The Quest for the Perfect Curl?
Latest posts by Dianne Austin (see all)
I recently came across the article, “Do Natural Hair Brands Profit Off the Obsession of the Looser Curl“. It’s a topic that you’ll find all over natural hair cyberspace.
The article focuses on the marketing of mainstream hair products that are specially formulated for natural hair. The message: how to get “smoother”, “looser”, “defined”, hair.
I looked at the myriad of natural hair products on my shelf – I’m a product junkie – and found the following marketing trigger words:
- Curl defining
- Transform frizzy fros to curly cues
- Reduces frizz
I’ll admit, the reason I purchased these products is because I wanted to be the beneficiary of all of the promises printed on every bottle and jar that I purchased. But what I don’t agree with is the premise that most black women have an obsession to achieve a looser curl.
Naturals want frizz free hair, (most women do). Naturals are interested in managing tangles and adding shine. And yes, some black women are spending inordinate amounts of time on their hair to achieve a certain look. Some are looking for the looser curl. But sometimes I wonder if we read too much into it all. What are your thoughts?
Originally posted on Clutch Magazine Online:
Tracee Ellis Ross recently made a plea for natural women to love their hair, no matter the texture. Though her loose curl pattern has been idealized by many in the natural community, she asks for women to embrace their coils and kinks and not try to emulate a different texture.
However noble, her call to action is antithetical to the message many natural hair brands put out there. Most companies sell their curl defining creme, pomade, leave-in conditioner and gel with the promise of transforming tight coils to loose, long curls.
Miss Jessie’s actually promoted the slogan “turning kinks into curls,” and still markets one of their best-selling products as a miracle worker that “transforms shrunken kinks to super shiny stretched out curls.”
Some of these same companies regularly cast natural hair models with afros that resemble Tracee Ellis Ross’ hair: loose, defined and curly, as opposed to kinky. After her role as spokesperson for Carol’s Daughter came to an end, Solange Knowles gave this weighted statement: “I was constantly fighting for the right message to be heard. The message that the way we wear our hair is a personal choice, there’s no right or wrong way.”
Companies greatly benefit from pushing a “right way” to look, whether the idealized beauty standard is thinness, pale skin, blonde hair, straight hair or loose curls. If they promote the message that one look is favorable, women will spend billions trying to transform their appearance to fit that standard.
It’s a strategy that has pushed the beauty industry forward for years, and some natural hair brands are cashing in on it by promoting curlism. Tracee Ellis Ross’ wish has a much better chance of coming to fruition if various leaders in the natural hair community — from product companies to celebrities like herself — embrace various textures rather than putting one on a pedestal and telling women to shop to attain it.
|“Changing attitudes about natural hair” is what we do at Natural Haircare News. Through informative articles, podcasts and videos, we go beyond just sharing the latest advice and tips on kinky, curly, wavy haircare – We shake things up and focus on the realities of wearing our hair natural.|
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