New Report Finds a 26% Decline in Relaxer Sales Since 2008

New Report Finds a 26% Decline in Relaxer Sales Since 2008

by BlackGirlLongHair

A new report by the research company Mintel finds that relaxers are declining in popularity as the natural hair industry grows;

…Natural may be the new normal in Black haircare, as relaxers account for just 21% of Black haircare sales and the sector has declined 26% since 2008 and 15% since 2011 when sales reached $179 million—the only category not to see growth.

Mintel’s research estimates the relaxer segment will reach $152 million this year, down from $206 million in 2008. Furthermore, in the past 12 months, nearly three-fourths (70%) of Black women say they currently wear or have worn their hair natural (no relaxer or perm), more than half (53%) have worn braids, and four out of 10 (41%) have worn locks.

“The natural hair trend is driving an increase in sales of styling products such as styling moisturizers, setting lotions, curl creams, pomades, etc., but the increase has caused the relaxer segment to decline in sales,” says Tonya Roberts, multicultural analyst at Mintel. “A look at expenditures from 2008-2013 shows steady growth in the Black haircare category for all categories except relaxers/perms.”

Are you surprised that relaxer sales have declined?

The report doesn’t touch on whether the increasing popularity of weaves has to do with relaxers’ decline. Still, it highlights an encouraging trend towards acceptance of textured hair.

Click here to read the full summary of the report.

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

About Jenell B Stewart

Jenell Stewart MS, the founder and editor in chief of the award winning website KinkyCurlyCoilyMe.com dedicates most of her free time educating and uplifting women with natural hair by way of her extremely popular website and YouTube channel. Jenell has been featured in Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise.com, and starred on the Dr.Oz television show as a Beauty Expert. In 2012 she was named one of Essences top Instagramers and that same year KinkyCurlyCoilyMe won an award for “Favorite Website” of the Natural Hair Community.
  • Ruth mason

    No I am not surprised that, we are not buying as many perms as we used too. We are starting to embraces our beautiful hair as we should have been….

  • waterbrook

    Yeah relaxers have seen it’s day to a point. I used to relax my hair occasionally. The last one I had was in 2003. It was the bomb because I have a full head of thick hair lengthy hair — however I I stopped after that. I saved my hair in the long and the short run with the “old school wash and press” and it’s doing me just fine This summer I wore my natural hair several times and it felt so good!! :)

    The long range damage of relaxers and their strong chemicals is always a reality we must face.–no matter how good it may look.
    Also it is not healthy for chemicals to be soaked up by the brain and it gets into the system on a continual basis. Just sayin.
    A commitment to style our Natural hair at it’s best makes it our natural choice a healthy choice and a beautiful choice too.

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      I believe as the consumer becomes more health conscious there will be a population of women who stop relaxing mainly from a health perspective. What do you think?

      • Jip

        Not really. I think educating women about natural hair care and styling as an alternative will also play a MAJOR factor.

        • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

          So then you agree with me. There will be women who make changes exclusively from a health perspective. Additionally there will be other women who make the change after hair care education.

          • queenbee9

            ..and there will be many who make that change who later return to relaxed hair due to the look, finances, or ease of use.

      • queenbee9

        I agree short term however, I believe many that claim to want healthy hair will return to relaxers for the ease and the look of relaxed hair and because a relaxer is cheaper to maintain when put in at home. . When I did hair I was a healthy hair cosmetologist. People are very idealistic but in the end, many women toss away “health” in favor of a look be it in weave, braids or with relaxed hair. Some will return to relaxed hair because they believe it is a smoother, more elegant look and though many women talk about hair health their interest and commitment is very short sighted and often unrealistic.

  • Rebecca Land

    I can believe it BUT the real average will show in 5-10 year range, right now skeptics think rocking your natural is only a trend.

    • http://kinkycurlycoilyme.com/ Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful

      Do you think its only a trend?

      • Jip

        Hard to tell right now. Only after 15-20 years is when we will be able to see any sort of trends.

  • Ronisha Le’Shae Conway

    I think the black community is becoming more health conscious so more people are making healthier decisions. I believe relaxer sales are going to continue to decline, but they they will ever become extinct. Relaxers cause so many issues that I think they should be regulated much more than they are. Such as better regulations on ingredients.

    • queenbee9

      Relaxers per se are not really regulated at all save for the requirement that they list ingredients and that certain ingredients shown to be harmful* are banned. Relaxers like nutriceuticals, herbs and vitamins fall under either the cosmetic act or the food and drug act but are NOT subject to regulation or inspection unless empirical data demonstrates a need for an investigation.
      this means that many products are allowed to be sold with expired dates and may even harm you but the government will wait until enough people complain or are harmed before investigating or stepping in. This is due to a shortage in man power and decreased government budgets. I know for a fact that many nutriceuticals are NOT policed and that even if a product causes illness, if it is an over the counter vitamin or non regulated drug (as defined by the Code of Federal Regulations –CFR) the government does not investigate or step in unless there is a death or a certain high number of complaints. what does that mean to you? That relaxers are not reallt regulated even if they make you bald. Like most cosmetics they must list all ingredients, date of manufacture and an expiry date but this is not policed unless/until a lot of complaints come in or someone gets seriously injured, all other complaints are accrued in a data bank ( I used to work in the pharm industry and routinely dealt with the FDA)

  • rp311

    Why do we still think that relaxers, weaves, etc mean that we do not accept our textured hair? We need to stop analyzing ourselves for picking a hairstyle that may be flattering or easy to manage or just because we like a change . I have seen beautiful natural styles and gorgeous relaxed hair, extensions and weaves. A hairstyles is just that – a hairstyle. straightening our hair does not make us any less black. White women also use extensions and those with really thick curly hair straighten their hair, and many have been bleaching themselves blond for years, Women want their hair to flatter their face, fit their lifestyle, or just like to play with new looks, trends. As far as chemicals go. they are everywhere and in everything . but I agree with more regulation. It is not enough to just say no-lye relaxer.

    • queenbee9

      It means we do not accept our textured hair because relaxers and perms damage hair and alter the natural texture. If we were accepting of this texture, we would not engage in practices to straighten that ultimately can cause hair damage, scalp damage and may contain carcinogens or mutagens. A hairstyle may be a hair style but a technique or process which chases after another races ideal may say a lot about us that we prefer not to examine. We can want and persue straight hair but the question is why when it is not natural and IF we accept our textured hair why do we continue to engage in harmful processes or techniques in order to have straight hair. Straight hair is NOT a hair style it is a hair state–how that straight hair is manipulated is a style (in a pony tail for instance) but why not a textured pony tail?

      • rp311

        Why is it when some black women have a preference to wear straight hair which although not natural to most of us, it is frowned upon and interpreted as not accepting our culture. We make hair an issue when it isn’t. If you straighten your hair and bleach your skin because you want to pass for white, THAT is an issue!
        I just happen to love the way I look with a relaxer and I have more hair style options. My friend who is white uses self tanners and has gotten her lips surgically plumped. I am still black and she is still white , but her preferences for darker skin and fuller lips have never been interpreted as anything other than she likes fuller lips and isnt crazy about her pale skin. She doesn’t denounce her white culture and her non-natural choices are a non-issue.
        I volunteer tutor black inner city kids in math – that is my way of helping embrace my culture. Its not what is your head, it is what is in it.

  • Jaleesa Talloway

    This is great news! I hope it means more women have a healthy approach to their hair.

  • Amber A Maclin

    the same companies that make relaxers also make natural hair products so they really aren’t losing to much money…

    • queenbee9

      That is not quite true. Many of the companies who make relaxers have been resistant to natural hair care and slow to create products most naturallistas want to use. Often the products have silicone or sulfates or alcohol or other ingredients naturals do not want on their hair and so many companies are playing catch up–actually losing money to black niche market companies like Carols daughter, shea moisture, Darcy botanicals, Oyin handmade and Qhemet.
      In addition, products made exclusively for curlies are increasing as are websites to buy from such as curlmart and Jessicurl products. /relaxers at one point sold for as much as 11.00 a kit and now often sell for less than 5.00 due to decreased sales.

  • Aaliyah M.

    I think that this information is great!!! Relaxers damage our hair, especially when used long term and who knows what kind of effects that has on our bodies as a whole. Im glad to see more African American women embracing their natural hair textures. My sistas, my sistas

  • Wanda Herbert Romain

    I’m pleased to see that we, the SISTAHOOD, have detoxed from the CREAMY CRACK CANCER! I’m 2 1/2 years clean–and I’m much healthier and happier for it.

  • november61

    not surprised at all but we still have a long way to go.