If you are a Black woman with hair—and we suspect that you are—it’s safe to assume that you’ve tried at least one of SoftSheen-Carson’s hair products over the years. Top-notch brands like Optimum Oil Therapy and Dark & Lovely (superstar Kelly Rowland proudly endorsed the relaxers in a recent ad campaign) have made the company the number one ethnic haircare company in the world! This year, SoftSheen-Carson is celebrating it’s ten year anniversary together—but prior to the merger a decade ago, SoftSheen and Carson had been providing cutting edge hair products and technology to Black consumers for more than one hundred years! To help commemorate SoftSheen-Carson’s milestone anniversary, we chatted with the company’s Senior VP and General Manger, Angela Guy, who filled us in on the legendary brand’s rich history—one that actually mirrors the modern history of Black haircare.
During the “Black is Beautiful” movement of the late ’60s and ’70s, SoftSheen-Carson kept up with the changing times by introducing Sta Soft Fro. “Sta Sof Fro started our path towards natural hair styles,” says Guy. “We honor this heritage by continuing to develop products for a wide variety of hairstyles and textures.”
“In 1978, we introduced Dark and Lovely, the first no-lye relaxer, which made it possible for women to relax their hair at home for the first time,” says Guy. “It was truly revolutionary, and changed the way women cared for their hair.” SoftSheen-Carson is constantly updating the Dark and Lovely line of relaxers and hair color, and they’re now more moisturizing than ever before. “Currently, Dark and Lovely Relaxers include a moisture seal technology that is infused with Shea Butter, which gives hair amazing shine and softness,” says Guy.
“We’ve been through many trends and movements throughout our history, and we always provide consumers with what they need at the time,” says Guy. One such trend with the Jheri Curl moment of the ’80s. Once again, SoftSheen-Carson was ahead of the zeitgeist, introducing Carefree Curl, a line of products for processed curls, in 1979. “It’s been cited that Carefree Curl was the most important innovation in Black hair care since the pressing comb!” says Guy.
“At SoftSheen-Carson we truly live up to our mantra…My Style. My Way,” says Guy. “From our one-of-a-kind, L’Oréal Ethnic Hair & Skin Institute in Chicago, to the four corners of the globe, SoftSheen-Carson creates the widest variety of solutions to meet every ethnic hair care need.” One of the brand’s newest innovations, the Weave Care collection, is the first and only line specifically designed for human and synthetic weaves and extensions. The products work to nourish the scalp, the natural hair, and the human or synthetic extensions.
“We continue to make products that will enhance the beauty and health of the hair for a wide variety of hairstyles and textures,” says Guy. Through their Optimum Oil Therapy line, SoftSheen-Carson addresses the needs of Black women with dry, fragile, damaged hair. The products are loaded with natural essentials oils like Coconut, Olive, Avocado, and Jooba oil to repair, nourish and protect ravaged tresses, sans greasy buildup. Who doesn’t need that?