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This week I celebrated the sixth year of my natural hair journey. While it was a struggle to find staple products in the beginning, trial and error allowed me to learn about many black-owned and Caribbean natural hair products that have developed through the years of the natural hair movement. Celebrating Caribbean American Heritage month AND my natural hair journey, here are five Caribbean American natural hair brands.
Karen’s Body Beautiful
Founded by a Brooklyn-native with Guyanese roots, Karen’s Body Beautiful started with Karen Tappin producing products in her kitchen. What started as a home-based business expanded into a full natural hair and skincare brand. Falling for the Butter Love for my 4a hair and dry skin, Karen’s Body Beautiful was also one of the first Caribbean natural hair brands available in Target Stores.
Tropic Isle Living
Founded by husband and wife Michael & Lois Reid-Hines, Tropic Isle Living is a beauty and wellness brand known for their hair oils. The Pure Jamaican Black Castor Oil can be used as a sealant in the L.O.C. method, regrowing your edges and more. In over 20 years, the brand has expanded to include shampoos and conditioners as well as hair and body treatments. The oil has even become my winter haircare staple in my natural hair journey.
Founded by Shawna Moses, a laboratory scientist, Kinky Tresses was created to treat dry hair. Through the popularity of the Coconut Mango Hair Butter, the line expanded through the years. The full Kinky Tresses line also includes a Moisturizing Shampoo, Nourishing Hair Oil, Hair Milk Leave-in, and Restorative Conditioner. Kinky Tresses has become a staple to my personal wash day routine and I have been using the Moisture Max Bundle for styling twist-outs, braid-outs, and protective styling. Last summer I was even a hair model for Kinky Tresses at Ecodermis and Wolfberry in Brooklyn, NY. Check out the video clip of Shawna teaching how to find your hair’s porosity.
I was introduced to Haitian-American brand Kreyol Essence visiting the Kia Suite on Blogalicious Weekend. Hoping to revive the Haitian economy, Kreyol Essence provides jobs for women in Haiti producing hair and beauty products containing Haitian Black Castor Oil. The products are made from natural ingredients focusing on dry hair and skin and contain no sulfates, parabens or silicones. I’ve personally used the travel-sized Growth Hair Milk and Haitian Black Castor oil on my trip to Rome and it literally brought my twists to life.
If you’ve been natural for over 5 years, I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of Rochelle Alikay Graham-Campbell of Alikay Naturals. Rochelle also created the L.O.C. (leave-in, oil, cream) method many naturals use in their hair regimen. The Alikay Naturals Lemon Grass Leave-in Conditioner has been a personal favorite for refreshing my crochet braids.
After transitioning for 14 months, I believe returning natural is one of the most freeing decisions I’ve ever made. Embracing my kinks AND shrinkage has truly allowed me to redefine what I thought was beautiful. As a natural and Caribbean American, I love discovering and sharing Caribbean owned natural hair brands that have evolved through these 6 years of being natural and can’t wait to try more.