SheaMoisture is one of those irresistible beauty brands you see regularly in drugstores and on ULTA shelves alike. It is home to a full lines of shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products. It also creates sulfate, phthalate, and cruelty-free products for a conscious consumer. Overall, SheaMoisture is a fun, positive beauty company that offers quality hair solutions for everyone.
But, what are the brand’s origins? Join us as we take a closer look at SheaMoisture’s beginnings and success over the years!
Brand overview: the making of SheaMoisture
For SheaMoisture, the focus has always been on creating and providing safe, non-toxic, and inclusive beauty solutions. On just about every brand label, SheaMoisture promises that their products are free of harmful ingredients. A few that they’ve identified are parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, petroleum, and formaldehyde.
While not definitive, these additives can be detrimental to health over time with repeated usage. With more of this type of research being conducted, brands like SheaMoisture are becoming the valued exception to the rule in the world of beauty.
SheaMoisture prides itself on offering beauty products with clean ingredients for a range of hair types, from thick, coily, and curly to heat-damaged, straight, and dehydrated. Whatever your hair type, the brand likely has products that target your hair care goals. They also offer a hair consultation quiz called “Find Your Shea,” which provides personalized product recommendations to boot.
It’s also easy to shop on the SheaMoisture website. You can browse products that fall into one of the four categories that most closely resembles your hair: straight, wavy, curly, or kinky/coiled. This streamlines your experience by allowing you to select the recommended products for your specific hair type.
History & origins of SheaMoisture
How did SheaMoisture get its start as a major hair care brand? The answer dates back to 1912, when founder Sofi Tucker first sold homemade Shea Butter and African Black Soap products in Sierra Leone. Today, SheaMoisture continues to honor Tucker’s legacy by making all products with raw shea butter.
From its early 20th-century beginnings, SheaMoisture expanded dramatically when Tucker’s grandson, Richelieu Dennis, introduced the brand to the mass beauty market in 1991.
Raised and nurtured by two strong, black females–his mother and grandmother–Dennis did their best to enhance and improve the lives of other women. Building on his grandmother’s initial ideas and products, he went on to develop the SheaMoisture brand under the parent company, Sundial.
Subsequently, SheaMoisture as we know it today gained traction in drugstores and beauty departments in 2008. It continued on an astounding uphill trajectory that caused many major corporations to sit up and take notice.
Finally, multibillion-dollar conglomerate Unilever approached Dennis about acquiring the brand in 2017. He and his mother sold the brand for $850 million, and continued to run the company with no strings attached.
Later that same year, the beauty brand experienced significant backlash for putting out what many considered to be a racially tone-deaf advertisement. Consequently, this resulted in widespread social media and consumer cancellation of SheaMoisture products.
Is SheaMoisture black owned?
No, SheaMoisture is no longer black owned. Instead, it is owned by Unilever with the continued insights and collaboration of Richelieu Dennis. After the acquisition, the brand no longer classifies as a “black-owned business.”
In today’s shifting political landscape, it’s important to rally behind brands that promote racial equality, diversity, and inclusion. These causes are powerful, and we believe they should permeate every market niche.
During the early years, SheaMoisture’s roots—no pun intended—certainly fit the bill for many years. While SheaMoisture has since been acquired, there are many other black-owned businesses that empower the black community with hair and beauty solutions.
If you’d like to support more black-owned businesses, we’d like to invite you to explore some black-owned beauty brand alternatives! We’ve listed a few below that we absolutely love.
Black-owned Haircare brand alternatives
- Hair of Nature was founded by Danyelle Templeton in 2002 to cope with losing her hair after the devastating loss of her mother. Today, Hair of Nature services African American women with all-natural, non-irritating ingredients in every product.
- Nuele Hair, founded by two female scientists, seeks to support every customer’s unique hair goals. Nuele Hair targets women with all hair types, and uses pure, organic ingredients to create their products. The brand sources from female farmers in Ghana and Morocco, and strives to give women the healthy, well-nourished hair they crave.
- Kim Kimble Haircare has been turning heads for over a decade. Kim started as a shampoo girl at age 16 in North Carolina before working her way up to the likes of Oprah, Beyonce, and Zendaya. Today, Allure, Vogue, and Vanity Fair are a few publications that have featured her work and products. Her brand’s goal is to make healthy hair attainable for everyone.
- Pattern Beauty encourages women to honor the unique patterns of their hair with products that cater to all hair (and particularly curl) types. No matter your hair’s texture, Pattern Beauty breaks it down further with products geared toward your specific hair. The brand sells everything from beauty tools to hair kits to achieve the look you want!
While SheaMoisture definitely had its moment and still produces decent products, there are ultimately so many other brands out there to try—especially those that support and uphold amazing causes and visions.
Black-owned beauty brands in particular understand the struggle of finding products that cater to your hair type, so why not swap out your SheaMoisture products with shampoo, conditioner, or hair mask from a black-owned business? You might just discover your new secret hair care weapon in the process!
No, SheaMoisture is not black owned. It is owned by Unilever, a conglomerate who bought the brand from its founders in 2017. After the acquisition, the brand no longer classifies as a “black-owned business.”