When it comes to beauty, there’s never a dull moment. In the ever-changing industries of skin and hair care, millions of products are marketed to women, touting the latest and greatest products. When it comes beauty products, hair in particular, black women seem to hold the monopoly in purchased products, yet so little is still available to them in 2017.
According to ewg.org, an environmental working group, smaller shares of products with less harmful ingredients are marketed to black men and women, as opposed to the general public. Considering this news, you’d think one would be singing the praises of such brands as Shea Moisture, a company founded in 1912, renown for it’s high quality skin and hair care, offering products for African American people for years.
Things have now taken a new turn. Just recently, commercials have popped up featuring various non-black women and though the move to a multicultural brand is seemingly inclusive, many black women who have trusted the brand for years, now feel left out in the cold. Take a look at the latest commercials below:
Some of the blame in diluting the market, according to some, goes to Bain Capital Private Equity. Since Shea Moisture is a historically a black owned, products suited for natural and relaxed hair of African American have lined the shelves of Targest stores around the country, with it’s low price points and quality ingredients, creating a large fan base.
In 2015, Shea Moisture launched a thoughtful campaign targeting segregation in the beauty isles, which touched on the topic of “black” products being separated from all of the “beauty” products, which got an aisle of their own. The campaign led by ad agency, Droga5, claims that it had no part in the most recent commercials.
Since the controversy, beset by the commercial, the company has since then released a tweet, apologizing to their fans:
Wow, okay – so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up. Please know that our intention was not – and would never be – to disrespect our community, and as such, we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate. You guys know that we have always stood for inclusion in beauty and have always fought for our community and given them credit for not just building our business but for shifting the beauty landscape. So, the feedback we are seeing here brings to light a very important point. While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way. We are keenly aware of the journey that WOC face – and our work will continue to serve as the inspiration for work like the Perception Institute’s Good Hair Study/Implicit Association Test that suggests that a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their textured or natural hair. So, you’re right. We are different – and we should know better.
Thank you all, as always, for the honest and candid feedback. We hear you. We’re listening. We appreciate you. We count on you. And we’re always here for you. Thank you, #SheaFam, for being there for us, even when we make mistakes. Here’s to growing and building together…
More than the idea of multiculturalism taking over the brand, Shea Moisture seems to have forgotten its core audience. As some twitter and Facebook followers lament the pages with their grievances, others seem to offer alternatives. While many appear livid at the idea of a much beloved brand deserting them, Shea Moisture appears to have dug itself deep into an issue that puts the beauty of black women in the shadows.
Shea Moisture has always embrace those of various backgrounds and hair types. The ads, which sound off on “Break free from hair HATE” and embrace “LOVE” is a testament to the core of the brand. Beauty is diverse and differences are what makes this world so beautiful. However, ditching one thing for another seems to be having the opposite effect to what the brand is trying to represent, whatever that may be.
“While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way,” says the company.
Only time will tell.