The B Corps certification signifies that a company practices social and environmental responsiblity. As of the time of this writing, there are over 3500 certified B Corps companies. How many of them make products for curly hair?
EDIT 9/2/20 9:30PM: My initial query did not get all of the brands, but I’ve updated the lists now!
What is a B Corps company?
As a quick refresher, B Corps are companies that reach a minimum score on social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. This means that they don’t just prioritize profits, they also consider ethical concerns and environmental impact. Seeing the B Corps logo is a quick way to know that a company has been approved by an impartial third-party. For more information, see my Jargon Watch: Eco-Friendly Terminology post.
In general, I love seeing the B Corps certification because it means that a company is taking initiative to meet high environmental and ethical standards. Some of my favorite B Corps companies include Patagonia, Method soaps, and Brew Dr. kombucha. It is so cool to see these big names proudly being “businesses for good” rather than just regular ol’ profit-driven corporations.
As with any certification, there are certainly flaws to this system. One of which is that it costs $$$ to get this certification, which presents a barrier to smaller businesses. For this reason, I recognize that B Corps certification is not the only way for a company to be environmentally sustainable, humane, and/or fair trade.
Enough backstory! Let’s get on to the companies!
Which B Corps have hair products?
Let’s start with some okay-ish companies. These companies have hair products but not curly hair products. One way I see if a company makes “curly hair products” versus just “hair products” is to look at the range of products available. If a company offers only shampoo and conditioner, then it’s probably not made for people with curly hair because our hair needs more than just these two things. A lightweight “leave-in” spray is also not sufficient for my hair, so I’m not counting that either.
For the purposes of this post, I’m focusing on products available in the U.S., as that’s where I’m based. There are also a few hair salons that are B Corps certified and sell hair products, but since they don’t make the products themselves I’m not including them.
Here are the B Corps that sell hair products, but not curly hair products:
- Akami (this one’s a bit of a stretch because the only hair products they sell are a 3-in-1 soap that can be used as shampoo and a multi-use oil that can be used as conditioner)
- Urban Spa
- Oneka Elements
- Captain Blankenship
- The Body Shop (I’m honestly very surprised to see that they’re a B Corps. I’ve always thought of them and Bath & Body Works as the “fast fashion” of beauty products.)
- Ethique (I love Ethique and I’m sad to have to include them here, but they only make shampoo and conditioner bars and none mention being formulated for curly hair, so unfortunately they won’t make the cut. Also, I still say it “eth-eek” even though they’ve specified it should be “eh-teek” – you can’t teach this old dog new tricks.)
- Plaine Products (Love them too, but they don’t make curly hair-specific products. Check out my review of their shampoo and conditioner on curly hair for more info!)
Which B Corps have curly hair products?
And now for the main event! Here are the FOUR B Corps companies that make curly hair products:
Soapbox just barely makes the cut because they sell a deep conditioner and a conditioning mask. Neither of these are specifically marketed for curly hair, but given that these are products frequently used by people with coarser hair textures, I’m classifying these as curly hair products.
Extra props: Soapbox also has solid bar shampoo and conditioner options, which shouldn’t be a big deal, but only one other on this list has bars and they only a shampoo bar.
This one really surprised me since they give off a more mainstream buy-one-big-jug-for-your-entire-family vibe. However, they also have two products outside the usual S&C: a hair cream and a gel. It’s surprising to me that more hair companies don’t make gels, so it’s pretty cool to see that Everyone has one. It’s sad, though, that their products come in plastic tubes, which are not recyclable in my area so I don’t think I’d ever try their products.
Extra props: Their products are very reasonably priced. (Although maybe a little too cheap, if you know what I mean.)
If you’re on Instagram, you might’ve seen ads for Prose – they’re the ones selling “customized” hair care products in pretty amber-colored bottles with your name on them. If my tone sounds a little cynical, it’s because Prose just makes the cut by selling a curl cream. One single curly hair product that costs $25 for 5.1 fl ounces!!!
That’s $5/oz, more than all of the top styling creams from Naturally Curly: Cantu Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream ($0.58/oz), Melanin Haircare Twist-Elongating Style Cream ($1.06/oz), and Bounce Curl Avocado & Rose Oil Clump and Define Cream ($4.00/oz). Maybe you’re paying more for quality of ingredients and an ethical company, but the price tag seems way too high for me.
I suppose since the products are “customized” for your hair, their other products can be classified as curly hair products but it’s all a little too hoighty-toighty for me.
Extra props: They specifically market a curl cream and not just a generic “hair cream” that may or may not work for curly hair.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this brand and to find that the first product in their hair collection is a defining curl cream! Like Prose, their prices are pretty high ($4.66/oz for the curl cream) and they come in plastic packaging, so I probably won’t be trying these myself.
5. Sundial (parent company of SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage)
DUH – SheaMoisture is probably one of the biggest makers of products for natural curly hair. As I’ve talked about a few times on this blog, I LOVE SheaMoisture products because they work so well for my hair. I won’t bore you gushing over them again. Check out my post Greenwashing & Pandering: SheaMoisture for a full review of the company’s ethics.
When I set out to write this post, I was hoping to find many companies like SheaMoisture (i.e., a specific focus on curly, African American & Black hair), but the fact that SheaMoisture is the only one just strengthens my overall image of the brand.
Extra props: They have the most curly hair offerings of all the companies on this list.
It’s pretty disheartening that there aren’t more B Corps out there making hair products for curly hair. As a proportion of all the companies making hair products, 5 out of 13 is not bad, but 5 is still not enough options for all the variance in curly hair!
I like seeing the B Corps logo on products so I instantly know that they’ve been vetted and hold values similar to my own. However, I recognize that the B Corps certification isn’t the be-all-end-all for sustainability or ethical considerations. There are certainly companies out there doing good work and making good hair products without this certification. I also wish more companies would focus on low waste packaging, as it seems like many products come in plastic tubs, bottles, and tubes.
What do you think?
I’d love to hear what you all think about this! Should companies be going after certifications like B Corps status to prove to consumers that they’re sustainable? Have you tried products from any of the brands mentioned?