How to Survive as a Natural Hair YouTuber

The natural hair community has been growing on YouTube ever since 2008 or so.  However, you may find that your favorite natural hair gurus – from that time – no longer post on YouTube.  Have you looked up your favorite vloggers from 2008 recently? The natural hair community on YouTube is changing. The OG channels no longer get the views they used to.

In order to keep up with the changes, it is important these channels evolve. If they fail to do this, they will get left behind. This has already happened to many great channels.  Remember old favorites like African Export, Taren Guy and Simply Younique? Back in the day, a channel with 100k plus subscribers was considered a big name channel. However, that number doesn’t compare to the 1M plus subscribers Patricia Bright has.  She actually had a natural hair channel for three years before re-branding as a beauty and lifestyle influencer.

Why are our talented natural hair gurus not getting the views and subscribers they deserve?  Why have some of the natural hair channels stopped growing?

The natural hair industry continues to grow, with new products and more black-owned businesses entering the market regularly.  Even mainstream brands have been influenced by the natural hair community and introduced gentler products with less harmful ingredients.  More and more black women (including celebrities) are embracing their natural hair. There is still room on YouTube for more natural hair channels and gurus.  

What do you need to do to succeed as a natural hair YouTuber?

Target Product Junkies

In order to succeed your channel must appeal to product junkies – people who are always looking for the next hot new product on the market.  These include people who want to become more product savvy and learn the best products to purchase. You should also appeal to those frugal consumers who want information on the most cost-effective products.  

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while knows I always preach hair care techniques over products. Products do not make your hair great, learning good hair care techniques is the key.  I believe most of us can get by with a spray bottle of water, shea butter, and a good conditioner, maybe even some flaxseed gel. The endless number of natural hair products on the market are a great bonus but are not fundamental to our natural hair journey.

However, in order to have a successful YouTube channel, you’re going to have to embrace the product junkies and cater to their needs.  People like to see products reviewed and demonstrated on someone else’s hair before they part with their cash. This does not apply to natural hair products only. Many young people on a budget need hacks and ideas for using inexpensive and easily accessible drugstore products too.

Naptural85’s channel has stood the test of time because it has evolved.  She introduced personal vlogs – giving her subscribers more of an insight into her everyday life.  She also has videos reviewing products and experimenting with different brands. She went from essentially relying on nothing but shea butter, to using natural hair and drugstore products.  She delivers entertaining content that goes beyond simply giving hair tutorials.

As mentioned earlier, another progression from basic natural hair tutorials is daily vlogging. It can also be done once a week or however frequently you decide.  This allows subscribers to gain more of an insight into the lives of their favorite YouTubers. It takes them on a journey beyond natural hair. Personal vlogs will cause your subscribers to become invested in your channel on a deeper level. Take vlogger Ms Vaughn TV, her personal vlogs are becoming just as popular as her hair tutorials.  She has gained a whole new fan base as a result. Her subscribers feel like part of the family. We’ve seen her go through marriage, becoming a mother, and even the tragic loss of her sister Meechy. These vlogs, are usually once a week or less, but they have helped her channel grow and keep up with the changes of YouTube’s natural hair community. Other channels have seen a halt in their growth. They may have survived if they had introduced daily or weekly vlogs.


Post Video Challenges

Content that contains challenges, collaborations, comparisons and even pranks, get views.   You don’t have to set up pranks or any disingenuous content to get views. Simple hairstyle challenges or product experiments will help your channel reach those who want more than a hair tutorial. People want to be entertained. So, taking Caucasian hair tutorials and recreating them for natural hair, is one way. Viv Hair Therapy has gained millions of views doing this. She regularly sets hairstyle challenges for herself that involve applying techniques meant for other hair types.  People watch because they’re curious to see how the styles turn out. If it turns out to be a complete disaster, it makes the video even more entertaining.

Other challenges you can do:

I Did a Twist out Using Drugstore Gel

I Used Old School Black Hair Products in My Hair for a Week

Curly Hair Wash and Go Technique Done on 4b Hair

You get the idea.  These type of videos can be funny, intense and intriguing for viewers. Plus, they get the clicks. There are thousands of twist out videos on YouTube. A simple twist out tutorial will be lost in a sea of similar videos. A challenge video related to natural hair will have an extra edge to it.  The headlines alone are recipes for viral video content. 

Also, use a dramatic picture and sub-headline for the thumbnail.  Give viewers more details that would make them want to view the video. A good thumbnail can make all the difference.


Treat your channel like a business

Be more strategic with how you set up your channel, treat it like a business. Always consider the best way to ensure your videos appear in people’s feeds and in search fields.  It would be great if you only had to concentrate on teaching about natural hair, but there are algorithms, search engine optimization and content rules to consider. You could have the most informative hair tutorial on YouTube, but what use is it if it doesn’t get seen?  In order to show up in people’s recommended content, certain conditions must be in place. The headline of each video is the most important consideration.

Click bait is seriously annoying for most, but it does work.  I’m not telling you to be dishonest with your headlines, they should be reflective of the content, but  be creative and use a headline that draws people in.  Even if they click on your video purely out of curiosity, they stick around if the content is good.

Avoid profanity, controversial topics, and anything that will deter advertisers. There’s nothing wrong with a little hyperbole in the headline.  Exaggerate but don’t lie. A headline saying: How to Do A Twist Out on Natural Hair, will not get noticed anymore. But using the headline: How I Got My Best Twist Out in Under 15 Minutes, will be more successful in getting the views.


Don’t do it just for the money

The reality is, you probably won’t make much money with your YouTube channel in the early stages. New rules state that a channel must have over 1000 subscribers before it can begin to get monetized.  While this may seem unfair to the smaller YouTubers, it does weed out those who post mediocre content just to make a quick buck. If you’re serious and committed to creating great content, you will be rewarded for your hard work in due time.  Don’t go giving up your day job just yet, then you can focus on doing what is best for your channel rather than accepting low pay sponsorship or, just posting anything to make a few coins.

There is still room on YouTube for more natural hair channels. Some of the most successful channels only began a couple of years ago.  They approached the topic of natural hair from a different angle and stood out! The natural hair community on YouTube still continues to thrive. There’s no reason you can’t join the party.


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