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Dianne Austin
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Dianne Austin

Dianne is the co-founder of Natural Haircare News and Coils To Locs.com. She's been blogging about natural hair ever since she made the decision to break free of the creamy crack in 2012.
Dianne Austin
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The Quest for the Perfect Curl?

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:

  • Anti-shrinkage
  • 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.

Comment on this articleChanging 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. Not sure of which products are right for your hair type? Visit our solution oriented natural hair products store.

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3 Responses to The Quest for the Perfect Curl?

  1. Wynne Shaddock-Andrews says:

    I love my natural hair and I embrace it, but I like so many others have spent too much on products too obtain a better look. I still haven’t figured out what that look is. My products sit unused and me unsatisfied with them. I truly believe that companies are cashing in on the thought “Frizz Free Hair” and I must admit I have bought into that just a bit. I am often overwhelmed by the many products to choose from and what will work to achieve my goal. My goal is to have some softness, luster and shine, which seems to be at this point unobtainable since my hair is so dry. I could go on and on about what I have used and what others have suggested. I would love to know what those simple kitchen oils are and maybe I can finally satisfied.

    • Dianne says:

      Thanks for sharing your journey. I definitely resonates with me.

      In regards to dry hair, I find that products that work for others don’t always work for me. In terms of moisture, I find that if I condition my hair with coconut oil before I wash it, add a leave in and then some type of cream like As I Am Twist Defining Cream, my hair is really moist. You do need to moisturize almost daily though.

  2. 9etherbeauty says:

    I so agree with this article. There are so many people going natural and that’s awesome, but the scary question is …. Are they truly embracing the lost part of themselves? As a natural hair care professional, I get so many woman who are product junkies. Spending outrageous amounts of money for the promise of a”mixed chicks” texture. Not knowing that they can achieve the same look but better because of that tight kingly coil. It has so much versatility. Products smoducts… You can use simple oils from your kitchen and have beautiful shiny soft, thick, and long flowing natural hair.. It’s all in the mindset of knowing what to do. We have to be re-educated on how to take care of our own hair since we are so unfamiliar.

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