Is Black Haircare Black? [VIDEO]

In 1910, Madame C.J. Walker – a Black woman – was featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the first American woman self-made millionaire. In the early 1900s, Walker became a Black haircare pioneer with her development of hair products for Black hair. Not only did she profit from her innovations, but The Walker System, which included cosmetics, the Walker Schools and licensed Walker agents to sell her hair products, employed thousands of Black women and fueled their own entrepreneurial legacies.

READ: 10 Things Professional Hairstylists Want You To Stop Doing To Your Hair

Today, step into most beauty supply stores and you’ll find that although they are in flagships of Black neighborhoods and filled with products marketed toward Black consumers, the owners don’t typically look like us. According to a study from Market research firm Mintel, the Black haircare industry in 2012 was estimated at $684 million – likely heavily underestimated. A more accurate number is closer to $500 billion (a half trillion dollars). Mintel is quoted in a Huffington Post article stating: