Hair Care Brands Switch Marketing Tactics To Survive Natural Hair Movement

June 18, 2013  |  

TV, magazine, and billboard advertisements add up to millions of dollars, but sending over free samples for vloggers to give rave reviews cut huge costs in advertising dollars for Black hair corporations. Realizing that these companies are taking advantage of YouTube vloggers for free advertising, bushy-haired beauty Taren Guy wasn’t having it.

“When your numbers grow and your value grows, there has to be some kind of point where the free products for free reviews stop,” Guy said, “a conversation should start happening for compensation.” In a passionate YouTube rant titled “The Ugly Truth About Youtube & Business“, Guy continued to add that YouTube vloggers have become more powerful than the commercial and billboard slots because of their engagement and how they relate to their viewers.

“You didn’t see commercials on YouTube a couple years ago. They’re noticing the power of Web presence,” she says. They waste obscene amounts of marketing dollars on less-effective commercials, but don’t want to pay YouTube hair gurus–with a niche audience–who rake in more sales.

Some of the products featured on YouTube, such as the “Q-Redew” that NikkiMae2003 recently reviewed, are not even worth the buck. It’s priced at $70 and the fancy-looking gadget is used to simply moisturize one’s hair. A spray bottle filled with water can do that for a dollar. While many have moved away from perms and weaves to escape the expense, many naturals find themselves walking right back into a money-eating industry.

Miss Jessie’s and Carol’s Daughter, two hugely popular natural brands, didn’t need TV spots to become profitable. Countless reviews on YouTube took their fame to new heights even though Miss Jessie’s Buttercream (16oz) and Carol’s Daughter Macadamia Hold (2.2oz) retail for a painful $60 and $22, respectively. Yikes!

Web presence is taking marketing precedence for African-American women because we have become more selective over the years. With YouTube videos and hair forums informing us about ingredients to avoid putting in our hair, natural hair women are more conscious about what they buy.

A magazine ad declaring a product’s awesomeness just isn’t enough anymore. We now take to the Internet to Google product reviews to make enlightened decisions about buying new hair care products. We want to know who has tried it and if it was effective. Does it smell good? Is it moisturizing? Does it have good hold for styling our hair? Does it contain harmful substances? These are some of the many questions that vague TV commercials and magazine ads cannot answer.

We are ultimately changing the face of advertising and forcing them to meet our demands that we present on blogs, social media, and YouTube. Our forums are filled with talks of the benefits of coconut oil, Shea butter, and Argan oil and other earthy ingredients. Hearing our cries, countless hair companies have implemented these oils and butters into their recipes, in turn, we’re buying into their products.

As U.S. Census director Dr. Robert Grabes said in last year’s Black Consumer Report, “The delivering of a message about a product…is best done when the advertiser understands the lens through which a consumer is viewing the culture they’re in.”

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  • 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!

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  • 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.