Many Black women use protective hairstyling as a means of preventing breakage to their natural hair. Synthetic hair is often crucial to achieving the versatility, hold, and texture of these protective styles, like braids. Unfortunately, most options on the market are essentially fine strands of non-biodegradable plastic that can be harmful to wearers and the planet.
Like all plastic, it contributes to the global waste problem, and about 30 million pounds of plastic synthetic hair go to U.S. landfills every year. Ciara Imani May has made it her mission to change that and has reinvented the way we think about hair extensions.
As the CEO and founder of Rebundle, she has placed Black haircare lovers’ health and awareness at the core of her business. Citing Black consumers deserve alternatives, her brand has developed a plant-based, non-toxic, and biodegradable braiding hair that exemplifies their tagline “more comfort, less waste.”
Rebundle’s braiding hair is sourced from banana fibers and has been treated with non-toxic, nonreactive additives that give it the same texture and feel braiders are used to. The brand also gives wearers the option of sending in their synthetic hair for recycling. But aside from being gentler on the planet, it’s also healthier for the wearers.
According to May, 1 in 3 women experience scalp irritation from plastic synthetic hair. But an itchy scalp is just scratching the surface of the problem. “Some of the ingredients in plastic synthetic hair can affect your central nervous system, your reproductive system, and are listed as carcinogens,” Jessica Sanders, Rebundle’s chief science officer, said in a past interview.
That’s why Rebundle sticks to clean and safe ingredients—never “polyvinyl chloride, phthalates, emulsifiers, toxic dyes,” or any other potentially harmful ingredients. While making a product that has the health of the planet and the wearer in mind is important, May also uses Rebundle as a platform to promote care and healing. The team understands Black consumers are excluded from conversations about clean beauty (and environmentalism in general) and wants to remind them that they aren’t alone.
With an unwavering commitment to Black wearers’ comfort and adornment, Rebundle is combining sustainability with style in pursuit of a future where more plant-based hair options are possible.
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