The Unfair Fare of Black Hair

Go to any black female's bedroom/vanity/bathroom, and your eyes will bulge at the amount of products & tools at her disposal. Whether you're a member of the natural hair movement or a weave/wig afficionado, you know the hoarder-dream dedication & pocket-drenching consumerism that goes into maintaining one's locks. The black hair care industry is estimated to be worth over £530 million ($774 million) as of 2014. Yet, the irony is, walk into any major supermarket (Tesco, Sainsbury's etc) or drug store (Boots, Superdrug etc) and black consumers are only granted one flimsy cabinet if any at all!
Senegalese Twists (DIY) - Xpressions 
Growing up in Nigeria in the 90's, the paramount of beauty was relaxed hair. I remember envying my sister's slick longer locks after her first salon perm. Endless tearful battles later, I too was allowed to sit impatiently in the Lagos sun for hours on end while the Venus relaxer permeated to my skull, all in the sake of more desirable and maintainable locks. Maintenance that had never really been an issue until life in the UK with its harsh winter climates and even harder limescale clogged water. This did some serious damage to my mane. Several trials of this and that relaxer, copious amounts of trendy treatments and one too many experimental styles later? I found myself balding! Yes, barely in my 20's and already shedding. I big chopped & changed my regimen. However, not a single store on the high street stocked commercial proucts catering to natural black hair, and I found it increasingly hard to maintain, so apart it fell yet again.
That being said, relaxed and weave lovers live no easier life. I had to travel all the way from Manchester (at the time, where I studied) to London (where I was originally based) all because I was faithful to my hairdresser. The same goes for wig lovers, who get custom made units delivered from London or inner cities in America to the provinces. Nonsense! That's an extra train fare on top of the already extortionate fees charged in black hair salons for styles I'm still bound to modify, or treatments I can now administer myself at home! The demand is evident, so supply!
Shea Moisture - now available at Boots
Black consumers are just as important as the next Sally, even more so considering the amount we are willing to spend. Yet, our options are limited to specialist afro-carribean hair stores which never go on sale, offer BOGOF/2 for 1/ 3 for 2 deals, and run a monopoly between themselves on pricing. I read a tweet that TESCO intends to stock black hair products by the end of 2015, and was over the moon. Half of me (the cynical half) had to question why in 2015, this even had to be a cause for jubilation? The UK is made up of 20+% BME, so shouldn't such a provision be expected?
For centuries, black women were the subject of ridicule and discrimination. Our skin tone, cultural quirks and mannerisms, and hair texture remained the butt of one too many jokes. Caucasian supremacy had so many believing straight was best, in reference to hair, and so many (myself included) jumped on the bandwagon and wrecked havoc on our hair in the name of chemical treatment. There's been an uprising among women of every colour; a celebration, loving your natural self. With that came the #BraidGang movement ala Solange, and The Big Chop/ Natural Hair Journey documenting length checks, proving black hair can grow further than a mop atop. Black hair is now a tool for free individual expression, whether worn in kinky twists on Monday, a lace Brazilian U-Part wig on Wednesday or a twist-out to church on Sunday. It's her prerogative, and hopefully, mainstream society can steer clear of judging or querying her for it. 
I'd rather attention be duly given to the provision for such free expression. Thanks to hair blogs and the rise in beauty vlogs, we now have more options on hair care than we did in the past. I applaud the efforts of homegrown brands such as Shea Moisture, who have commercialised such hair products for the mass markets, and now offer their products in Boots (available in the 3 for 2 offer I mentioned was once unavailable above). Not only is this product now readily available on the market, but it is also of the same (and arguably even better, from the results on my hair) quality as its counterparts juxtaposed on the shelf. This sends the right message to the next generation of BME girls to embrace their hair, no matter the texture, because society has. They can choose to rock it whichever best suits them, because they will have the products available at their disposal, not boxed in like their predecessors. Natural black hair, once treated with disdain, will no longer be seen as a problem. The natural hair community may debate further about the use of not-so-natural commercial products, such as Shea Moisture, but in light of the eye-watering price of organic mixes or natural oils, the commercialisation of black hair products is welcomed by this humble consumer. How about you?
"Talk about natural black hair...the beauty...but also in a political way: what it says, what is means" Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie