A burst of tweets from women who, as children, modeled for relaxer brands is one of the latest instances of the Black Twitter community finding an unexpected connection and reminiscing over a shared experience.
The discussion kicked off after @prettiestluxury tweeted a collage of models who posed on a box of no-lye relaxer saying, “I remember wanting to be the face of a hair relaxer so bad.” That was followed by a quote tweet asking these women to “show themselves,” which became the centerpiece of a wider trend.
Jaelyn Evans, who was a model on ORS’ Olive Oil Girls No-Lye Relaxer box, said that she has since gone natural. Nomsa Sasa Madida, a makeup artist, also posted a photo update on Twitter showing prominent braids that she’s now wearing long after posing for a relaxer brand.
One connection people quickly made from the posts is that nearly all of the relaxer models appear to have decided to stop using those products and instead now have natural hairstyles. Going through the tweets, I thought most of all about how much I had wanted to achieve the same styles shown in the pictures.
The conversations caught my eye as so many women reminisced on the days when they used relaxer products. Though it’s been five years since I used a relaxer on my hair, the first thing that came to mind was the memory of going to the beauty supply store and seeing the boxes lined up with the models on the front.
Tarkor Zehn, an audio producer here at Vox Media, recalled what she felt when she came across the tweet thread:
I thought it was adorable! It was the best “where are they now” that I never knew I needed. It was super interesting to see how the vast majority of them had either transitioned to being natural or a few of them had alway been natural in the first place. Truly a direct representation on the evolution of Black hair and the impact of the natural hair movement.
BuzzFeed caught up with some of the models who shared some of their experiences and some details about where they are today. While some women in the threads said they hadn’t used the products they were posing for, all of the models quoted by BuzzFeed said that wasn’t the case for them.
A tweet from @chigirlmakeup read, “I heard y’all were looking for the hair box girls...here I go 😂 I was the original ORS perm box girl,” showed the box model posing with her natural hair in a photo collage next to a box of Olive Oil ORS relaxer. She followed up on her tweet saying that she’s been natural for over 10 years and modeled when she was in her early twenties.
The journey from pursuing those looks to presenting the world with braids, curls, and other styles based on how our hair looks naturally was a common thread among the models and the people who were happy to see them come on their timelines.