We see it every day. Black women wearing chemical relaxers and expensive weaves, because they “don’t know what to do with their hair.” Often, these women are labeled as self-hating, or are accused of wanting to assimilate into European culture without celebrating their true identities. These are the types of discussions scientist and businesswoman Zandile Mboshane loves to hear.
Mboshane believes that the reason that many Black women choose to wear weaves is because they have a hard time managing their natural hair. These women may also have a hard time finding a beautician who will listen to their needs and avoid using harsh chemicals to make their hair “look better.” This is also a big reason why a number of women have taken to the Internet to share natural hair care tips with one another. These suggestions include not brushing the hair when wet, and “co-washing,” or using conditioner as a shampoo to help the hair retain moisture.
To combat some of the issues Black women face with their hair, Zandile Mboshane created BlkSapphire, a line of products formulated for natural hair. The company has only been around for about a year, but has already established a pretty solid customer base. She makes the products, as well as the packaging and labels, in her own kitchen for now. However, the growth of the company indicates that this may change soon. All BlkSapphire products have been laboratory-tested, and Mboshane has applied for approval from the South African Bureau of Standards.
Mboshane, 30, says that she is passionate about and interested in “the politics of Black hair” and wants to further explore the psychology behind what Black people classify as beautiful.
She asserts that many Black women are told they’d look better if they wore weaves to hide their natural hair. Black women are also met with messages encouraging them to relax their hair when they visit beauty salons, which is why some have resorted to doing their hair themselves, resulting in the need for products like those in the BlkSapphire line.
Mboshane is a chemical engineer with more than six years of manufacturing experience. BlkSapphire products are oil-based, and include butters, oils and balms that are designed to treat a variety of hair textures. She also hopes that her hair products will promote hair care education for Black women in South Africa, and around the world. As of now, Zandile Mboshane delivers the products to all major South African cities and towns.