With so many new products coming to market in recent years, you’d think textured hair was a new phenomenon—but what it really indicates is a new perspective: many of us are well past tired of taming our hair into “submission,” and with the growing awareness of hair discrimination and initiatives like the CROWN Act, we are also done asking permission to enjoy our hair in its naturally textured state.
That said, even among #TeamNatural, there are strong opinions about what that texture should look like, and on our now well-stocked store shelves, we see an array of products still meant to refine and control our kinks, curls and waves. It’s not unheard of for a texturizer (read: light relaxer) to be run through otherwise “virgin” hair to achieve the desired texture or “hang” in our tresses (no judgments, just facts), and Black-focused products promising to reduce our “frizz” are as ubiquitous on our shelves as any mainstream beauty brands.
Anyone who has natural hair knows it’s a surprisingly labor-intensive personal endeavor: the cocktailing of products, the detangling, the deep conditioning, the protective styling, the tutorials—who has time for it all? And what about those of us who, especially now that we’re mostly at home, what to take a more casual approach? What’s the naturalista’s version of a minimalist hair care routine and “lazy girl” hair?
Enter Bread Beauty Supply, founded by industry veteran Maeva Heim. Heim’s own experience going natural started with a tub of relaxer exploding in her bag on a business trip, and, in a series of very fortunate events—including a boost from Elaine Welteroth and a fortuitous meeting with execs at Sephora’s female-focused Accelerate program—led her to create a tightly curated debut collection of essentials (just a hair wash, hair mask, hair oil and satin scrunchie, for now) intended to streamline the way we look at hair care. Thus, the name “Bread”—both a staple and an indulgence.
At a $20-$58 pricepoint (which ranges from single products to full kits), Bread sits firmly in the semi-luxury haircare lane—exclusive yet accessible. Nevertheless, its Gen-Z, unambiguously Black and Brown girl aesthetic and sustainable focus make it a standout among the haircare options at Sephora, where it debuted on Friday. While Heim began working with the beauty juggernaut well before they signed onto Aurora James’ 15 Percent Pledge, which asked big brands to devote a minimum of 15 percent of their shelf space to Black-owned brands, she is among the first wave of brands to land that coveted spot.
As not only a Black woman but an Australian of West African and French descent, Heim brings a new twist to the haircare aisle with the launch of Bread, including continent-specific ingredients like Australia’s Kakadu Plum, which has previously found a niche in skincare due to its high vitamin C content (about 50 times more than an orange) but is also remarkably good for the hair. And true to her part of the world, Heim also brings a laid-back vibe to beauty, one she hopes will change the way American Black women talk about their hair.
“That anti-frizz language does demonize a particular type of hair more than others—and that type of hair just happens to be us,” she says. “I really want to be a brand that takes an anti-anti-frizz stance.”