As A Black Woman, Shopping For Wigs And Weaves Can Be A Disappointing Experience. This Brand Is Changing The Game

I had been on the lookout for high-quality kinky, curly and straight afro-textured hair extensions that mimicked and matched my natural hair for a very long time. Many brands attempted to meet these needs, but most were too synthetic and would stiffen at the merest hint of rain, or their wig styles and curl patterns were not evolving with the times. Almost all lacked innovation when it came to branding.

I know, I know… sometimes we just need to quickly grab one or two extra packs of Expressions so we don’t run out of hair two thirds of the way through braiding at 9pm. But what about when you do have a little time to prepare? A few days before an appointment to order hair in advance? I believe the experience of purchasing hair should feel as good as the moment we finish having it done after a great service.

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Enter Ruka. This UK-based beauty brand has quickly amassed a cult following of both consumers and hair professionals in this country and beyond, with its mission to bring order to the already huge and fast growing yet unregulated Black hair industry. Established just two years ago in 2021, Ruka has swiftly become the go-to brand for anyone with kinky or curly hair, worn by the likes of Tems and Gabrielle Union, thanks to its high-quality, ethically sourced products. It has a retail partnership with Westfield and a dedicated concession in Selfridges.

“I started this business because I wanted to reimagine the shopping experience for Black women,” says Ruka CEO and founder, Tendai Moyo. “Historically, it was either a faceless online experience, or [involved] shopping in the corners of cities, [buying] from people who didn’t understand textured hair or, frankly, customer service.”

As a Black woman who loves to switch hairstyles at the drop of a hat, I can’t seem to shake the feeling of discontentment when I reflect on some of the experiences I’ve had when purchasing hair extensions – online or in person. I’ve encountered store owners who see the value in the Black hair market but are abrasive, impatient and lack cultural sensitivity towards Black consumers. Online, I have found that the price is not always matched by the customer service and overall experience.

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