It’s a Saturday morning; you’re in a local drugstore walking around the woman magazine shelves. Looking like an alive Cuckoo clock, your eyes rapidly move back and forth looking for a natural hair care magazine. Your eyes finally land on the small section where 2-3 Black hair magazines reside. Reaching for the magazine with the cover of a model sporting a multi-colored streak bob on the front, you soon realize that it was quite pointless trying to find any type of inspiration for any fly, fresh hairstyles for natural hair.

It is extremely clear that natural hair care is not incorporated in publications. In the majority of magazines, once you hit the hair section the most natural style you find is on a racially ambiguous model with loose curls and/or they will have medium wave textured hair. Not saying that any of our black publications do not cater to the need of natural hair but only having 2-5 pages a month leaves us yearning for more. The pleasure of being able to sign up for a monthly subscription and have funky and healthy styles for you waiting in your mailbox would be treasure that numerous women would enjoy.

Since natural women do not have too many print options to cater to their needs, technology plays a vital role in connecting information to the modern day natural woman. With an online community of YouTube videos, bloggers and Facebook groups, natural women have taken the power back into their own hands. Coming together on our own not only displays our outcry for more knowledge of how take care of natural tresses but also shows that it’s a major void in the market that needs to be addressed. When it comes to finding new styles or tips I don’t even attempt to comb through any magazine but straight to YouTube and blogs for my hair questions, videos, tutorials, tips and product reviews.

Even though natural women’s online presence is mighty powerful, the simple fact that a magazine is definitely a need for us. Having a weekly or monthly subscription that would have all the information online condensed in a publication would be the next step to propel the acceptance of Black beauty. Every other culture has their one go to place for beauty and hair care tips, now it’s time for our turn.

So how long will it be until the natural hair care takes over or are included in Black hair magazines?

- Ellisa Oyewo


  • taylormay

    i think we have enough natural haired writers and stylists to do it ourselves. mags like black hair soph. get lots of money from perm, weave, etc. producers so to stay alive they have to cater to those advertisers and there are still a lot of straight haired black women so its not like they’re catering to a shrinking minority.

    but again i think that some writers and stylists should make their own hair mag its not like it would be a huge risk. we’ve seen time and time again that black women will pay for hair related goods. that’s what i’m doing after i realized that teen mags weren’t going to cater to my needs as a black girl and i was tired of only partially filling that void.

  • Rachel

    Cosign. Whenever I browse black hair magazines, it’s a rarity to find type 4-textured hair–I usually find women rocking them in the ads for Palmers and Kinky Curly, etc, but even *that’s* if I get lucky.

    No offense the weave and extension-wearing sisters, but I’d like to see more TWAs, two-strand twists, cornrows, dreads, and the like–on a regular basis. YouTube will have to do until then!

  • isolde

    most, if not all the black hair, magazines on the news stands are celebrity driven. So, it stands to reason that you would see a change if more black, female celebrities were wearing natural styles. I remember seeing black hair magazines on the stands show-casing braided styles when Brandy was really popular, and locked looks when Lauryn Hill was en vogue.

  • L of Avid Accents

    It’s all about advertising. These magazines live off relaxer brands and other chemical hair product companies. The demand has to push these companies to research and develop natural products which is not quite there yet. Sadly alot fot these companies are owned by people who don’t have hair like us so they don’t understand the need.

  • Asha

    Yes, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I stopped buying women mags such as InStyle, Glamour, Vogue, etc. because I when I look through its pages the editor clearly states that this magazine isn’t for women of color. When it comes to hair tips, make-up tips, and other beauty advice for a woman of my complexion (caramel brown) and hair type (4a) I go on the web. I’ve found tons of websites and youtube tutorials that cater to my needs. And a bonus is that its all FREE OF CHARGE!!

    Not to say that if their was a magazine dedicated to natural hair that I wouldn’t buy it. I would be one its first customers :-)

    One magazine that I do like, however, is ARISE mag. I think its great and wish their were more mags out their like it.

  • what-what

    Urgh- I stopped reading hair mags like black hair soph even before I went natural because the pictures were too photoshopped. Ever since someone put me on the tip that hair in ads can be photoshopped, altered and basically replaced by another head of hair, all mags that heavily photoshop get the *side-eye* from me.

  • Jessie

    If you want natural hair magazines, start your own. Lets face it, unless we create our own we won’t get it. Even women with perms, weaves, extensions are tired of magazines like Black hair. They are of poor quality, it doesn’t matter if it is for natural hair or not. The types of hairstyles do not cater to many women at all. Most are either outrageous or with too much weave down their back, which is expensive and not practical for a real woman’s lifestyle.There are tons of FREE videos, forums, blogs, for hair care in general. I think this article should say when will we get BETTER HAIR MAGAZINES FOR WOMEN OF COLOR, not just natural hair. This is a great website for women of color, but honestly, you are perpetuating the division between women of color with natural and relaxed hair. It seems like 9, ok maybe 8 out of 10 hair related posts are geared toward women with natural hair, and lets face it they are all the same, you guys complaining about how people treat you because of your hair. Is this a natural hair website or a website that celebrates the beauty of women of color natural or not? Before anyone jumps down my throat, I am natural and have been for three years now, but I do have friends who’s hair is relaxed and healthy I can see why they don’t visit most sites like this because now that most women have been committed to the BC or growing out their relaxers that’s all that matters.

  • binks

    I agree with L of Avid Accents. These magazines just aren’t good in general and just use celebs to entice you to buy it and once you get over the pictures of stars you will notice that the mags themselves are just fluff and advertisements. These mags don’t give or talk about proper hair care in general, new tips, tricks or product reviews regardless if you are relaxed and natural. Secondly, the hairstyles they do showcase are usually outdated or doesn’t have enough variety to them. I wish there will be a good black hair magazine in general and yes natural hair deserve more space and be on the cover of them too. I think it just needs to be an overhaul on black hair, how it is viewed and spotlight fly hair. I mean their are great blogs out there that I love but even those don’t cover the whole gambit of hair needs

  • Laina

    Maybe we should make our own magazine.

  • Beauty Is Diverse

    start your own.

  • Beauty Is Diverse

    Star your own magazine.

  • Jairs22

    Totally agree! All these natural hair bloggers out there that have gotten thousands of followers via FB, youtube, twitter, and their blogs (i.e. curly nikki, msvaughn) could collectively come together and do exactly what they are doing online in print. Don’t change a thing. Don’t bow to big product companies. Remain as impartial and unbiased as they are now and they could build a natural hair magazine to rival any hair publication out there. African American women have shown that they will spend money for hair related magazine and products, we are scouring the internet left and right looking for info, watching all the youtube videos so the market has already proven itself to be alive and well.

  • Neema

    Perhaps someone should create a magazine specifically for natural hair. Why not?

  • Tracey

    Unless we start our own don’t hold your breath. As much as I love Essence Mag (I hold my breath every month hoping to find some info on natural hair and locks – spare me the picture where you need a magnifying glass!!) I’m usually disappointed.

    As for those mags you featured – I agree – nothing to them – won’t even look at them unless they’re sitting somewhere for free and I’m bookless!

  • Interested

    The point is not about “Starting your own magazine”, the point is that a segment of the Black female population is being ignored by magazines that supposedly are about Black female hair.

    To be perfectly honest, those magazines have too many non-Black/BARELY Black women in them for my tastes.

  • Hanoy

    I feel the same way That is something I am working on as we speak if anyone want to contribute ideas, please feel free to send a email (naturalsuggsess). It is a lot of work, but I do have supporters to help me with my venture. I have been doing hair for over 25 years not in a Salon but on my own and finacially it was good. I wanted more than that, I like both relaxer & Natural, I decided to go natural and never turned back, but I don’t knock those who enjoy relaxers. I just want a variety for my type of hair and want people who don’t quite have the support at there finger tips to have it in the mail. quarterly.. That is my Goal for 2011.. I want to share my hair journey with the hair world.:o)

  • Hanoy

    I feel the same way That is something I am working on as we speak if anyone want to contribute ideas, please feel free to send a email (I feel the same way That is something I am working on as we speak if anyone want to contribute ideas, please feel free to send a email ([email protected]). It is a lot of work, but I do have supporters to help me with my venture. I have been doing hair for over 25 years not in a Salon but on my own and finacially it was good. I wanted more than that, I like both relaxer & Natural, I decided to go natural and never turned back, but I don’t knock those who enjoy relaxers. I just want a variety for my type of hair and want people who don’t quite have the support at there finger tips to have it in the mail. quarterly.. That is my Goal for 2011.. I want to share my hair journey with the hair world.:o)

  • Nita

    I’m so SICK of this natural hair/relaxed hair issue. GET OVER IT.

  • hanoy

    It never was an issue. It’s just fashion, so there is nothing to get over. Fashion is Fashion. People just choose the fashion that works for them and run with it. :o)

  • Janna @ Best Red Dress

    An Enterprising young woman will have to create it, and find advertisers to support her. I wouldn’t make it too large, for the most part I think out needs are catered to on the internet. There are very few print magazines I read, and they’re usually obtained at the airport before a flight.

  • Noire

    i remember a few years back there used to be “Braids & Beauty” and several other braiding magazines. But now theres nothing at all except online. Online is cool and all but it would b nice to have something physical to flip thru n reference. Its going to happen eventually as more ppl jump on the natural bandwagon…hopefully. If i had the money i would love to do a natural hair mag

  • gs

    We have to remember why black women buy these magazines in the first place. A good majority of them end up in salons where women will peruse, pick and pull out styles to show their hairdressers. The larger issue is that the infrastructure for natural haircare just isn’t there… yet. Though the online demand is there, there are fewer salons, stylists and vendors to underwrite such ventures. With technology, we are seeing an adaptation to how the industry is changing. I really do believe we are in the wild west/gold rush of natural haircare, where opportunity abounds and the best days are ahead for those with enough gumption to build an empire.

  • Chanel

    oh my goodness i thought i was the only one who noticed that only certain curl patterns are featured in magazines and tv commercials. whenever they show somebody talking about natural hair and/ or is supposed to be a representation of black women then its ALWAYS women with this super loose curl pattern.

    it is so annoying!

  • Tara Melissa

    Maybe I’m salty from a lack of sleep, but really: who cares? In this day and age, no one needs a magazine to provide “hair-spiration”. There are tons of blogs, flickrs, tumblrs, fotkis and forums just for that purpose. (Plus, many of these magazines seem to be a collection of celebrities at events…I can find that on the internet as well, if I was so inclined.) Even better – they go into depth about hair care and retaining length while keeping your hair strong and healthy in a way those magazines never did. Because really…seeing a photo of a celebrity use a curling iron on her weave as she reads a copy of the magazine she’s featured in has not helped me do my hair once. Fact.

    It’s unfortunate that a large segment of the black female demographic is ignored (although I will mention, I believe many of these magazines have special sections dedicated to locs/braids/natural hair), but I don’t expect things to change very soon. I’ll just keep sending a message to those magazines with my patronage (or in my case, lack thereof).

  • hanoy

    You are right @Janna, small is good. with lots of information and internet mag attached with how too. You tube can be overwhelming at times. If someone can have a link from the online magazines to how do’s on a Youtube site that would be great.

  • Nita

    Obviously there is an issue, because it’s a subject that comes up
    quite often. Just my opinion:( Sorry for making you upset.

  • Alexandra

    A lot of hairstyles/types are ignored in those magazines. But I can say, I dont care either.
    Cause like someone pointed out, I’m sure if they showcase more natural hair, one or more textures will be ignored. So it doesn’t matter.

  • Rukky

    Hmmm…I totally agree with Alexandra, a lot of hairstyles r ignored in those magazines but what do i care?

  • Rukky

    can we chat?

  • Donna

    There has been some natural hair mags out there, not sure if they still exist and I haven’t looked at one in so long I can’t even remember the names of the. I remember one specifically being based in Philly and I believe the editor was motivated to start the mag after viewing mags like black hair that has that natural section with most of the styles presented being anything but natural.

    It may have been naturally you or something like that but I don’t think it’s in print any longer and as I mentioned can’t recall the others, but they’re out there, or at least existed at one point.

  • S

    It’s not going to happen anytime soon. You may get a mini 2-3 pager in the back of one that’s it. Natural hair is very time consuming. They rather take the quick fix.

  • Aisak

    Where might one find funding for such a venture? Sounds like an expensive undertaking.

  • Kim Shine

    The time and dedication to caring for natural hair is very similar to those with processed locks. However, it can seem rather daunting for women to convert or to transform their hair (and/or themselves) to something unfamiliar to them because of targeted media and new products. Going natural can be a lonely process, but it’s not necessarily the magazine’s responsibility to fill this void. Regardless of what women see in print, they should make the decision to go natural because they want to be part of something unique – not because they may find comfort/or help within a magazine. Being natural for two years (no big chop), I agree that having more print options would have helped me manage my hair better, sooner; however, I see plenty of natural women daily. Understanding that these magazine’s have an audience to cater to (and bills to pay), I would rather ask my fellow ‘naturalista’ to explain her process instead. Rather this is in person, or through online connections, both are better ways to view the actual results and great ways to network.