Natasha Anderson and her daughter, Khadija Imara, collaborated to create the Original Unbraider, a special double-sided comb designed to efficiently unravel six to eight braids at a time. It removes the braids quickly and helps detangle the hair, making the process of braid removal much easier and less time-consuming.
The idea for the Original Unbraider came to Anderson when she was struggling to take down her own braids and those of six other girls in her family. Frustrated with using a rattail comb that often broke, she thought there must be a faster and more efficient way to remove braids.
In 2004, the mother of five found motivation and vision to improve hair care specifically for minorities. Anderson collaborated with engineers for a period of nine months to develop a comb model that could efficiently remove multiple braids at once without causing hair damage. She teamed up with a friend whose family owned a plastic manufacturing company in Taiwan. That friend connected her with someone else in the same plastic manufacturing business and together with her family, Anderson flew to Taiwan to see how to come up with her invention. She said her husband allowed her to pull money off their house in order to do that.
In the end, after testing various prototypes, she successfully created the Original Unbraider. In 2005, she launched the product, initially selling it locally in California through mall kiosks and beauty salons. Unfortunately, the business faced a setback when Anderson’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away.
However, years later, in 2021, Anderson’s daughter, Imara, took on the role of CEO for The Original Unbraider. Nearly two years later, the company underwent an official rebranding. Imara stepped up to revive her mother’s vision and bring the Original Unbraider back to life, aligning with the resurgence of Black hair, businesses, and cultural movements.
The Original Unbraider experienced immense success, selling out in its first week and gaining millions of views on social media. It even attracted the attention of celebrities like Tamar Braxton.
The Original Unbraider is now a standard, right next to the hot comb and the bonnet, thanks to Imara’s assistance in bringing it to Black homes and Black-owned companies around the world.
Per figures, more than 11 percent of all beauty customers are Black, however, Black brands account for only 2.5 percent of the $60 billion beauty industry. Anderson and Imara are hoping that their tool will encourage other Blacks to venture into the industry and start their own businesses.