The company’s creator, Chris-Tia Donaldson, died in November at age 42, but her legacy and brand live on through the TGIN Foundation.
Black hair is the epitome of versatility. From protective styles to natural hair on the flow, the amount of styles that can be done on Black hair appears to be limitless. Regardless of the style, Black women are making strides to healthily grow their hair and stop using harmful chemicals, efforts that can be attributed to the natural hair movement.
Dating back to the mid-1960s, the natural hair movement is when many Black activists began to wear their hair in big afros as political statements. Resurfacing in the 2000s and gaining more momentum in the 2010s, this movement is more widespread and inspires Black women to celebrate their natural beauty.
Late author Chris-Tia Donaldson created the hair and skin care brand TGIN, short for “thank God it’s natural.” (Photo: christiadonaldson.com)
The rebirth of the movement also came when Black women were relaxing their hair or wearing wigs to blend into mainstream workplace beauty standards. Black women’s non-straightened hair was not seen as professional in most places, and there was a lack of healthy care products on the shelves for textured hair. For Chris-Tia Donaldson, this particular issue inspired her to create the hair and skin care brand TGIN, short for “thank God it’s natural.”
Donaldson launched TGIN in 2013, but her natural hair journey started a few years earlier. During her college experience at Harvard University and Harvard Law School, the Detroit native decided to grow the relaxer out of her hair. She found a stylist who could still press her hair bone straight, which allowed her to have healthier hair and conform to beauty standards in her corporate world.
She was one year into her law career when Donaldson was told by a former boss that she did not possess the necessary qualities to be successful. That moment propelled her into her next business venture, one that would change the rest of her life.
In 2009, Donaldson wrote her first book, Thank God I’m Natural, one subtitled the “ultimate guide for caring for and maintaining natural hair.” She traveled across the United States and South Africa educating women on how to properly treat their hair. With every trade show, church, library or bookstore that she attended, she was developing a following of people who were aware of TGIN and supported the product.
Two years after its 2013 launch, TGIN was on the shelves of Target stores nationwide.
While the brand’s sales were doubling and its demand increasing, Donaldson was undergoing treatment for stage two breast cancer. From this experience, she was inspired to create the TGIN Foundation, which supports uninsured women, highlights the impact of health disparities on survivor outcomes and stresses early cancer detection for women under the age of 40.
Her second book, This Is Only a Test: What Breast Cancer Taught Me About Faith, Love, Hair and Business, was released in 2019.
Although Donaldson passed away in November at age 42, her legacy lives on through the foundation and the brand. Find out more about TGIN’s products by visiting its website.
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