Ngozi Opara has definitely made a stamp on the natural hair community and taken control over the weave industry that was long out of the reach of Black women, even as predominant consumers. As owner and founder of HeatFreeHair, Opara was one of the first to offer natural hair texture extensions that allow women to wear weaves without having to heat or chemically process their hair to match the texture of straighter weaves.

A graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned a degree in finance, Ngozi purposely set out to start a movement that encourages women to embrace the versatility of their hair without damaging it. As an owner of a hair salon, Ngozi Opara noticed many of her clients request their hair texture be relaxed or heat processed to match the texture of their weaves—hence her ensuring that “HeatFreeHair is not just a hair company, it’s more about the concept of healthy hair.”

When she first launched HeatFreeHair, Opara received a bit of backlash from the natural community because “it was a very new concept to the natural hair community. [Many felt] you can’t be natural if you if wear a weave.” But being an entrepreneur, she didn’t back down from her product because of naysayers. Opara took the time to do her research, even moving to China for a few months to learn about the hair extension manufacturing business.

Ngozi is part of the entire process—from concept, to the manufacturing, to the selling and marketing of her product. She takes pride in HeatFreeHair’s brand identity, being sure to carefully craft the visual elements that represent the brand. So the next time you see the HeatFreeHair pictures popping up in your Instagram feed, know that an amazing Black woman created this product just for us naturalistas.