L’Oreal Releases A New Natural Hair Ad And Folks Are Mad. Is this SheaMoistureGate 2.0?

A few weeks ago SheaMoisture found themselves embroiled in some major online controversy. They released a short ad referencing “hair hate,” however the ad did not include women who have traditionally experienced the most hair hate in the world. Their ad, instead, featured a racially ambiguous woman with loose curls, and two white women. Watch the ad HERE.

While I don’t necessarily feel incited to boycott Sheamoisture (you can read why HERE),  I understand why folks are mad.

That being said, I recently came upon a new video, released by Marie Claire magazine on behalf of L’oreal.  Watch it for yourself here:

The model is gorgeous, and I’m inclined to believe that at some point she may have indeed disliked her hair. I’ve witnessed folks with some of the most enviable curls struggle to deal with the unpredictable nature of naturally curly stresses. So I get it. I do. The problem here is that both L’oreal and SheaMoisture used the expression “hair hate” to describe a personal dislike for one’s hair.

Hair hate, for the average black woman, is when you go to work or school and they tell you you will be punished for wearing your natural hair, or hair that reinforces one’s subsaharan african roots. For us, it’s really about how the outside world with their disdain for naturally kinky-textured hair treats those of us who just want to come as we are.

Ads like the one released by Marie Claire begs the question: who is this for? At least with the SheaMoisture ad we knew it wasn’t for us. This, God bless them, I think, was an attempt to appeal to Black women, and the average black woman ain’t trying to hear it.

See for yourself:

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While I don’t this think this ad quite qualifies as Sheamoisturegate 2.0 (L’oreal isn’t black-owned so we tend to giggle at their foolishness rather than become angry,) I do hope they and other haircare brands rethink their use of the expression “hair hate.”  I also think they need to work on being clear about whom they are targeting with their ads.

What say you? Sound off below!

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  1. I’m not mad at L’Oreal. They are not going after the African descent market. They are going after a specific hair type, curly haired people who want sulfate-free products that work for their hair. Yes, women with my hair type, 4C, receive the most hair hate. However, curly hair in general has always received hair hate. That is why society has blow out bars, flat irons, keratin treatments, Brazilian and Japanese straightening methods. These things target women with hair like the woman’s in the video and a little looser. You know, those Botticelli curl types. Before I went natural I used to hear white women cry and complain because of their frizzy unruly curls. They didn’t know what to do if they missed their blow out appointment. When they dared to wear their hair out free and curly, they would get salon suggestions. I totally do not believe that we own “hair hate”. We own natural hair because nobody collectively tried to use that until we did. But hair hate been around for curly heads, thin hair heads, red heads, and of course for us coily heads.

  2. Lisa, I can’t tell you how many big YouTube naturalistas were touting the fabulousness of this very line from L’Oreal — and they seemed to have tighter curls than this model! As it’s used being used by these companies, ‘Hair Hate’ was not and is not a part of the natural hair vernacular. I’ll have to check my natural hair Lexicon, but I don’t recall thatphrase. And, see, this is what happens when folks try to coin a phrase of an experience they feel safe from; it comes off awkward, ill-timed and fake! You can’t experience the glorious, indescribable freedom from oppression when you’ve never been oppressed! So when industry leaders recognize the revolution of natural hair, their response is to pivot and try to hold onto to their ever dwindling profits!

  3. That commercial was a joke. Her hair wasn’t curly but wavy. She insisted on using “my curls” to appeal to us who have curls. Also, I’ve never liked my hair straight. This commercial is assuming that all women with wavy and curly hair aspire to have straight hair. It’s crazy and offensive but this is business. I wish these companies would hire people of color to help them with their commercials.

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