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Natural Hair Becoming Even More Popular Among Black Women (PHOTOS)

Natural Hair

Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/22/2011 11:01 am Updated: 02/29/2012 12:29 pm

Whether we like it or not, African-American hair is still a hot topic.

The fascination, debate, discussion (or whatever you'd like to call it) around natural hair has spawned sororities, parades, national conferences and even reality shows. It's a big topic and only getting bigger thanks to a new report we found in USA Today.

According to Mintel, a consumer spending and market research firm, the number of black women who say they do not use products to chemically relax or straighten their hair jumped to 36% in 2011, up from 26% in 2010.

What does this mean for the black beauty industry? There definitely needs to be a major shift in product development and care.The report also found that sales of relaxer kits have dropped by 17% between 2006 and 2011.

Changes of 10 and 17 percent might not seem like much, but they are significant in a niche market like black haircare. A few big companies, like Soft Sheen-Carson, have seen the spike in interest and started to roll out products for their natural-haired customers.

The heightened and still growing interest in natural hair is also allowing smaller companies that specialize in natural hair care to profit as well. And thanks to YouTube several natural hair enthusiasts have become mini celebs dolling out tons of haircare tips and showing how to manipulate curly manes into masterpieces.

Here's a look at some of our favorite celebs who represent the growing number of women (are you one of them?) starting to embrace their natural roots.

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 13: Singer Esperanza Spalding accepts the Best New Artist Award onstage during The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on February 13, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

  • Jill Scott: VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul

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    NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 20: Tracie Thoms attends 'Stick Fly' on Broadway's cast and creative photocall at the Hard Rock Cafe - Times Square on October 20, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

  • Wanda Sykes: The Friars Club Honors Larry King

    NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 14: Comedian Wanda Sykes attends as Larry King is honored at the 2011 Friars Club Testimonial dinner gala at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on November 14, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

  • Ledisi: VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul

    NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 18: Ledisi attends VH1 Divas Celebrates Soul at Hammerstein Ballroom on December 18, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Vh1)

  • Solange Knowles: Burberry Body Event

    LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26: DJ Solange Knowles arrives at the Burberry Body Event hosted by Christopher Bailey and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley held at Burberry Beverly Hills on October 26, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Burberry)

  • Lisa Bonet: 2006 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour

    PASADENA, CA - JULY 13: Actress Lisa Bonet speaks during the 2006 Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour for the Nick at Nite Network at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on July 13, 2006 in Pasadena, California. (Photo Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images).

  • Janelle Monae: South Korea Dinner

    Singer Janelle Mon�e arrives for the state dinner in honour of South Korea's President Lee Myung-Bak and his wife Kim Yoon-Ok October 13, 2011 at the White House in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Erykah Badu: GREY GOOSE Lounge Series At Super Bowl

    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 04: Recording artist Erykah Badu attends the GREY GOOSE lounge series at Super Bowl hosted by Erykah Badu at the GREY GOOSE Lounge on February 4, 2011 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for GREY GOOSE)

  • Shingai Shoniwa: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 Premiere

    LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 16: Shingai Shoniwa attends the UK premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 at Westfield Stratford City on November 16, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

  • Kim Wayans: "Pariah" New York Premiere

    NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 01: Actress Kim Wayans attends the 'Pariah' premiere at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on December 1, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

  • Tanika Ray: 80th Annual Academy Awards

    HOLLYWOOD - FEBRUARY 24: TV personality Tanika Ray arrives at the 80th Annual Academy Awards held at the Kodak Theatre on February 24, 2008 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

  • Goapele: 19th Annual ASCAP Rhythm And Soul Music Awards

    BEVERLY HILLS - JUNE 26: Recording artist Goapele attends the 19th Annual ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Music Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on June 26, 2006 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images).

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