SheaMoisture: Break the Walls

10 years ago, I went natural.

I decided I was sick of having to get up early on Saturday mornings for hair appointments and sitting for hours for a style that lasted only a couple of weeks.

I also wanted to give my hair a break from chemicals.

Sometimes I wear braids or curly wigs when I want a fuller/longer look, but I keep my own hair happily kinky.

Like most black women, I went through a ton of products after going natural. Eventually, I started using SheaMoisture. The products are pricey, but have been great for my hair.

Recently, the company aired the commercial “SheaMoisture: Break the Wall.” I had to laugh when I saw it, because the commercial looks at what black women often talk about..our small “corner” of hair products in stores.

Some folks have found the ad patronizing. Poor black women have to go to the ethic aisle, as if there is something wrong with that. And/or think it’s just a way to attract mainstream (white women’s) dollars. White women won’t feel “scared” to go to the ethnic aisle if the products are in the regular “beauty” aisle.

What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “SheaMoisture: Break the Walls

  1. This is so perfectly timed. I was JUST in Wegman’s today, went to my little “Multicultural” corner (ew) to look at the Shea Moisture. My locs have decided to rebel against my usual Allafia products (the dry air isn’t helping), and the line is on sale. Here is this white woman taking up the whole section, basket just blockin’ the whole aisle and everything, looking at all of the products. I couldn’t tell you if her hair was curly… she was more interested in the price.

    “Do you use this stuff!?” She asked me excitedly. “I just love the price!”

    “I do…” I said. Then picked up the leave-in conditioner. I kept it moving. I don’t know if she put anything in her basket.

    It’s just such a privilege, you know? The “Professional” section, the “Salon” section, the “Regular” section… they get to pick from all of it. Rarely even have to think about it. She wouldn’t even have looked at “our” stuff if it wasn’t for the sale sticker. She’ll take it home, put it in her hair, maybe it will work, maybe it won’t (I suspect she will say it feels too heavy or greasy in her hair). Meanwhile, shampoo/conditioner shopping is always a fun adventure to see what is available (and if the price is ridiculous).

    I don’t think the ad is patronizing. It’s empowering, I think, and asks the right questions. “Am I feeling beautiful or am I feeling ethnic today? Is ethnic not beautiful?” I like how they put it out there like that.

    Here is what I’m worried about: that white women “discover” Shea Moisture and then it goes the way of Carol’s Daughter–deciding to appeal to “all women” with curly hair rather than sticking with we women of color with particular struggles and have given our money to this particular brand for very particular reasons. Suddenly, the formulas change, the message changes. We aren’t the primary target anymore, our money isn’t good enough… even though it’s our money that built the brand. Luckily, at least for now, it doesn’t look like that’s how it’s going down. Time will tell, though.

  2. I truly love this article. I hope they do not change their message as well. Their products are amazing and it will be hurtful if they change up on us . Thank you for writing this.

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