Rebecca Allen Swears By These Wash Day Essentials

Rebecca Allen is currently rocking her defined, natural curls, but the entrepreneur and founder of her eponymous shoe line has gone back and forth on the decision. She first went natural in her early 20s while studying abroad, before letting her hair grow out and then eventually chopping it all off into a shorter ’fro. When she pursued her MBA and entered her job in finance at Goldman Sachs, she was concerned that her hair would speak for her.

“I didn’t want my hair to be a thing,” Allen tells Glamour. “I knew the perception was that it kind of has its own identity. It just wasn’t worth having to deal with that, frankly. That was a choice I made. Honestly, sometimes having a relaxer and just being able to easily pull it back in a ponytail or go and get it blown out is very easy, right?”

Allen wore her hair relaxed into her mid-30s, when she became pregnant with her daughter, Barbara. During her pregnancy she became more conscious of what chemicals she put on and in her body, so she let her hair grow out once more. Raising her toddler didn’t leave much room for treatment beyond the occasional trim, so Allen saw her first curl specialist in September of 2020. The modern shift in the perception of natural hair helped give her confidence to rock her curls.

“When I went natural in my 20s, I did very much feel like the perception was almost militant,” Allen says. “That was in the early 2000s. I think it’s interesting to see just how much of a shift there’s been in that 10 to 15 years or so. Now it certainly doesn’t feel the same way that it did back then.”

Another concern for women of color in the workplace led to the development of her footwear line: Rebecca Allen Shoes. As a vice president at Goldman Sachs, Allen was wearing business formal to work every day—and not having a proper nude shoe was absurd.

“The nude shoe was this kind of classic pump that totally eluded me, because it was just made for white ladies,” Allen says. “It looked ridiculous on me, but it was literally an indispensable wardrobe component. This was the shoe that lived under everybody’s desk, because it went with everything in your closet.”

Noticing a void in how footwear brands marketed to women of color, Allen set out to create timeless styles in a set of nude shades: the new pump, the skim (a flat), and their top seller, the two-strap heel. With these shoes, Allen wants to give her customers a sophisticated silhouette at an approachable price point, achieving attainable luxury.

Between taking care of Barbara, who’s now two (and a half!) years old, and providing attainable luxury to her customers, Allen is way too busy to spend forever on her hair.

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