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Women’s Lifestyle Brand Hijacks “Natural Hair” Term, But Misses The Mark With Bland Cast

Women’s lifestyle and fashion brand POPSUGAR recently published a story about embracing chemical-free and natural hair for the summer. Considering the media’s underrepresentation of black and brown faces in the beauty realm, this seemed like an amazing feature idea—but PS missed the mark. Unfortunately, the publication excluded a margin of its POC readers by catering to only one texture of hair (read: tried it).

The article, titled “These 3 Women Are Making a Serious Case For Not Processing Their Hair,” includes testimonies by an intern, a photo producer and account manager, all of whom are lily-white. While each woman supposedly represents a different hair type – frizzy, thick and “textured” – the story fails to incorporate women color. The term “natural hair” has primarily been embraced by women of African descent/diaspora who usually have coarse and/or curly hair. This article seems to take the same phrase, but offers a watered down version that suits its narrative.

READ: PopLife Podcast Discuss Shea Moisture’s Controversial Ad

Many upset critics vented on Twitter, accusing POPSUGAR of whitewashing and asking the question: “where are the black people at?”

“That term has been used specifically for women of color because wearing natural hair is a sense of pride. Due to constant ridicule,” one person tweeted. “This is a joke right?” one person asked. Many others pointed out the publication’s history of publishing problematic stories, namely its Dec. 2016 story about Asian models being excluded from the natural hair movement.

READ: Latinxs Talk Embracing Their Natural Hair Amid “Pelo Malo” Stigma

POPSUGAR isn’t the only brand to catch fire for its take on natural hair. Shea Moisture also lost customers after it shared a video featuring very little hair diversity as apart of its #EverybodyGetsLove campaign. Hopefully, the Internet backlash is enough to help brands understand that embracing natural means including POCs.

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