When any product is applied to the skin, as Wilson explains, it will try to rebalance itself. When synthetic hair sits on the scalp, the chemicals can be absorbed into the surface of your skin, causing itching, swelling, and rashes, as a result of fighting the chemical imbalance. New York City-based, board-certified dermatologist Elyse Love explains that irritation or skin reactions can manifest in multiple ways, either through a true allergic reaction to the product itself or to the hair’s physical properties like chemical, texture, and constant friction upon the back and shoulders.
“We have been conditioned to think that a lot of things that are actually unhealthy are normal,” says Love. “Flaking and itching usually are connected to a condition called seborrheic dermatitis, which is common in ethnic hair and caused by an overproduction of yeast on the scalp. If you’re not having any symptoms except for when you put extensions, braids, or a certain type of hair on the scalp, then it’s something to consider.”
Wilson, Robinson, and Love agree that banana fiber isn’t inherently safer, considering every individual reacts differently to different products, which is why Rebundle advises consumers to consult their doctor in the case of an allergic predisposition. However, they are all in accord that Rebundle is spurring innovation in this category.
“After launching pre-orders for ‘braid better,’ we’ve received nothing but love from our community and people willing to try an alternative that they’ve never seen before,” said chief marketing officer Danielle Washington. “It’s something that we never knew we needed, but we’ve been trying to remedy by ourselves for so long.”
By providing the option to choose better braiding hair, the Rebundle team hopes consumers will grow from a price point they are typically accustomed to — and more importantly, Black women will demand agency over their beauty and health.
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