PHOTO COURTESY OF CURLY PENNY

Why I DIY

When I first went natural back in 2005 I was all alone. I did not know anyone who was natural and it never occurred to me to look on the web for support like NaturallyCurly, which has been around since 1998. I flailed about furiously making one bad decision after another all the while worrying if what I was doing was actually a good idea. By 2008, I got out of my feelings and decided to be stronger about my choice and take my natural hair to the next level. I came out from under the wigs and braids to scour the stores for products that would hydrate and be kind to my HAIR, only to be left feeling challenged and disheartened. Where were the products for us? It seems so surreal that it took millions of women embracing their own textures to spark such a tidal wave of products and information but it did.

The Maker Movement

Until there was a larger and easily accessible selection of products for curly and coily hair, many of us were in kitchens making our own concoctions. Many went on to create their own lines right out of those small kitchens and more women-owned lines began to take off. Believe it or not but we are a part of the Maker Movement. Techopedia defines the maker movement as “a trend in which individuals or groups of individuals create and market products that are recreated and assembled using unused, discarded or broken electronic, plastic, silicon or virtually any raw material and/or product from a computer-related device.”

Brit Moran, founder and CEO of Brit + Co sees the bigger picture of the Maker Movement and how it encompasses more than just the technology fields. “Brit + Co is an online media and e-commerce platform that provides tools to teach, inspire, and enable creativity among women and girls.” The hair products that are being created in kitchens and garages are just as much a part of this movement as one tinkering with an old broken electronic.

DIY is Changing

DIY no longer just means a “how-to” like how to change a tire but it has a much broader foundation that uses an element of skill to create something of your own. This renewed industrial revolution is making way for small businesses to thrive and it also encourages the rekindling of the spirit in the individual. Technology is great but creativity and the artisan is greater. The need to do for oneself benefits the wallet and, depending on what is being made, most likely benefits the maker. Creating one’s own hair products tends to be cheaper and gives the maker more control over the quality, but whether your goal is to become a business or merely just create your own product is not even the point. The point is to pursue the DIY movement for your own personal needs, especially if commercial products are not meeting those needs.

So, in my opinion DIY for natural hair care is not dead. It is part of a thriving trend and here to stay. Women are still creating their hair care lines and most certainly creating their refreshers, deep treatments, and hair masks. There is room for creativity and the marketplace to coexist and flourish. Here are three examples that the DIY not going anywhere and only stepping up its game with stronger foundations, marketability, and necessity.

I'd love to hear what you think! Do you still DIY? Or are all your needs met in the haircare aisle now?