Momentum of the ‘natural hair movement’ just keeps growing; forcing hair & beauty companies to take note! Some have responded by creating new products catering for black hair and the movement has also inspired entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.
Hair is obviously a big deal, financially and emotionally.
Most of reported evidence comes from across the pond in the USA, where the natural movement has really taken hold and filtered across various parts of the world, especially Europe. There are various websites, like the one recommended to me, black girl with long hair, with anecdotal stories of women who have/are attempting to embrace their natural hair. Some people say “it’s just hair, what’s the big deal?” But it’s more than just hair and discussions/debates about natural hair will not be receding any time soon. What we see sprouting from our scalps is said to be ‘dead’; it has no biochemical activity. Over the centuries hair has been an important part of the beauty equation and its psychological impact is profound. It’s evident the ‘natural hair movement’ is not just another trend. Many people alter their natural hair to fit in with the images we see all around us and a desire to be accepted/‘presentable’.
There have been various documentaries (e.g. Good Hair, by Chris Rock) about the damage chemical relaxers cause, which left me thinking, why do we do it to ourselves and feel like wearing our natural is not a viable option? The hair debate shouldn’t be turned into a battle between the ‘naturals’ and the ‘relaxers’, because that misses the point completely! I relaxed my hair when I was at college and some of my friends still do; the real lesson is about understanding your hair without disliking its natural texture. Is natural the new ‘normal’ in black hair care?
Apparently in the US:
- Hair relaxer / perm sales account for just 21% of Black hair care sector
- Declined 26% – $206 million in 2008 to $152 million in 2013
Mintel (September 2013) – leading market intelligence agency
Hair is BIG money and many companies such as L’Oreal; Dark & Lovely are responding by creating hair care lines targeted at women with Afro/curly hair.
The latest brand to jump into the mix is Dove.
Unlike most beauty brands who focus on the exterior, Dove is attracting customers on an emotional level, it’s mission statement and latest campaign, ‘Love your curls’, does just that.
“At Dove, our vision is of a world where beauty is a source of confidence, and not anxiety. So, we are on a mission to help the next generation of women develop a positive relationship with the way they look – helping them raise their self-esteem and realise their full potential.” – Dove UK
Dove US latest hair campaign video: #LoveYourCurls
It’s sad that children as young as 6 years old are insecure about their natural hair, but they don’t see images of Afro/curly hair in their own families as well as in society they will be programmed to attach negative connotations with their own natural hair. I’ve heard anecdotes from black women who say, they don’t know what their natural hair looks like because it was permed/relaxed from when they were young children….and the cycle usually continues.
Hair isn’t ‘just hair’ – its roots run deep into our emotional consciousness, that’s why natural Afro/curly hair becomes headline news. The Dove campaign lead to the birth of the hash tag #CurlPower, encouraging women of ALL races to put down those expensive GHDs/flat irons/straighteners and rock those curls all day long!
An ideal world embrace and celebrate different hair textures as an exhibition of what IS normal, beautiful and acceptable. Even though the end goal is to sell a product (were are a capitalist scoiety), the Dove campaign is a step in the right direction. One of the biggest natural hair events in the UK, takes place on 23rd May 2015…Let the ‘Curlvolution‘ keep on growing!
Always from a colourful perspective
All photos from Google Images.