Target’s Best-Kept Secret Is This Black-Owned, Hip-Hop-Inspired Hair Brand

For lack of a better term, the natural-hair-care section of Target is lit. From old favorites such as SheaMoisture and Carol’s Daughter to newer labels like Oyin Handmade and Mielle Organics, the gamut of products available appears to be wider than ever. But just when we thought we had seen it all, The Doux came along.

Although it’s been around since 2008 when founder Maya Smith opened her Atlanta-based salon the Honeycomb, a recent viral tweet breathed new life into the brand’s visibility. Now, everyone—including us—want the tea on this beautifully packaged brand. For starters, inspiration for the Doux dates back to Smith’s early days in her salon, where she noticed that a majority of the products she used were categorized according to “straight” and “curly” textures.

“I served a multicultural clientele with a variety of unique needs. Some were naturally curly, others had straighter, wavier hair, but they all had one thing in common: They wanted versatility, curl definition, and frizz control,” she says to StyleCaster.

“There didn’t seem to be one brand that supported my philosophy: Natural is about freedom. True freedom is about versatility. Chicks with real hair should be able to use one range to create any look that they desire, regardless of their style preference.”

So instead of continuing her search, Smith decided to put matters into her own hands and make that dream of an all-inclusive brand her reality. Sure, the move isn’t a novel one, given the number of natural-hair-care lines already in existence, but she believes the Doux brings an element of expertise back into the textured hair industry.

“As a hairstylist, I’m in daily contact with women who wear their natural hair. Many have been underwhelmed with the performance of over-the-counter products and want able to maintain their fresh-from-the-salon look at home,” she says. 

“I know that women with texture are very diverse, and it’s been important to me to represent the girl who’s looking for simplicity, common sense, and on-point performance.”

Expertise aside, what really makes the Doux a standout on shelves is its vibrant, hip-hop-inspired packaging, which Smith designed herself. For someone who started her creative journey in the late ’80s, when the musical genre had reached the first of many peaks, it was a natural fit.

“My influences just tend to come out in my work. I know it can be misinterpreted as like a gimmick, but what you see is an authentic extension of who I am as an artist. The Doux is a reflection of everything that I love: hip-hop, street art, my trips to Paris, retro pinup style, and all things old-school.”

Anyone familiar with hip-hop history will immediately know who Smith counts as her favorite artists.  There’s “The Light” Shine Mist, named after one of the biggest songs in Common’s catalog. Or perhaps you gravitated toward the “Bonita Apple Balm,” whose moniker alludes to the Tribe Called Quest classic, “Bonita Applebum.” Jones has been listening to them, among others, since the ’90s, so in a strange way, it feels as though they’ve matured and expanded together.

Pharrell Williams is one of my entrepreneurial heroes. I’ve watched him break into so many other categories outside of music,” she says. “It can be difficult as an artist to show the world that you’re amazing in more than one art form. For him to be just as respected as a producer/musician as he is a fashion designer is something that inspires me.” 

Of course, manning a beauty brand comes with a unique set of challenges. Although branding has always been “a piece of cake” for Smith, guarding her feelings is actually the tough part. Accepting praise and critique from a linear perspective will always be a challenge.

“I’ve learned to take nothing personally, keep my chin up, and my head in the game. There’s also the challenge of ‘switching gears’ between my left and right brain,” she says. “I can be in the middle of a painting, or working on a graphic design piece and have to force myself to break away to a conference call or a meeting with my accountant. Balancing creative intuition and business can be a challenge.”

Ultimately, what keeps Smith motivated is knowing that the Doux isn’t grounded in trends; it’s good, old-fashioned salon-performance formulas.

“Simply put, this is what we do. We’re not just chasing after what’s hot right now— everything that I produce is based on countless hours of real experience from behind the chair. The Doux brand is rooted in the science of how hair should be cared for. We just happen to make it fresh, fly, and fun.”

Shop the Doux at Target or the brand’s official website. You can also get updates on Instagram and YouTube.

22 Bold and Beautiful Celebrity Afros That Helped Define Black History

Women of color have long been encouraged to adopt European beauty standards instead of embracing the versatility of their natural hair. And in an era where celebrity culture still plays a large role in the decisions we make regarding personal appearance, we’re grateful for the famous ladies who rock their coils and curls unapologetically.

MORE: The Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 (So Far)

Sure, we love experimenting with weaves, wigs and extensions, but no hairstyle embodies black girl magic more boldly than an afro. From the era of Studio 54 to present day, these are the celebrity afros–of all shapes, sizes and textures– that have helped shape black beauty history.

The Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 (So Far)

We’re still in “New Year” territory, but there’s already enough hair inspo to fill the rest of 2018. Now more than ever, famous beauties such as Alicia Keys, Issa Rae, and Yara Shahidi are using their worldwide influence to showcase the beauty of textured hair on social media and the red carpet. Representation matters, and these ladies are living proof of that.

Now that the Golden Globes, Grammys, and other high-profile events have come and gone, we’re tallying up the looks that are not only beautiful but inspiring to those who may not feel confident in their curly coils. From voluminous waves to luscious locs and accessorized ’Fros, these are the best celebrity natural hair moments of 2018 … so far.

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi

The “Grown-ish” star added major length, but retained her natural texture to rock this multibraid ponytail while walking the NAACP Image Awards red carpet.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Andra Day

We can’t get enough of this singer’s signature throwback style. Her finger waves, adorned with sparkly bobby pins, stopped us dead in our tracks at the 2018 NAACP Image Awards.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o

Mic. Drop. This elevated African-inspired topknot, crafted by Vernon Francois, took our breath away when we spotted it at the Los Angeles premiere of “Black Panther.”

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Tracee Ellis Ross

Tracee Ellis Ross

The “Black-ish” star has never been shy about experimenting with different looks, and this ultra-long braid at the NAACP Image Awards may be our favorite.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Chloe & Halle

Chloe & Halle

This singing sister duo (and stars of “Grown-ish”) are constantly finding new ways to style their locs and pulled off another gorgeous slay at the Los Angeles premiere of “Black Panther.”

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett

She’s considered a Hollywood vet, but we’re convinced she’s sipping from the fountain of youth. Just look at her glorious mane at the Los Angeles premiere of “Black Panther”!

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Issa Rae

Thanks to her trusty hairstylist Felicia Leatherwood, the “Insecure” star’s natural tresses are always camera-ready. We love this simple yet chic bun she sported at the BAFTA Los Angeles Tea Party.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira

She shaved her entire head for “Black Panther,” and although she appears to be growing it back, she’s having fun with cool lines and designs. Just check out the detail, spotted at the Seoul, South Korea, premiere for the highly anticipated film.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o

We’re ready to wrap our strands in gold wire, thanks to the Oscar winner, who sported this regal hairstyle at the Seoul, South Korea, premiere of “Black Panther.”

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Viola Davis

Viola Davis

Afro goals were certainly achieved when the Oscar winner let her curls shine at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Sydelle Noel

Sydelle Noel

The “GLOW” actress did just that when she wore this textured half-up, half-down hairstyle to the Los Angeles premiere of “Black Panther.”

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi

The TV actress and activist teased out her signature curls and rocked them fiercely to the 2018 Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys

For this year’s Grammy Awards, the “Girl on Fire” singer pulled her hair back into matching (and accessorized) twists.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Sanaa Lathan

Sanaa Lathan

The actress, who did a big chop for her upcoming Netflix film “Nappily Ever After,” flaunted her TWA at a January 2018 W Magazine event.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Sza

The most nominated woman at this year’s Grammy Awards made sure her presence was felt with larger than life waves atop her head.

Photo: Getty Images

STYLECASTER | Best Celeb Natural Hair Moments of 2018 | Zoe Kravitz

Zoe Kravitz

Ever since the actress did a big chop in 2017, we’ve loved watching her rock this classic pixie on and off the red carpet. Here, she matches her wardrobe and hair color at the YSL Beauty Party during Paris Fashion Week’s Menswear Fall/Winter 2018–2019 season.

Photo: Getty Images

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11 Must-Follow Instagram Accounts for Black Beauty Inspo

Even though makeup brands appear to be more inclusive than ever, the need for spaces that celebrate black beauty is still at an all-time high. Thanks to a shift from traditional magazines to the over-saturated world of Instagram and YouTube, social media has become a source of inspiration and service for most of the decisions we make regarding our appearance.

And for women of color who sometimes feel excluded in terms of the products made for their shade of beautiful, these accounts are a reminder that our melanin is worthy of praise. Ahead are 11 Instagram accounts that celebrate black beauty 24/7 and should definitely be in your feed.

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @Melanin.Feed

@Melanin.Feed

Every shade of brown is represented in this gorgeous feed of black beauties from across the globe. From outfit ideas to makeup recommendations and shots of your favorite celebs, the inspo never stops.

Photo: instagram / @melanin.feed

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @CocoaSwatches

@CocoaSwatches

Ofunne Amaka created the Cocoa Swatches app to show makeup products on the most underrepresented skin tones and her accompanying Instagram page is just as informative and helpful.

Photo: instagram / @cocoaswatches

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @Afropunk

Besides promoting its annual music and culture events, this organization is constantly posting beautiful photography of black men and women.

Photo: instagram / @afropunk

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @TheCGirlInc

@TheCGirlInc

If you already follow Khoudia Diop, also known as the “Melanin Goddess,” then you’re probably familiar with the creative agency she works with. Their group photoshoots are among the most epic displays of black beauty on the web today.

Photo: instagram / @thecgirlinc

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @Hannah.Magazine

@Hannah.Magazine

The bi-annual print magazine is described as a “celebration of black women” and its blog/Instagram feed is no different.

Photo: instagram / @hannah.magazine

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @crwnmag

CRWN Magazine is a print publication made for and inspired by women with natural hair. This Instagram account will is chock full of gorgeous hairdos that you’ll want to copy immediately.

Photo: instagram / @crwnmag

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @blackgirlflymag

@blackgirlflymag

This Instagram page is a black millennial’s dream, with pretty photos of top bloggers as well as must-know news within the beauty and natural hair communities.

Photo: instagram / @blackgirlflymag

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @bgkionline

@bgkionline

Tag your OOTD with #BGKI and you may just find yourself featured as a “black girl killing it” on this fashion-focused Instagram account.

Photo: instagram / @bgkionline

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @naturalhairdaily

@naturalhairdaily

Your friendly natural hair enthusiasts never stop posting hairstyle ideas for those who want to embrace their textured tresses in a healthier way.

Photo: instagram / @naturalhairdaily

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @blkgirls

The overall message of this melanin-powered Instagram page is to “love yourself and your skin.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Photo: instagram / @blkgirls

STYLECASTER | Black Beauty Instagram Accounts | @bebeautifulla

@bebeautifulla

The editorial photography on this page will stop you dead in your tracks and make you want to grab a camera yourself.

Photo: instagram / @bebeautifulla

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53 Beyond-Pretty Natural Hairstyles to Try This Winter

Hairstyle ideas are never in short supply (thanks, YouTube), but we’re admittedly lazy when it comes to trying new looks. On most days, especially during the winter season, it’s much easier to throw on a hat instead of attempting a twist-out. So, we settle into a hair rut that becomes hard to escape.

The natural hair community is particularly oversaturated with tutorials and how-to’s, and although we love the never-ending inspo, it can feel overwhelming at the same time. So, in an attempt to save you some time and frustration, we’ve gathered 50 looks that cover the gamut of texture and length. Better yet, you won’t need a flat iron or blow dryer to pull any of these off.

Whether you have a teeny weeny afro, wash-and-go curls or simply want a cute, protective style, we guarantee you’ll screenshot at least one to try later. Take your pick, ahead!

A version of this article was originally published in November 2017.