It's a great time to put the away the straighteners and let your hair go natural.
That's because women and men with hair textures ranging from wavy to coily are being catered to and celebrated with new hair-care products and increased representation on social media, TV and the big screen, as seen with "black-ish" costar Tracee Ellis Ross, Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, Emmy winners Mark Ruffalo and Viola Davis and singers Lorde, Shakira and Solange.
As more people wear their hair naturally, there has been growing demand for new hair-care products such as the Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture line, sold at Sephora starting Friday. These products are joining new ones, some specifically for curls, from brands such as Aveda, DevaCurl, L'Oréal, Mixed Chicks and Shea Moisture.
"We live in an increasingly multicultural society where there is no longer one standard of beauty," said Michelle Breyer, president and co-founder of Austin, Texas-based TextureMedia, devoted to empowering and educating people with curly hair through its popular website, www.naturallycurly.com, and other ventures. (For the record, Breyer keeps her hair naturally curly.) "There are dramatically more products available for curly hair. Almost every hair-care brand now offers products for curly and coily hair.
"Money talks," said Breyer, adding that the beauty industry now recognizes the buying power of curly haired women.
And having curls is where it's at. Ellis Ross told The Times last year, "I personally came from a curly hair, big hair, natural hair family. According to my mom [singer Diana Ross], the bigger, the better with the hair. I want to look like my mom. So the bigger I can get my hair, the more I look like my mom."
During New York Fashion Week last month, TextureMedia presented Texture on the Runway, a runway show featuring curly, coily and wavy hair. And labels such as Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Narciso Rodriguez and Fendi had models with curly hair on the runway during recent fashion weeks.
Model Mica Arganaraz has been showing her curly runway hair on Instagram, while singer and actress Jennifer Lopez has worn her hair curly on the NBC show "Shades of Blue," which premiered in January.
London-based market research firm Mintel reported last year that people with curly hair are likely to try treatments and newer styling products such as hair texturizers. Also, according to Mintel, the natural hair movement is driving sales of styling products (up 27% during a two-year period ending in 2015) for African Americans in the United States while relaxer sales have slumped, dropping 18.6% during the same time period.
Large and small beauty companies are paying attention to changing trends and introducing new products aimed at defining curls, reducing frizz and moisturizing hair, such as puddings and butters. Andre Walker (who styled Oprah Winfrey's hair for decades) and friend Dianne Hudson created a line of hair product, available through AndreWalkerHair.com and Target.com, to help people with straight, wavy, curly and kinky hair, while global company Unilever has new products for curly hair such as Dove's Quench Absolute line.
Ouidad Wise, known as the "Queen of Curl" and founder of Ouidad Salon in Santa Monica, also has a line of products for curly hair. She said that when she started in the hair-care industry in 1984, natural curls weren't embraced the way they are now and finding new styling products for curls wasn't easy.
"Can you imagine being a stylist with curly hair and not having your hair addressed in your own industry?" Wise said. "Now, our curls are recognized as a segment in the hair and beauty industry. They're on the runway, professional and sexy.... We've come a long way."
10 do's and don'ts for curly hair, and 5 L.A. area salons that specialize in styling it
If you're considering going natural and embracing your curls, Denis DaSilva, co-founder of DevaCurl products and Devachan Salon — there's a location at 9355 Culver Blvd. in Culver City — offered a list of 10 do's and don'ts for styling and maintaining curly hair.
1. Don't brush your hair.
2. Don't use cleansers with sulfates.
3. Don't over-wash your hair.
4. Don't use a terry-cloth towel to dry your hair. Instead use a high-quality microfiber towel.
5. Don't cut hair when wet.
6. Do research best products to use on your hair.
7. Do condition your hair every time you wet your curls.
8. Do use a high-quality diffuser.
9. Do scrunch your curls to encourage maximum curl definition.
10. Do love and embrace your curls.
Here's a list of Los Angeles-area hair salons that specialize in curly hair:
9355 Culver Blvd., Culver City; (212) 274-8686, www.devacurl.com
1230 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 393-3542, www.ouidad.com
Batia & Aleeza Hair Salon
415 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills; (310) 657-4512, www.batiaandaleeza.com
Mahogany Hair Revolution
5450 Pico Blvd. Suite 203, Los Angeles; (323) 939-1620, mahoganyrevolution.com