Photo Courtesy of Natalie Live
If I had to summarize my curly hair journey from the start, I would have said that I simply wanted products that moisturize my hair and control frizz at a manageable price. As I have become more educated about products, I would add that I want products that are more natural and free from harmful chemicals. It still surprises me that the FDA does not “require cosmetic products and ingredients, other than color additives, to have FDA approval before they go on the market.” As a community, we are becoming very knowledgeable about what ingredients to look for and what to avoid. So despite this lack of regulation, manufacturers are increasingly creating more natural products in response to their customers’ desire for better ingredients, and here’s why I think they won’t be slowing down.

What is considered to be a trend?

Merriam-Webster defines trend in two contradictory ways. The first definition is, “a general movement,” which can be applied to things such as the idea that the growing naturally curly community is a movement based on a long term change in mindset. The second definition is, “a current style or preference,” which can be applied to short-lived sensations such as last year’s Instagram bun dropping fad. I would argue that the curly community’s desire for natural ingredients falls under the first definition; it is here to stay rather than just a fleeting desire that we’ll forsake. 

Indications that natural ingredients are here to stay

In some respects, the only true way to know if something is a trend or not is to look back over time to see what had permanence and what faded. However, there is plenty of evidence that indicates we are amid an enduring change in the beauty industry. A “Green Beauty Barometer” survey of over 1,000 women conducted by Kari Gran, a natural skin care and makeup company, found that “39% of women claim they will buy more all-natural beauty products in the next two years than they currently do.” In addition, nearly half of the women surveyed claimed it was important for their hair products to be all natural.

In addition to surveys that indicate our preferences shifting, there has been an increasing number of women who are embracing DIY natural ingredient products. Not only are naturally curly women willing to spend sometimes hours on wash day cleansing, moisturizing, and styling their hair, many have invested time in making their own products. Apple cider vinegar rinses and flax seed gel are two examples of DIY solutions that are natural and work well.

One of the most exciting things for me has been seeing the emergence of so many great indie hair brands with a natural ingredient focus. Popular brands such as SheaMoisture lead all of their collection names with their natural ingredients, and many other brands are following suit. More broadly, consumers are becoming more conscious of ingredients and making their purchasing decisions based on what’s in a product as well as what it can do. This extends beyond haircare to cosmetics, personal care, food, and household products as seen by the success of companies such as Whole Foods and The Honest Company.

How long will we care about natural ingredients?

Beyond the evidence that natural ingredients are here to stay, there are broader industry changes that indicate that we’ll care about natural ingredients for a long time. As emerging brands have been providing customers with great products with premium ingredients, larger industry leaders have taken note. We are starting to see many large brands incorporate and highlight natural ingredients such as coconut oil and argan oil. L’Oreal’s acquisition of Carol’s Daughter and Clorox’s acquisition of Burt’s Bees nearly a decade ago are among some of the indications that beauty industry behemoths view natural products as a long term growth vehicle.

These large companies can put marketing dollars behind products with natural ingredients and seeing more products on shelves will continue to raise awareness about the importance of natural ingredients. In a virtuous cycle, curly veterans and new naturals will continue to demand products with great ingredients, and I believe companies will increasingly cater to that in the future. Our beloved products are here to stay and are likely to get even better as companies innovate using an even wider variety of natural ingredients.

Do you think natural ingredients are here to stay, or are a fad? Let us know in the comments!