Ciara Imani Creates Hair Extensions from Banana Fiber to Save Women from Itchy Scalp

Ciara Imani May, a Kansas City resident, is the CEO and founder of the plant-based hair extension firm Rebundle, which makes “braidbetter” hair extensions that contain none of the toxic plastics commonly found in beauty supply stores.

Ciara’s biodegradable company creates hair using ethically harvested banana fiber and recycled biopolymers, resulting in slightly fuller strands than typical synthetic extensions. May believes that her extensions are beneficial to both the environment and the wellness of her scalp.

May had several issues with fake braiding hair before launching the brand in 2019. According to HuffPost, her scalp would grow incredibly itchy and sensitive, making her dread wearing protective styles.

She wasn’t sure if her discomfort was caused by her hair at first, but she soon realized that it wasn’t the things she was using to care for her braids that were the issue, but rather the hair itself. She began investigating the synthetic hair industry to learn how plastic hair was created, then purchased lab samples of two famous brands and conducted “customer discovery” with people who wore braids.

The young entrepreneur revealed that she contacted anybody she could find who truly understood what types of natural fibers were being utilized to replace plastics, until she eventually settled on banana fibers.

Rebundle, founded in St. Louis, claims to be the first plant-based hair extension firm in the United States. According to HuffPost, it soft-launched in January 2021 before relaunching later with a patent-pending version of the product.

During the month of Rebundle’s debut, Sherrell Dorsey, the founder and CEO of The Plug, an online magazine focusing on trends in Black creativity in technology, tweeted in support of the eco-friendly braids. Some of the responses suggested a strong interest for the product.

May shared that it even reflected on her social media. “I now have hundreds of stories of people like, ‘I can wear my braids and not have to worry about itchiness? I’ll give you all my money right now,’ ” she said, according to Inc.

Rebundle’s mission of reducing the environmental impact of synthetic hair one bundle at a time is gaining traction, with over 25,000 Instagram followers. Every aspect of the organization displays May’s commitment to sustainability. Customers can even join in Rebundle’s plastic synthetic hair recycling initiative. To date, the program has recycled about 450 pounds of synthetic plastic hair.

May’s idea arrives at a time when people are increasingly interested in environmentally friendly products. According to Inc., Americans spend more than $100 billion on sustainable products. It is hardly surprising, then, that celebrities such as NBA point guard Chris Paul and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick have invested in May’s startup, which has generated $2.1 million in funding to date.

Written by PH

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