Money & Mane-tenance: How The Hair Industry Is Cashing In On Our Crown

White hands cut a woman of color's hair

Money & Mane-tenance: How The Hair Industry Is Cashing In On Our Crown

Part two of BET's "The Glam Gap" combs through the hair industry, and how everyone is cashing in on our curls and coils... except for us.

Published October 2, 2019

Written by Soraya Joseph

Part two of BET's The Glam Gap recently aired, and it was all about our curls & coils. In the second installment of the four part series, Black business experts and hair aficionados sat down to discuss the Black hair industry, and our role as buyers and suppliers. 

While guests and researchers brushed on the topic of how much money is spent to maintain their mane, ladies chimed in that they've spent anywhere near $20,000 in a lifetime on hair products alone, to $40,000 on wigs - annually.

"I'm never giving up wigs. I will wear wigs for the rest of my life. They can bury me in a wig," Celebrity Hair Stylist, Ty Allure, revealed, after disclosing that she spends tens of thousands on wig units, annually.

According to Cheryl Grace, the Senior Vice President of Community Alliance and Consumer Engagement at Nielsen, "Black women are spending $53 million out of about $63 million every year for haircare preparation." It was also determined that Black Americans in particularly spend upwards of nine times more on ethnic hair and beauty products than their white and non-hispanic counterparts.

Now that's a costly coil.

"We're spending more because we are using more, but are willingness to pay has clearly shown that we are willing to pay that much, so that's another factor that keeps the price point where it is," cosmetic chemist Erica "Sister Scientist" Douglas said.

Douglas continued, "Because if there is a willingness to pay, then what's the motivation to introduce cheaper products?"

According to Nielsen reports, Black women's consumer preferences are driving total Black spending power towards 1.5 trillion by 2021, 73% of brands studied show a higher sense of brand loyalty among Black women.

While on the topic of Black women being the leading consumers of the hair industry, experts revealed that while there is inclusion as far as Black buyers go, there is exclusion on the business side. Basically, our dollars are welcomed, so long as we are trying to be buyers, and not suppliers.

"Other communities have taken note of this (Black haircare business), and honestly kind of hijacked the beauty industry. And there are literally industries, like the hair industry, that you can not break into. Black people can not sell hair to other Black people. vendors will not work with them, distributors won't work with them. isn't that crazy?  So, that's what we're finding. There is wealth being made, it's being spent by Black women, but not being spent with Black women," financial advisor , Tiffany "The Budgetnista"  Aliche, revealed.

Inclusive Marketing Expert, Andrew McCaskill, spoke a bit more to this, encouraging aspiring Black hair distributors to reclaim their power in a business that is essentially for us, but not profited by us.

"We don't recognize that economic power we bring to the table. We haven't talked about that power enough... We do move culture. We do move markets. This entire industry would fail without Black folks' $1 Billion. That's power. As we move from consumers to creators, we also  then move into much more powerful positions in every aspect of what we do," McCaskill pointed out.

Watch Part 2 of The Glam Gap series above!

The Glam Gap airs every Wednesday at 6pm ET, only on BET Digital!

Photo credit: Getty Images (JGI/Jamie Grill)


Latest in style