The first time I encountered Miss Jessie’s was many years ago when I cut my hair boy short for the second time. I was starting to grow my hair back out when a young woman from my church suggested I check out Miss Jessies. They have a salon in brooklyn and they will make your natural hair look fabulous! I wasn’t all that interested in looking “fabulous” but I promised to look up the salon online and check it out. It might be nice to treat myself to some kind of hair fanciness, I thought. When I got to the website I realized very quickly that the salon was really targeted at making your hair look as “not nappy” as possible.
This bothered me a bit. What’s the point of going natural, if your going out of your way still to make your hair look different from the way it grows out of your head. I felt like the salon preyed on some black women’s desire to have “good hair”, which in my experience means less super straight “european hair”, but more curly “mixed-race hair” (Google Mixed Chicks). Miss Jessie’s has expanded to include a whole line of products that are distributed in major chain stores like Target now. They even sell what ultimately amounts to your run of the mill relaxer as a “silkener”. I believe they have even patented “silkening” as a technique.
Anyways, black hair care is such big business. And while they like to claim to take the higher road, many natural hair care companies prey on the same insecurities and desires that traditional companies do.