This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Hip hop’s influence stretches far and wide, especially when it comes to beauty. We’ve already talked about how rappers — male and female — are infatuated with the same face masks and deep conditioners that we are. Now, thanks to Atlanta-based hairstylist Maya Smith, the two worlds are colliding again in the dopest way possible.
The Doux isn’t your average hair-care line. No, it’s what Dre’s character in Brown Sugar might describe as the perfect verse over a tight beat: curl and coil-friendly products with good-for-you ingredients, all wrapped up in vivrant packaging with product names inspired by hip hop’s most creative era. “I grew up in the 80s and 90s,” Smith tells Refinery29. “ Being submerged in hip hop during my development as a young creative has shaped so much of who I am as an artist. It’s linked to every significant experience I’ve had in life, which is why it’s no surprise that my brand is so heavily-inspired [by it]. It’s an authentic reflection of everything I love.”
The launch comes at a time when the people in hip hop are reflective of Smith’s target customer: men and women shedding their weaves and relaxers and celebrating their god-given texture. “There’s a new awareness of the beauty of women of color and texture that’s emerging,” she says. “I’ve even heard artists mention natural hair and skin in their music, and it’s slowly becoming more prominently celebrated in videos and media, but there’s still an undercurrent of hair ‘perfection’ that keeps women of all textures from feeling comfortable wearing their real hair.”
Hopefully, a line like this will encourage that movement. Besides, who could resist moisturizing their ‘fro with a product called Bonita Afro Balm? I rest my case. Get into the groove and learn more about Smith and The Doux, ahead.
“My salon in Germany served a predominately naturally curly clientele,” Smith — who’s been in the biz for 25 years — tells us of her beginnings. “However, most of them wanted to be able to wear their hair curly one day, and blown straight the next. At the time, there were no salon-grade products on the market that catered to both curly and straight hair care options. I also had a multi-ethnic clientele with a variety of unique needs. I wanted to create a range that anyone could use, and that was focused on performance and results.” The brand’s shampoo and conditioner duo feature Shea butter and silk to make detangling and styling a breeze.
The Doux Sucka Free Moisturizing Shampoo, $12.99, available at Target.
She says that the most-requested product from clients is Mousse Def (yep, like the rapper). “It’s the most versatile products in our line, and addresses the common challenges all women face, like frizz, volume, and curl definition,” she says of the formula, which features soy proteins and natural humectants.
The Doux Mousse Def Texture Foam, $14.99, available at Target.
“MC Lyte and The Lady of Rage are my hair icons,” Smith says. “Lyte rocked the freshest geometric haircut back in the day. She had everyone in the neighborhood begging their mom to let them cut their hair off! And Rage was the first artist to introduce Afro puffs as a hip hop fashion statement. She always wore her natural hair. She was way before her time.”
These days, Smith looks to Erykah Badu and Janelle Monáe for inspo. “Badu is uninhibited and unapologetic in everything that she does, especially with hair versatility. Janelle has brought back classic elegance, and done it with an undeniable edge. She’s a fashion hero.” Word up.
The Doux Fresh Rinse Moisturizing Conditioner, $12.99, available at Target.
You know we had to ask Smith about her favorite song. If she had to pick, it’d be “I Ain’t No Joke” by Eric B. & Rakim. “It was my very first hip hop cassette single. 1987… I was 8,” she says. “It changed my life forever.”
The Doux Bonita Afro Balm Texture Cream, $15.99, available at Target.
Would using this black cacao, palm oil, and passion fruit-blend glosser help us come closer to Common (who has a song of the same name)? Here’s to trying.
The Doux The Light Weightless Shine Mist, $14.99, available at Target.
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