Self care is king. And taking the time to prioritize physical, mental, and spiritual health is fundamental for all – men included. Who said self care is just for women? As seen on Shark Tank, black-owned hair care brand Young King Hair Care (YKHC) is normalizing self care for boys and young men nationwide, offering a male-centered selection of plant-based products that help maintain healthy hair. The brand caters to the needs of males of color providing them with formulas that moisturize the hair, soothe the scalp, and promote hair growth. YKHC is dedicated to changing the way young men view self care and grooming, by assisting them with the confidence needed to be their best selves, which commonly starts with a healthy hair and skin care plan.
Husband and wife, and founders of Young King Hair Care, Stefan and Cora Miller created their business when they could not find clean, natural hair care products for their son, Kade. With textured hair care products predominantly female-focused, Stefan and Cora realized there was an unfulfilled need and opportunity to create a range of nourishing products that men and young boys could use and enjoy. “What Young King represents is bigger than hair care. For young men to be the best version of themselves, we believe they need to have moments of self-care,” Stefan tells Sheen. “As parents of a growing black boy, we believe that providing clean, natural products as part of a simple, regimented approach underscores the importance of self-care and grooming for young men beginning at an early age and instills the confidence they need to present their best selves each and every day.”
According to The Washington Post, teen boys fall under one of the most stressed, anxious, and depressed segments. To do their part in the fight against this, Young King Hair Care recently launched their “Self Care is King” campaign that aims to boost confidence and to help young men practice self care. The brand called on Kanan Hunt (TikTok content creator), Noah Kazeem-Riley (Tumbler), Lance Avery Brown (Actor), and Trey Newton (Actor/Model), known as “The King Squad,” to demonstrate how self-care leads to confidence through a spin on the classic GRWM videos, showcasing how skin and hair care routines are for every young man. YKHC also is partnering with Atlanta-based community organizations, like Atlanta Unbound Academy, to provide in-kind product donations and educational resources to drive the conversation around self-care for young men.
Young King Hair Care wants the world to know that black boy joy starts with self-care, and without a doubt, when you look good, you feel good. Their best-selling Complete Hair Bundle comes with five styling products and wash day essentials that can be used with any hairstyle, whether the curls are poppin’ or the waves are “on swim.” My college-aged brother absolutely loves the Young King Leave-In Conditioner that detangles, hydrates, and softens his curls. The company also just released a new skin line that provides a simple regimen to specifically address melanin-rich skin concerns, including inflammation, eczema, hyperpigmentation, and sebum production.
Sheen caught up with Young King Hair Care’s founding couple Stefan and Cora, and they shared the value of self-care for boys, simple skin and hair care routines, and details on their new “Self Care is King” campaign.
Sheen: What things did you take into consideration when creating hair and skin products for men?
Cora: Prior to launching, we spent over a year conducting market research, facilitating consumer focus groups, going through multiple iterations of brand design, identifying the right manufacturing company, and testing products with parents of boys to ensure that our product formulation aligned with our vision. We utilized a focus group of 20+ young men and their parents to really lead the product experience, select scents, and give feedback on formulation. This was critically important for us as we wanted our brand and our products to be as unique and dynamic as our young kings.
Sheen: Do men and women need different skin care products and routines? If so, why?
Stefan: Yes and no – on the one hand, there’s no difference in the melanated skin of a young woman versus a young man. However, the education gap and having a consistent routine is far less than that of young women than it is for our young men. We know that men of all ages have generally neglected to practice self-care because it’s been seen as “only for women.” Particularly in our community, basic hair and skin education and maintenance was taught to young Black girls at an early age, but not so much for Black boys. Even thinking about my own experience growing up – I was never taught what it means to have a healthy skin or hair routine, so I just guessed and borrowed some of my mom’s products when I thought I needed them. So for Young King, we want to provide a simple, foundational routine for young men to make it easier for them to follow through and stick with.
Sheen: Walk us through your recommended skin and hair care routine!
Cora: For skin, there’s really 3 simple steps:
Cleanse – use our face cleanser to wipe away any pore-clogging debris on the surface of your skin.
Exfoliate – use our face toner to shed any dead skin cells, sebum, bacteria, or whatever else is stuck to the surface of the skin or deep in the pores; and finally,
Moisturize – a good moisturizer, like our Young King face moisturizer, adds hydration to the skin, which is a critical piece to ensure skin is hydrated and refreshed.
Similarly, for a foundational hair routine, it’s important to ensure your hair is cleansed and conditioned (using our Young King Shampoo and Conditioner), followed by a good, moisturizing styling product to help you achieve whatever look you are going for. Whether it’s waves, poppin curls, twists or braids, starting with our leave-in conditioner, followed by any of our styling products, curling cream, or pomade, will ensure hair is healthy and hydrated.
Sheen: What are some easy, everyday self-care practices young, black men should consider as they develop a routine for themselves?
Cora: The top 3 self-care practices I recommend for every black young man is:
1) Establish grooming habits and routines: it’s never too early to start focusing on taking care of yourself physically so you can show up mentally.
2) Practice gratitude: give thanks for all the good that’s in your life and the good that’s to come.
3) Balance social and alone time: give yourself time to recharge so that you can show up and bring your best self to others.
Sheen: What do you hope people will take away from the Self Care is King campaign?
Stefan: The lack of “beauty” education for Black men has resulted in many not knowing the fundamentals when it comes to establishing hair, skin and overall wellness routines. If I would’ve known then what I know now, maybe I’d still have all my hair! At the end of the day, self-care is all about meeting your basic needs because when you look good, you feel good both physically and mentally. That’s why we are excited to truly elevate the conversation around self-care for young black men through our year-long “Self-Care is King” campaign, shining a light on this narrative that is often overlooked when it comes to young Black men expanding their self-care mindset.
Sheen: How can people help amplify the conversation around self-care for young men?
Cora: “Self-Care is King” aims to boost confidence and change young men of color’s perspective on self-care over time by helping them define their grooming routines and lean into self-love. To do this, we will partner with community organizations to provide educational resources on grooming and wellness best practices, in-kind donations and experiential events in key urban cities to drive the conversation of self-care for young men. We want our community to also join in and help amplify the conversation but first even having these types of conversations with the boys and young men and their life, while also putting into action self-care practices that help instill and boost confidence in our young kings.
To shop and learn more about Young King Hair Care, shop in stores at your local Target or Walmart, and visit youngkinghaircare.com!