Why Natural Hair Products Cost Coins

Giodona Campbell, Staff Writer

If you are a girl with coily/curly hair, then you know that speed walking down the aisle of Shoprite or Giant to get your hands on favorite natural hair products at an affordable price is the best feeling you can have. However, one thing about these products is that there always seems to be a sale on them, which causes those of us shopping for these products to cross fingers, praying that it’s not out of stock.

This happened to me recently when I did the race down the aisle only to find out that Shoprite and Giant stopped carrying the product I really needed. My world came crashing down. Why so dramatic on this, you ask? Well, I refuse to turn to the beauty supply store or even Target to purchase the product, because the retail prices of natural hair products in those stores are through the roof!

It’s already hard enough for us girls with curly/coily hair to find products that work for us and benefit our sensitive strands. I feel really out of luck that the product I use most is out of stock at the grocery store because that is the only place it can be found for an adequate price.

The quality products for hair do not contain common harsh ingredients like sulfate, silicones and parabens. This, combined with high quality natural essential oils including olive oil, black castor oil, avocado oil, and jojoba oil, are what make these products desirable. It is also why they tend to be on the expensive side compared to cheaper brands that have more harmful chemicals.

The richness of natural ingredients contained in the products causes the performance of the products to be higher and thus plays a main role in the expense of those catering to curly/coily hair. For example, the natural product Shea Moisture Conditioner comes in a small container, but is more expensive ($10- $20), and not every product in the line is available in a wide array of stores. On the other hand, Aussie Moist Conditioner, which is less of a natural product, comes in a relatively large container, is cheaper ($4- $8), and is easy to find in many locations.

Other factors also play a role in the high expense of natural hair products including production and marketing. In her article on natural hair products for Naturally Curly, Michelle Thames interviewed Aisha Crump, founder and owner of Honey Baby Naturals. According to Crump, the cost of natural hair products includes a number of variables that smaller companies battle through to compete. Crump says, “Big companies can order tens of millions of units while smaller companies pay for cost per item which is triple the price. Pricing is based on volume and also packaging.”

Crump also notes that, “Smaller brands have to compete with bigger brands. Marketing costs are a significant portion of the expenses. People will not find out about you if you aren’t marketing your brand. So, we have to do direct to consumer advertising and also attend trade shows. We want to make sure our consumers understand how to use our products.”

Larger brands that do not use all natural ingredients have more money for production, packaging, and advertising, which results in more product on the shelves compared to smaller, high-quality natural hair brands.

Most good natural hair products, like Crump’s, are manufactured by small, often black-owned companies. These small companies struggle to compete with larger ones in mass production and distribution, which makes it difficult for them to thrive. So, for the naturalistas out there who are wondering why our products cost an arm and a leg, this is why.