This Black-Owned Hair Care Brand Will Invigorate Your Next Wash Day

hair products
Meet Black-Owned Hair Care Brand Adwoa BeautyAdwoa Beauty


"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."

Shop Small is a monthly series highlighting small business owners from diverse backgrounds. This series aims to go deeper than your typical product roundup, diving into the inspirational stories behind some of our favorite brands. By taking a behind-the-scenes look at how their shops came to be and highlighting the products they (and their shoppers!) love, we hope to put a deserving spotlight on these marginalized business owners.


Julian Addo — whose traditional name is Adwoa — is not a newcomer to the beauty industry. Since 1994, she has been involved in hair care and even has experience as a hair stylist and salon owner. She's become closely acquainted with the needs of those with textured hair, but always struggled to find hair care brands that resonated with her.

Frustrated by the stereotypical marketing that permeated the natural hair care category and the overall lack of product offerings, Addo launched Adwoa Beauty. Adwoa (pronounced ahh-ju-wah) burst into the natural hair care market in 2017 with the intention of defying stereotypes and providing non-toxic, gender-neutral products to people with multi-cultural hair textures.

Today, the successful hair care brand offers three product collections (baomint, blue tansy and melonberry) made up of curl-loving gels, creams, stylers, shampoos and conditioners. The brand's bestsellers, all of which are formulated for scalp health and moisture, are also available at Sephora.

From her inspiration behind the brand to how she formulates her products, we spoke with Addo, who shares the details (and challenges) about her journey in the hair care industry.

Blue Tansy Reparative Mask

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fadwoa-beauty-blue-tansy-reparative-masque-P474806&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodhousekeeping.com%2Flife%2Finspirational-stories%2Fa60278433%2Fjulian-addo-adwoa-beauty-interview%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Blue Tansy Reparative Mask</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$44.00</p>

Baomint Deep Conditioning Treatment

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fadwoa-beauty-baomint-deep-conditioning-treatment-P457232&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodhousekeeping.com%2Flife%2Finspirational-stories%2Fa60278433%2Fjulian-addo-adwoa-beauty-interview%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Baomint Deep Conditioning Treatment</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$44.00</p>

Blue Tansy Leave in Conditioning Styler

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fadwoa-beauty-blue-tansy-leave-in-conditioning-styler-P474808&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodhousekeeping.com%2Flife%2Finspirational-stories%2Fa60278433%2Fjulian-addo-adwoa-beauty-interview%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Blue Tansy Leave in Conditioning Styler</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$26.00</p>

Melonberry Hair Milk Leave-In Conditioner

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fadwoa-beauty-melon-berry-leave-in-conditioner-P481372&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodhousekeeping.com%2Flife%2Finspirational-stories%2Fa60278433%2Fjulian-addo-adwoa-beauty-interview%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Melonberry Hair Milk Leave-In Conditioner</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$24.00</p>

Blue Tansy Treatment Serum

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fadwoa-beauty-blue-tansy-treatment-serum-P474807&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodhousekeeping.com%2Flife%2Finspirational-stories%2Fa60278433%2Fjulian-addo-adwoa-beauty-interview%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Blue Tansy Treatment Serum</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$36.00</p>

Baomint Protect + Shine Oil Blend

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sephora.com%2Fproduct%2Fadwoa-beauty-baomint-protect-shine-oil-blend-P457237&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.goodhousekeeping.com%2Flife%2Finspirational-stories%2Fa60278433%2Fjulian-addo-adwoa-beauty-interview%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Baomint Protect + Shine Oil Blend</p><p>sephora.com</p><p>$11.00</p>

What inspired you to start Adwoa Beauty?

I honestly just wanted to develop a brand that offered people with textured hair something different — a more elevated experience. There were so many brands being created for textured and natural hair care, but to me, they all looked the same. As a consumer, none of them spoke to me.

When I started Adwoa Beauty, I wanted to create it for a target demographic, but I didn't want it to look like anything that already existed. There are Black people who like different things and deserve to have variations when it comes to shopping. At every stop, we should find options that were made by people who look like us.

What's most unique about your products?

I really think our formulations are unique — all of them. I know that's really a bold statement, because there's so much hair care on the market. From the smells to the textures, our products are really unlike any other. For example, our Blue Tansy Reparative Mask is the only hair care product on the market with blue tansy essential oil — it's an expensive oil and there are only a few skincare brands that use it.

My first responsibility was to make sure the formulas work, then I wanted the packaging to stand out. I asked myself, "How do I want the customer to see, smell and experience this? What do I want them to feel when they're using these products?"

How does Adwoa — meaning one who is philosophical, determined and filled with intense desire to endure — translate into your brand ethos?

They say, be careful what you name your children — and I'm definitely an Adwoa. I am very passionate, fiery and my voice is direct. The definition didn't inspire the name per se, but I made sure that when I was creating the brand, it was aligned with who I am — my morals and values. Even the brand's voice comes across as me.

I approached Adwoa Beauty like an artist approaches art. Not everyone will understand everything about what they're seeing, but the artist has intentions for what they created. And for me, Adwoa represents Black people everywhere. At the end of the day, we are all connected in some way.

a person holding a bottle of melonberry hair mask
Adwoa Beauty

What was most important to you when formulating your products?

I don't want to say formulation was easy for me. Although, I didn't formulate the products myself, I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to focus on the scalp and moisture, which are the two biggest issues for this client. I knew what I wanted the products to feel like. For example, I wanted the gel's viscosity to be heavy, but not weighed down so that it could define even the tightest curl and add some elongation.

What were the early days of the business like?

In the early, early days, I was just proud. I couldn't believe I pulled this off. I didn't think I could, but I just took my time, did things little by little and announced the brand when I was ready.

From the start, I always led with transparency. When I used to run out of stock, before anyone got upset, I'd tell them what was happening. I've found that Black women are very understanding. They just want to be spoken to. We would have people pre-buy and I would explain, "When you give me the money, it's going to take X amount of weeks to fulfill your order," and they loved the products so much that they would do it.

Can you share some of the challenges you faced when building the brand?

Honestly, everything is a challenge, especially when creating a brand like this. Back in 2017, we didn't have a category. There weren't other brands in the space at our price point. It involved a lot of convincing people why I was even charging these prices and proving our products are worth the investment.

a person holding a bottle of blue tansy treatment serum
Adwoa Beauty

What have you learned as a business owner?

There's true power in the Black community and Black women. Every day, I see how much Black women truly move culture. People say it as a soundbite, but I don't think they truly, truly understand how much this entire world, including other Black people, do not move without Black Americans and Black American women.

You Might Also Like