What Happened to the Natural Hair Community on YouTube? | Did Relaxers Make a Comeback? | Blog Essay

Now I know I’m not the only person that was introduced to YouTube by way of relaxer to natural hair transitions and natural hair journey videos. You know you used to watch them length check videos too LOL A friend of mine sat me down over a decade ago and showed me a video on yours truly YouTube. The video was about Jane Carter Solutions natural haircare products. I watched that video and then later we went to one of those holistic health product and essential oils stores and guess what I saw on the shelf? I’ll wait for you to guess. Yep! you’re right, I saw Jane Carter Solution products. For the first time I witnessed the YouTube ecommerce to “brick and mortar” pipeline. That my friends, is the end of the beginning of this story. How natural hair ruled an error.

India Arie has a song titled “I Am Not My Hair” and that pretty much sums how I feel

33 Monique Moments

How Natural Hair Ruled an Error

OK, so this is how it started for me. I (a woman with afro textured hair) started to pay attention to the damage that was being introduced to my hair when I went to the beauty shop to get my hair “relaxed”. Then I started to get curious about whether or not my hair would actually “curl”. The reason I put quotes around the word curl is because growing up my mother took great care of my thick long hair by washing conditioning and blow drying my hair every two weeks. So that meant I didn’t wear my afro out.

So, when I saw the shingle method on the Ms. Jessies haircare videos, I was like: “hold up, you mean my hair can actually make a spiral curl with some water and gel??” Of course, I purchased the products during their BOGO sale on black Friday. Ya’ll remember that? Leave a comment if you do. Am I telling my age? LOL I hope not. After I discovered Ms. Jessies, Shea Moisture, and Carols Daughter it was a done deal. The relaxer was a thing of the past and Natural Hair YouTube influenced just about every style and product I bought from then on.

Styles That Took Over the Hair Industry and Possibly Cut Into the Checks of Beauticians

It’s one thing to let a relaxer grow out, it’s another thing to think that natural hair YouTubers were cosmetologist. Majority of them were not and still aren’t trained cosmologist. This is where a few issues started. Beauticians were all of the sudden faced with women telling them how they wanted their taken care of according to “whichever” natural hair YouTuber they watched. Can you imagine someone underestimating your expertise, knowing they have no training on the scientific makeup of the human hair strand? I will go ahead and disclaim that some stylists were burning scalps, but that’s not part of this convo.

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You already know what happens when consumers think they know better, they stop going to the beautician. This is the part, to me, that was unfortunate. It was like overnight box perms that flooded store shelves were replaced with co-washes, curl creams, non-stripping shampoos, and hair growth oils. You might be saying, “isn’t that a good thing”. Well, yes and no. Yes, because women of color had a variety of haircare options to choose from that made wash day highly anticipated and (for YouTubers) monetized. We also had plenty of twist out, braid out, and wash and go hair tutorials to choose from.

No, because neglecting professional haircare and never getting your ends cut again means split ends and hair that doesn’t grow, except for the women on YouTube that were genetically pre-disposed to long hair no matter what. Those women were selling an aesthetic and making AdSense revenue from reviewing every natural hair product under the sun. Which takes me into the Influencer to Brand Owner pipeline that pretty much took over the industry and folks realized that money was a motivating force behind the YouTube videos and when they finally came to their senses and wanted to schedule a hair appointment, wouldn’t nobody doing hair no more LOL. That’s an exaggeration, but you get what I’m saying. Some beauticians got hip to the game and started their YouTube channels and that’s why you couldn’t book them no more chuckle.

Back to Normal and Relaxers Are Now Ruling the Algorithm Sigh

Yeah, now that folks realize that hair is hair and we have the freedom to wear it and style it the way that we want, they went on back to the relaxer, “I’m laughing at that last statement”. It’s just funny to me how quickly trends fade to the background.

I personally still prefer to wear my natural hair without a relaxer, Sometimes I rock my natural Afro, and sometimes I rock my good ole flat ironed hair, However, I no longer indulge in hair videos. They’re not the same as they once were. It’s pretty obvious that certain types of natural hair are rewarded with views while the majority of women watching those tutorials do not have that texture of hair. Humans will be humans and watching what you don’t have is a thing in every niche.

Every now and then I’ll go back to some of my favorites and see what they’re up to. Most of them moved on and some of them pivoted their content away from hair. But I definitely wanted to give back and make a few hair videos of my own on my channel. My hair videos are the real deal feat. my lovely Afro textured tresses. I’ll link them below.

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What are your thoughts on the natural hair YouTube error? Do you still watch natural hair content?

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