Relaxer sales fall but Black haircare market is booming, thanks to natural hair movement

The natural hair movement is fueling growth in the Black haircare market, as beauty fans get back to basics, new research has found.

According to market intelligence agency Mintel, Black consumer expenditure of shampoo increased by 13% between 2015 and 2017, and now claims an estimated 19% share of the market. The trend is set to continue this year, with shampoo sales among Black consumers expected to reach an estimated $473 million in 2017 — the largest percent growth seen in the category in the last five years. Conditioner sales, which currently hold an estimated 19% of the market, are expected to grow 3.5% this year to reach an estimated $491 million. Meanwhile, relaxer sales are falling, dropping 36.6% between 2012-17.

“Wearing relaxer-free, natural hair is the norm for most Black consumers, especially among young, trendy consumers who are adopting a variety of styles appropriate for work and play,” said Toya Mitchell, Multicultural Analyst at Mintel, in a statement. “Interest in chemical-free hair, a desire for healthy hair and new methods of achieving straight hairstyles are rendering relaxers unnecessary for many consumers.”

The research found that 79% of consumers have worn a natural hairstyle in the past year (leading up to May 2017), and 40% of participants said that maintaining healthy hair was a priority for them. Just under one-third (29%) avoid unhealthy hair styling techniques, and 52% said their haircare regimen consisted of 3-4 products.

Overall, Mintel estimates that consumer expenditure on Black haircare in 2017 will total $2.54 billion, falling just 0.4 percent from the prior year.

“Black consumers wearing their hair naturally is no longer an emerging trend, rather the way forward,” concluded Mitchell.

To read the full Mintel report, see


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