Hair Care Brands Switch Marketing Tactics To Survive Natural Hair Movement

June 18, 2013  |  

Esperanza Spalding arriving at the Grammys. Credit: Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com

“For years we’ve trusted Dark and Lovely [relaxers] to give us just the look we want,” says a soul-soaked voice in a 1992 commercial, “soft, easy-to-manage hair.”

Fast-forward to 2013 and today’s latest Dark and Lovely TV commercial encourages women to embrace their own chemically unaltered hair instead. A brown-skinned model struts around and flaunts her coily-textured hair: “Get unstoppable curls that defy shrinkage,” the ad boasts.

The drastic shift in television advertising is a reflection of current African-American ideals on hair. The Black hair industry has completely reshaped their marketing techniques amidst the natural hair craze. Between 2006 and 2011, relaxer kit sales dropped 17 percent. Afros are taking the world by storm — and it’s scaring these million-dollar hair corporations whose cash flow depend on black women slapping chemicals onto their kinks.

More women are ignoring television ads and are now engrossed in YouTube, blogs, and other social media outlets that cater to their natural hair needs. As of 2011, there were 23.9 million active African American Internet users; a substantial 76 percent visited a social networking/blog site. These online outlets provided Black women with an opportunity to create dialogue about which products are complete crap and which products are crowned as awesome. Meanwhile, hair corporations are eavesdropping on the conversation to figure out how to re-appeal to Black women.

All over the Internet, there is a slew of women online craving to know how to define their curls and reduce shrinkage. Many natural women enviously drool at YouTube hair gurus wondering why their mane doesn’t “act” the same. These are the women that hair corporations are targeting. Their insecurities make them particularly vulnerable to falling hook-line-and-sinker into overspending on hair care goodies. Phrases like “anti-shrinkage” and “curl-defining” appear on Dark and Lovely advertising, along with loose-curled models, to prey on hair-insecure natural women.

Noticing that viewers are super-curious about the products used by YouTube hair celebrities such as Jouelzy, CharyJay, and NikkiMae2003, hair brands started shipping free products to natural hair vloggers to heighten their visibility among the starry-eyed African American YouTube viewers.

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Pingback: Chunky Twist Out- My Go-To Style | Marsha Willis Living()

  • Andrea

    I don’t want to watch paid reviews. Might as well watch a commercial. Also Carol’s Daughter advertises all over that shopping channel.

  • heidi

    Hello. I am the co-founder of the Q-Redew referenced in the above post. I would love the opportunity to talk with you further about the Q-Redew and social media marketing. You can reach me at heidi@qredew.com. Thank you!

    • OHR

      I am a bit put off by the editorializing the author has done with
      this article. Ms. Gedeon, have you tried the Q-Redew? I am asking
      honestly and respectfully. I’ve been to the Q-Redew website and have
      been intrigued by the benefits the co-founder has given regarding her
      product. Smart consumers do their research.

      I have been natural (again) for the last 5 years. I lost all of my hair due
      to chemo and basically have a new head hair. I’ve spent many hours
      online doing research on hair care ingredients, pricing, and
      availability. Many of the products I use today are mid-priced and free
      from ingredients that my hair doesn’t like.

      OHR

      • MNAuthorKim

        Editorialize? My dear…this is an essay—an opinion piece. And as the author of this essay, I stand by my opinion that $70 is too pricey for its function.

        And you are, of course, free to disagree with me. Thank you for your comment.

    • OHR

      I am a bit put off by the editorializing the author has done with
      this article. Ms. Gedeon, have you tried the Q-Redew? I am asking
      honestly and respectfully. I’ve been to the Q-Redew website and have
      been intrigued by the benefits the co-founder has given regarding her
      product. Smart consumers do their research.

      I have been natural (again) for the last 5 years. I lost all of my hair due
      to chemo and basically have a new head hair. I’ve spent many hours
      online doing research on hair care ingredients, pricing, and
      availability. Many of the products I use today are mid-priced and free
      from ingredients that my hair doesn’t like.

      OHR

  • NJ2

    Not to push a product but I always try to support young black girls doing positive things. I just bought Leanne’s hair products and it has tamed and moisturized like none other. Look her up!

    • NotToSure

      I was going to buy her hair products when I heard about her (i love supporting Black business). But like the article says, before I buy products, I love to read reviews on what people think of the product. And there’s absolutely nothing online talking about Leanne’s Hair products. The only thing i DO see are people talking about how they’ve been scammed. they would order her products and not receive anything. Not a risk I’m willing to take!

  • Pingback: The Natural Hair Movement Sucks for The Hair Care Industry - CurlTalk()

  • SoKali

    No thank you. A lot of times the products the corporations make for us aren’t even good for us. I’ll just stick with my olive oil, henna, and shea.

  • Nikia D-Shiznit

    I don’t even use commercial products for my hair. Those companies won’t get any of my money. First they wanted to get black women to straighten thier hair, without an ounce of consideration for those who choose the natural route. Then they wanted to cater to people with mixed ethnic backgrounds, then when they saw the natural movement, people like me weren’t an afterthought anymore. Sorry, still won’t deal with them. What I choose to use for my hair works way better than any commercial product on store shelves.

    • Bianca

      You better f–kn say it!

    • NotTakingMyCashEither

      Seriously. No need to be hoodwinked into buying crap from hair corporations who didnt give a crap about our hair before.

  • Janay

    Black women need to utilize this natural hair wave as opportunity to take the wealth of the hair industry from Asia and put it back in our pockets.