Over the past few years, man weaves have become a game-changer for Black men. The stigma of rocking extensions has slowly been erased by access to quality hair, believable textures and self-esteem boosting fresh fades to create realistic wave looks. Man weaves have also evolved into big business within the male grooming market, which is expected to rake in $81.2 billion by 2024.
Tim Starks, the founder of Ellagant Hair, has worked to be at the forefront of this movement with his extensions brand focused solely on men’s hair units. He got his start in 2016 as the CMO for Lyrical Hair extensions manufacturing company. In his role, he traveled to the company’s manufacturing warehouse in China to learn the ins and out of the industry.
“I was over there for almost two months training,” Tim tells Hype Hair. “They taught me everything—how they ventilate the hair, where they source the hair—all the insights. It’s a very secretive industry.”
While there, he also noted that hair options for Black men were lacking. “It was terrible, crappy nappy hair,” he reveals. Either the hair quality was extremely questionable or the textures were unbelievable. “There was none of us [Black folks] sitting at the table to tell them what they were doing wrong.” So, he convinced Lyrical Hair to start manufacturing hair units using virgin Remy hair in different kinky textures.
Now, he distributes his own brand directly from the manufacturer. There are five different units made with five different bases using full lace, full clear polyurethane, or a combination of the two. All of the units are 8”x10” crown pieces made with 6-inch hair in different wave textures, starting from a tighter 4mm wave to a looser 12mm wave.
It took him one-and-a-half years to get the process and quality to his satisfaction. “The hair is steam processed, and each piece takes about six weeks to make,” Tim shares. But it was worth it.
“We now produce about 80 to 90 percent of the units on the market,” he says, noting that the market for men’s weaves has gone from barely there to booming. “It’s the number-one product in China to produce right now in the beauty industry.”
He cautions, however, that with high demand comes the potential for bad quality. To guarantee high quality, of course, he says, to visit his site. But, even if you don’t, he recommends working with vendors who are located in the states, so you have a point of contact in case something is wrong with the hair.
As the market floods with new hair alternatives for men, Tim is proud to be part of a movement helping give men back their confidence and helping beauty professionals be able to benefit in the business.
“The response has been overwhelming,” he says. “It’s changed lives—not only financially for those installing them, but for the brothers when they get these units and how their confidence is built up.”
Tim also prides himself on giving back to the community. Through his work with Lyrical Hair, the company donates wigs to various charitable efforts, including 650 wigs this past Christmas to the American Cancer Society to help women and men regain their sense of self during cancer treatment.
“We’re not just selling hair, we’re changing lives.”