As Phoebe Waller-Bridge once said on her Emmy-winning series Fleabag, “Hair is everything. We wish it wasn't, so we could actually think about something else occasionally, but it is. It's the difference between a good day and a bad day.”
For as long as Eurocentric beauty standards have dominated popular culture, people been chemically straightening curly hair. But more and more, curly-haired folks are embracing their natural locks. There are countless online curly communities dedicated to empowerment, tips, and support. And until earlier this month, DevaCurl ($PRIVATE:DEVACURL) was lauded as their holy grail.
On January 31, Ayesha Malik, a curly community YouTuber and influencer, posted a video titled, “Why I Stopped Using DevaCurl.” Malik had been using DevaCurl for years, encouraging her followers to incorporate the products into their own haircare routines. Aside from partnering with the brand for two meet-and-greets, she was not paid for these endorsements.
In the video, Malik tearfully details her sudden hair loss and scalp damage. She talks about having fans contact her, infuriated and afraid, sharing similar stories and photos. The video went viral overnight, racking up 1.7 million views. DevaCurl fans quickly turned into foes; The brand has been steadily losing Facebook likes and Instagram followers since the start of this month.
Thousands of others came forward with DevaCurl horror stories after Malik posted her video. There are even support pages on Facebook, one of which, “Hair Damage & Hair Loss from DevaCurl - You're not CRAZY or ALONE!,” has over 51,000 members. Earlier this week, a group of former DevaCurl users filed a class-action lawsuit against the company.
Facebook chatter around DevaCurl had been relatively quiet, healthy and fluctuating, until this incident. On February 6, the brand’s Facebook mentions had increased 83% from last month. But the public outrage has moved to private conversation, as today's mentions are down 50% from last month.
Last week, DevaCurl shared an apologetic blog post on the company website. “Nothing is more important to us than you...We always want your curls to be a source of pride, never anxiety,” it reads. “When some of you first raised concerns about our products, we were laser-focused on our testing as the best way to confirm their safety and quality. You can feel confident using DevaCurl because all our products have gone through rigorous testing that has confirmed they are safe and adhere to both quality assurance and regulatory standards.”
The company says they are partnering with a variety of medical professionals to better address the issue. “Because many factors determine curl and scalp health, the situation is complex,” the post continues. “And we ask for your patience as we work together to provide more answers and address your concerns. We will continue to share updates.”
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