashion icons like Anne Lowe, Dapper Dan, and Patrick Kelly, who weren’t necessarily given their flowers immediately. For an industry that has historically excluded us entirely, it’s comforting to see creatives like Rachel Scott, Sergio Hudson, Rebecca Henry, Akua Shabaka, and many more black talents seize the opportunity to put on for their communities and tap black beauty, styling, and casting experts along the way. After all, hair and beauty exemplify blackness in its purest form. 

New York Fashion Week 


Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week
Image Source: @martinkeenan

The name Diotima is derived from Greek mythology, referring to the priestess who taught Socrates about love. Caribbean-American designer Rachel Scott is certainly doing just that for the American consumer as she takes an artisanal approach to her Jamaican-inspired designs. While intricate crochet creations have become the brand’s claim to fame, Diotima’s collections also tell the story of Scott’s Kingston upbringing through tailored suits, jamaica-red tops, and sparkly knitwear that exude Caribbean flair. From locs, to short-cuts, to curly and coily hair, Scott embraces all hair types and styles for her collections.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week
Image Source: @martinkeenan

The designer tapped go-to fashion week hair stylist Joey George for her sophomore debut at NYFW. The beauty concept jumps between a nod to Jamaican church women and the mysterious girl hanging the wall of the club. George and his hair team used elastic cords, and Kevin.Murphy’s Shimmer. Shine spray to create half-up, half-down styles slicked into a side-part, twisted, and swooped to hover over the models’ eyes. A few models rocked effortless ‘fros.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week
Image Source: @martinkeenan

Diotima passed the tests of some of fashion’s most esteemed judges, winning the CFDA’s 2023 American Emerging Designer of the Year, garnering a finalist seat for the LVMH prize and a nominee for the Latin American Fashion Award last year alone. Photos courtesy of on Instagram.


Try: Diotima’s crystal-flecked crochet for a night out 🌙

♬ original sound – Moda Operandi
Image Source: @modaoperandi

Sergio Hudson

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

Sergio Hudson’s latest collection hit the runway in New York on Feb. 12. Defined by powerful feminine business casual pieces, Sergio Hudson has mastered grown and sexy. The designer’s profound understanding of womenswear may be why he’s been able to dress First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, Kerry Washington, and Keke Palmer so seamlessly. Born in South Carolina, Hudson regularly draws inspiration from black culture to inform his designs.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

His most recent collection nods to black glamor (think Diahann Carroll in her prime) so the bombshell curl looks styled on melted lace wigs was fitting. Tamika Gibson, the viral Bold Hold lace glue creator, sponsored the entire hair process. As a brand whose ethos encourages boldness and confidence, the few models owning short, coily afros on Hudson’s runway also made sense.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

Laquan Smith

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

Queen’s very own Laquan Smith has become a household name at NYFW for his ultra-sexy, show-stopping designs. Smith’s work exudes a hyper-feminine, bad b*tch aesthetic that has allowed him to consistently dress the who’s who of popular culture, including the bad gal herself, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, Zendaya, Indya Moore, Tinashe, and Lori Harvey. This season, Smith zeroed in on 80s and 90s glamor using satin, fur, and high-shine fabrics paired with plunging necklines. We can’t talk about glamor and leave out hair and makeup. Fashion hairstylist Lacy Redway and her team went for sleekness and detail-oriented updos.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

The models’ slicked ponytails were juxtaposed by intentionally messy, spiked buns in the middle of the head, which left face cards on full display. Some models even had three buns, creating the illusion of a mohawk. Reminiscent of Grace Jones’s infamous short-cut, a few others sported TWA’s. Smith and Redway made sure braids were depicted as glamorous too, with a couple of models owning two slicked French braids around the crowns of the head.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

Frederick Anderson

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week
Image Source: @gettyimages

Though he founded his brand in 2018, Frederick Anderson is a fashion vet. Before going solo, Anderson worked under Douglas Hannant, a well-known New York designer, to create custom two-piece designs for the city’s elite. Since dabbling in fur, fragrance, and bespoke products with Hannant, Anderson has focused on curating a luxury experience around his designs with close attention to fabrics and texture. Anderson’s work has a contemporary feel though he’s spent over 20 years in the fashion game.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

The latest Frederick Anderson collection flirts with the designer’s earliest memories of the Blue’s music scene in his hometown, Memphis, Tennessee, and his determination to keep the ‘Frederick Anderson woman’ in daring, happy, modern pieces. Anderson’s Southern roots came through in the hair choices. Celebrity stylist Edward Tricomi put the models in shaggy mullet-cut wigs, adding an androgynous, country feel to the presentation. 

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

House of Aama

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

Hailing from Los Angeles, House of Aama is run by mother-daughter duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka. The clothes and their presentations often highlight the duo’s connection to their spirituality. Have you ever heard the term “divine feminine?” This up-and-coming brand’s clothing personifies the spiritual concept. Realizing their mission of “evoking dialogue, social commentary and conversations around heritage,” House of Aama offers exploratory textiles and designs that draw on black history.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

This was evident in its latest ready-to-wear collection. Set in a jazz speakeasy, several garments in the collection paid homage to LA’s Jazz scene in the 1970s while others pulled from the early 1900s at HBCUs. House of Aama stayed true to its roots as well by including new evening and resort wear pieces that they are oh-so-good at. Hair took a back seat at this show as the clothes did the talking in most of the looks. Each model sported classic styles that made sense in the show’s historical context. We spotted a mix of voluminous afros, sleek buns, straightened bob-cuts, and pixies. 

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week

London Fashion Week

Tolu Coker

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week
Image Source: @jasonlloydevans

This year’s London Fashion Week will proceed almost directly after NYFW, and Tolu Coker is one of the few black designers expected to show a collection. A young British-Nigerian designer, Coker uses her collections to mobilize communities and create social change while highlighting black global experiences. The last Tolu Coker collection chronicled the traditional Yoruba naming ceremony using intricate hair designs and accessories to tell the story of the designer’s ancestors.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week
©TOLU COKER, Photography by Jason Lloyd Evans
Image Source: @jasonlloydevans

UK hairdressing chain, Toni & Guy, and hair artist Efi Davies used braiding techniques to create bespoke hairpieces that acknowledged Coker’s Yoruba aunties and broader modern styles of the diaspora. Barber and artistic director Dexter Dapper oversaw the male models’ grooming, again underscoring that a clean haircut is consistent for men across the diaspora. Some of the male models sported headwear from Lucy Barlow, an esteemed British hatmaker.


the show was soooo good, i was like that guy smiling at the fits !!!! #londonfashionweek #lfw #ss24 #tiktokfashion #fashiontiktok #tolucoker #runway #fashion

♬ Lonely – Leasis
Image Source: mummymax7

Paris Fashion Week

Wales Bonner

Image Source: dazed

Wales Bonner has been the talk of the cultural zeitgeist lately with its viral Adidas Sambas collaboration and off-duty model-esque clothing. The brainchild of Grace Wales Bonner, the brand regularly uses the fashion powerhouse’s experience as a mixed-race person in Southeast London to inform its interpretations of the black male experience. Its latest showing during Men’s Fashion Week Paris drew inspiration from 90’s fashion at Howard University.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week
Image Source: angelechat

Nostalgic imagery from the HBCUs archives inspired Bonner to send college-style crewnecks and relaxed track pants down the runway.  Beauty editor and global stylist Jawara headed Wales Bonner’s hair team. The diverse cast of models allowed a wide range of styles– a youthful look was consistent throughout the collection. Cornrows with colorful stacked beads were the most on-brand of all the styles.

Even As Fashion Hits a Standstill, These Black Designers Are Cementing Their Status at Fashion Week
Image Source: lambembika

These designers are doing the work to tell our stories throughout the diaspora. As diversity in the industry ebbs and flows, it’s important to amplify and support them consistently. London Fashion Week will commence on Feb. 16, and Milan will follow.

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

A couple of years ago, I made a rash decision to bleach my hair almost platinum blonde. Unaware of the high-maintenance journey I was about to embark on, it wasn’t long before I noticed drastic differences in my once dense, relatively long (thanks to the pandemic) coily hair. My ends were thinner than ever. Some parts of my hair had completely broken off. It was dry and brittle. It was then that I realized exactly what I had signed up for. I spent the last year nurturing my hair back to life, hoping to go blonde again eventually. In June, I returned to my ash blonde roots, with the right commitment this time. Here’s how I did it.

Blonde Hair and Hair Loss

The First Mistake: It was October of 2021 when I got the urge to dye my dark brown hair blonde. Fresh out of a long-term relationship, away at college for the first time, and needing a new look, I wanted to embrace change head-on. What better way to do that than bleaching my hair? I debated the idea for a couple of weeks, polling my tribe. I had a reference picture of singer Kelis in her blonde era to help sell the idea. My friends loved it. 

My family, specifically my mom and grandmothers, warned me about the implications of such a drastic color change. “You’re getting really busy, are you sure you’ll be able to take care of it?” questioned my mother. “Blonde is a lot of work, and your hair will break off,” said my grandmother. Bleaching completely disrupts your hair’s structure as it breaks down the protective outer layer to lighten the strand, altering the hair’s elasticity and reducing moisture.

In true 19-year-old fashion– I didn’t care. My sights were set on becoming a blondie. I, coincidentally, was headed to my hometown in Indiana for Thanksgiving. Hoping to kill two birds with one stone, I enlisted a cousin’s cousin to bleach my hair. After two rounds of bleach on the front, a third in the back, and nine hours, my hair was a beautiful mix of ash-blonde tones. I loved it.

The day I initially went blonde in November of 2021. I bleached my hair several times in one session.

The results of my initial color session.

Throughout my natural hair journey, twist-outs have been my go-to style.

The Second Mistake: I have always nurtured my hair. In fact, wash days are therapeutic for me. Washing out all of the energy from the past week from my hair feels like the perfect way to reset. But I hadn’t done much research on maintaining blonde hair. I continued to use my slew of natural hair products for wash days and my go-to twist-out styles. My routine didn’t necessarily include items geared toward color-treated hair. I noticed my strands felt dryer faster than normal but considered that a sign to wash and deep condition it more frequently. 

My hair pulled back into a bun a month after bleaching it.

Pre-breakage, my hair was the healthiest it had ever been.

The Final Straw: Things were great until my spring semester. I became super focused on getting involved on campus and had less time to care for my hair. I turned to slick back bun styles– I wanted to sport a low-maintenance style that didn’t make me look juvenile. It didn’t help that the colorist I had entrusted with my hair wasn’t in the same state for treatments or follow-up appointments. By summer, the dense, mid-back length hair I had spent the entire pandemic growing out was broken, brittle, and dry. The mid-section of my hair was entirely broken off. The perimeter could barely be put into a bun. I was forced to start over. 

I suffered from breakage all over my head but the perimeter and crown of my head was worst as seen in my see-through ends. My hair could barely be pulled back into a bun.

Over the next year, I was able to restore my hair health. Now, I’m back blonde while still maintaining the integrity of my hair. These are the products that my blonde, type four hair can’t live without. I regained some density and retain length after restructuring my hair routine.

Between treatments and protective styling, I trimmed my hair regularly to prevent more split ends and breakage. This is after a year of growing out my hair.

I decided it’d be best to start fresh with a bob haircut before going blonde.

This is my hair after using the Mizani and Carol’s Daughter and after going blonde the second time. My colorist did an amazing job.

Building a Routine to Restore My Hair Health

Blonde hair is high maintenance. Outside of costly touch-ups and salon treatments, it requires constant bond reinforcement to keep the hair strong and nourished. A solid routine was my first step in restoring my hair health.

OLAPLEX Hair Repair Treatment Kit, $62

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

I had heard about Olaplex through friends. I would occasionally see it on social media. My local salon has it on the shelves. Looking to revive my curls and retain length, I knew I needed a roster of heavy-hitting products. I immediately began researching Olaplex and found this hair repair treatment kit that was essentially everything I needed– nourishment, bond repair, and hydration. I initially used the kit twice a month and transitioned to once a month based on my hair’s needs. As someone who loves switching up my ‘do, the No. 3 Hair Perfector is still my go-to product after quick weaves, sew-ins and other styles that require more heat.

Pureology Hydrate Moisturizing Shampoo, $37

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

Healthy-looking hair starts at the shampoo bowl. Hydration and moisture were pivotal parts of reviving my dry, brittle hair. This shampoo is life-changing. With just a dime-size amount it lathers on the hair beautifully leaving it feeling clean and soft. I also feel like my other products penetrate my hair shaft much better after two washes with this shampoo due to its hydrating nature. My style results seem to last longer than with my other shampoos. 

Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Hair Mask, Deep Conditioner for Dry Damaged or Color Treated Hair, $35.24

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

Deep conditioning has always been an instrumental part of my hair care routines.  A nourishing hair mask was a must-have in my hair revival kit. This Briogeo deep conditioner is the truth. It softened my curls almost immediately and, in my hair crisis, helped me retain the little hair I had left. I want this product buried with me.

Creme of Nature Pure Honey Moisture Whip Twisting Cream, $7.29

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

This is a product I picked up after my initial color job. It’s at the top of my twist-outs’ roster and when used with the products above, it keeps my hair moisturized for an entire week. I often use it alone directly after washing out my deep conditioner.

Current Status of My Hair

Since cutting my hair into a bob (to get rid of the remaining blonde strands) and going to a master colorist in DC, where I attend college, for more blonde balayage (that I love!), my hair is growing out nicely. As I said, I love a good sew-in and quick weave, so I’ve been extremely intentional about focusing my treatments on the edges and the middle part where I leave my hair out. I am also purposeful about planning my hairstyles, always leaving at least a week between styles. I still actively use all of the products that have revived my hair, but I’ve added a few gems to the routine. These are the products that have helped me become a healthy blonde.

Tresemme Moisture Rich with Vitamin E Conditioner, $6.79

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

This Tresemme conditioner makes my blonde, type four hair feel like BUTTER! I usually allow this to sit on my hair after my shampoo and before going in with a deep conditioner. It’s a great detangler. I love that it’s affordable and accessible as well.

Mizani 25 Miracle Leave-In Cream, $26

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

The aunties were on to something with Mizani products. I picked this one up in my colorist’s salon and am so grateful I did. After putting so much time, effort, and money into my wash-day haircare, this leave-in cream retains all the moisture and hydration from the preceding products. My hair is immediately soft after using just a drop of it. I use it for wash-and-gos, twist-outs, blow dries, and refreshing my leave-outs. It has 25 benefits for curly hair, and I’m obsessed with the smell too.

Carol’s Daughter Goddess Strength True Stretch Defining Cream, $16.49

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

I grew up on Carol’s Daughter products, so adding this to my routine has symbolized a return to my roots. This, in combination with the Mizani leave-in and my go-to gel, has single-handedly transformed me into a wash-and-go natural. Not only are my curls extremely juicy and defined when I use this, but they also are super soft. I love how lightweight the cream is, as well. 

Olaplex No.7 Bonding Oil, $30

My Blonde Type 4 Hair Can’t Live Without These Products

If you haven’t drawn this conclusion, do not sleep on Olaplex! Its innovative bond-building technology and wide range of products have been instrumental in reinvigorating and maintaining my hair. When refreshing my leave-out, I typically use the bonding oil as a heat protectant or a seal. Sometimes, I’ll put a few drops in my hands before unraveling my twists. My hair is noticeably shiny every time I reach for this product, and I like to think it’s protecting my hair from everyday wear and tear.

While it wasn’t ideal for experiencing a hair crisis, I learned that haircare is a continuous journey requiring as much attention, patience, and care as skincare or body care. I’m excited to see how my ‘fro continues to grow and flourish.

Does Your Hair Need a Bond Builder?

Is healthy hair on your vision board this year? Whether at the expense of silk press or sew-in season, picking out a voluminous ‘fro, or a favorite box dye, your hair is likely to experience some wear and tear at some point in your hair journey. Curlfriend, consider investing in a bond builder!

Bond Builder Crash Course 

The first step in your journey is understanding how hair bonds work. Hair is composed of ionic, covalent, and hydrogen bonds. Heat tools, chemical treatments (yes, color counts), and even brushing (sorry, slick back lovers!) can all weaken these bonds, resulting in excessive breakage, brittleness, or split ends. Bond-building products use unique, patented chemical technology to repair the damage by recoupling and strengthening broken bonds in the hair shaft. According to international hairstylist, content creator and Olaplex expert Tom Smith, “hair bonders literally relink the disulfide bonds in the hair, creating a molecular change that truly reverses the look and feel of various types of damage.”
Image Source: @chloeanabraidy

Compared to other commercial treatments like deep conditioners or protein treatments, bond builders work from the inside out and, when used in conjunction with other products, are believed to revitalize the hair’s strength, structure, and moisture. While haircare professionals have traditionally used the treatments, the market for at-home hair bond treatments is vastly growing. Gone are the days of only getting access to bond builders at a salon.

Do I Need Them?

While experts recommend bond builders for color-treated or noticeably damaged hair, virgin hair can also benefit. If you want to minimize frizz and add some luster back to your curls, it won’t hurt to integrate bond-building treatments into your routine, especially for coarse, dense hair. Due to the intricate blend of amino acids, proteins, and silicone used in bond repair products, healthy, defined, and shiny results can be immediate. 

Now that you’ve passed your crash course in hair bond products, we’ve compiled a list of the top-rated bond builders in case you’re ready to make your first purchase.

Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector

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We can’t discuss bond builders without highlighting the brand that started it all. Olaplex introduced its innovative formula in 2014, single-handedly “inventing the bond-building category” in haircare. The Hair Perfector is a great way to break into the bond-building world. Apply a generous amount and leave it in for at least ten minutes before continuing your wash routine and enjoy your soft, bouncy results.

Living Proof Triple Bond Complex

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A little research supplemented with a few TikTok videos will show you this Living Proof leave-in hair mask is all the rage in the hair industry. Not only does it claim to make your hair 8x stronger, build all three types of bonds, and visibly reduce split ends in one use, but it also provides heat protection. The mask is priced at $45 and is an investment product for all hair types. The upkeep may be high-maintenance as the treatment says to use weekly.

Curlsmith Bond Curl Rehab Salve

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The Curlsmith Bond Curl Rehab Salve is a tried and true pre-poo treatment that is guaranteed to give you a bang for your buck. Loaded with proteins and bond-building amino acids, the treatment is perfect for repairing and hydrating your hair. Be sure to read the instructions before applying, as Curlsmith recommends different approaches for different hair types. Plus, it’s only $30 at Sephora!

K18 leave-in molecular repair hair mask

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If you’re chronically online like us, you’ve probably heard of this increasingly popular, expensive bottle. The leave-in molecular repair hair mask does just what it implies, using a molecular formula called K18PEPTIDE to “repair damage from bleach + color, chemical services, and heat.” In the mood to splurge? Try it out for smooth, soft hair!

L’oreal Everpure Bond Strengthening Pre-Shampoo Treatment

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Looking for a treatment that’s effective but won’t break the bank? This L’oreal Everpure pre-poo is right up your alley. The first step of the collection, this treatment uses citric acid to smooth and repair hair after one wash. It is also vegan, sulfate-free, silicone-free, paraben-free, dye-free, aluminum-free and formaldehyde-free. L’oreal doesn’t discriminate either– the product is said to work on anyone with breakage or weak hair.