Is This a Thing? Biracial Singer, Halsey, Says She’s Tired of Hotels Only Providing “White Girl” Shampoo

In a series of tweets, Singer Halsey (who is biracial), ranted against hotel chains catering to the white majority by providing shampoo only suitable for straight hair.


When a follower asked, “why don’t you bring your own shampoo” The singer replied:

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Halsey pictured with her Dad at the Grammys

The singer also added,

“It’s about being made to feel unincluded. Which is, obviously, a far greater problem than shampoo…It’s not just hotels. I stayed in a psychiatric hospital as a teenager and they didn’t have hair products for any patients who were POC. It’s hard enough being in there as it is, but then ur gonna too feel ugly and dry n frizzy too? I’m bothered by the idea white people are cool to participate in a luxury/convenience but POC cannot. It’s not about the shampoo.”

This is a picture of Halsey’s natural hair texture:


Okay, ya’ll, when I first read these tweets I was like, “this ain’t a thing.” I have never in all my years gone to a hotel without my hair prepped. I rock weaves, braids, or my trusty twist-out. The only time I’ve ever washed my hair at a hotel was in the Caribbean, and what they provided did the job. Was it great? No. But the lotion was terrible, too. I was ashy, but my hair looked aight.  So real talk? This ain’t a thing for me, and it’s not a thing for most of the black women I know. Hell, I don’t even trust my black hair stylist to provide shampoo and conditioner to my liking. I bring my own. But I’m one person, so perhaps this is indeed an issue for frequent black travelers.

And I guess the point Halsey is making is that we shouldn’t have to bring our own. If non-POC don’t have to bring their own shampoo, why should we?  So she has a point in that regard. White folks’ products being the default or standard is an issue.  And even though I may feel that this isn’t a big deal, I will also admit that I  don’t travel much internationally, and when I do travel it’s only for a few days at a time, so I may not be informed enough to be able to fully assess if this is indeed “a thing.”

Hotels should, perhaps, keep a small stash of “curly hair” shampoo or co-wash conditioner at the front-desk available upon request. But I can tell you right now, if these hotels started having natural hair shampoos and conditioners in the rooms, I wouldn’t even use them, but I’d surely throw ’em in the bag!

For what it’s worth, Halsey admits that she “looks white,” but has suffered because of it especially when she’s exposed her bare breasts to white boys.

 I still have white boys in my life asking me why my nipples are brown,” she told Playboy Magazine “I look like a white girl, but I don’t feel like one. I’m a black woman.

In fairness,  she’s only 23, so perhaps with more time spent discussing issues that really adversely affect the majority of black women, she’ll be better equipt to speak up for us. Or maybe other black women do feel this is an issue? I dunno y’all, I’m all over the place with this one.  Real talk, I just kind of want her to come up with a better example than hotel shampoo, though.

Your turn, do you think this is a thing??!! Share your thoughts below!

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  1. I’m a kinky haired traveler and I can’t help but to snatch up all of those little shampoos, conditioners and lotions. Sometimes I don’t even use them, but I take them. I am more concerned with the hair that is always left in the bathtub in my hotel room after its been “cleaned”.

  2. Its def a thing!!! I dont travel too much but whenever i do its to somewhere hot. That being said why MUST i have my hair all fIgured out prior to my trip? On vaca i dont wanna be uptight and keep my hair from being wet in pool or ocean. But i gotta have a deep sinking feeling of WHAT to do with this hair once the deed is done. If products were catered to my curly hair maybe, just maybe, i could attempt a semi decent wash n go.

  3. Yes. This is a thing. And it REALLY is an important issue, because the availability of something as simple as hair care products send messages about spaces in which we are welcomed. Like ‘flesh tone’ pantyhose, bandaids, and underwear, companies make clear who they privilege as patrons – even though they gladly take our money. I travel often, and lament about the lack of Black hair care products in hotels (which in reality are better suited for all hair type). I need for Shea Moisture to get in the game on this one.

  4. I think she is just seeking attention. I bring my own but rarely do i have a need to wash my hair on vaca. We as actual black women dont even need to wash our hair everyday and the most im out the country or out of town is for a few days anyway

    1. Sis I swim and get my natural wet. I always run out of my 4oz travel allowance before the trip is over. It would be nice at at least have some type of conditioner I can rely on. Just saying ?

  5. There are way more important issues affecting people of color right now than shampoo. Use your celebrity to bring attention to those issues then maybe I’ll care about shampoo.

  6. This sounds a tad bit ridiculous to me. I think that she could make it work with the texture of her hair. If the shampoo doesn’t provide the “Salon Quality” results she is looking for maybe consider rocking a bun for a day or two?? Just a thought, I dunno, maybe I’m being judgmental…

  7. YES, it is a thing. Anyone who is an experienced traveler knows that the restrictions on luggage is getting tighter and tighter. I, as a black woman, need to pack any products I may need when I travel because it may not be available where I am going. I have trouble finding products in the US much less outside. Next time your in the airport, take a look around when you are waiting on line at security. What do white people have in their liquids bag? Most of them don’ have one at all.

  8. Is she a black woman? oh c’mon ,,no one will believe…she is a 100% white woman..i mean if you look at him physically

  9. This is 100% an issue. I’m a seasoned traveler who is abroad for 2-4 weeks at a time, at least twice a year. I would need to pack, and pay to check, an extra tote bag of only hair products to maintain my natural hair routine. Not salon quality, just my twice a week wash ‘n go. The alternative, struggling to translate ingredient names so can buy full-sized equivalents in multiple foreign countries because I must dispose of them before boarding the next plane. Between hair and skin care, the lack of products creates an undue burden for POC.

  10. Totally not a thing. I bring my own toiletries because I have my own preferences for everything. Non-fluoride toothpaste, black soap, butters and oils to moisture. I don’t want ANY of the toiletries they provide at a hotel, especially not shampoo….and I don’t expect they would provide it for me.

  11. Definitely a problem, I travel with family a few times a year. We tend to swim a lot but I hate getting braids bc they take forever to dry & for my daughter & youngest son’s hair after day 2 at the pool or beach it needs a wash. I tried to buy snaller sizes to pack but the airport tosses them & every city doesn’t carry my products or the closest beauty supply is a hour+ away. It would be nice to have a good cowash available. But even the soaps & lotions aren’t good for our skin. Its all water based

  12. This is ABSOLUTELY a problem! I do not wear braids or weaves and I’m natural. My wash and go styles only last a max of 3 days. I have to use a TON of conditioner and product to style. I don’t want to have to always pack products in my checked luggage only to have TSA dump half a bottle of the expensive product out to “inspect it.” Then there are times I’m not checking a bag, well I can’t even bring the amount of conditioner and styling products I need because it’s agaisnt travel regulations. So, I’ve tried hotel shampoo and conditioner and my hair felt like rubber. They are for white people with super oily hair. If you have naps, kinks, curls or waves, forget it. It would be great if they diversified their selection! This is SUCH A THING! I’m glad she said something!

  13. This is definitely an issue. More than the shampoo is the issue of the conditioner. Even when I’ve stayed at high end hotels that stock luxury products, the conditioner is rarely suitable. In addition, have you noticed hotels stock hair dryers, but they never stock a curling iron? I’m not saying they need to have grease and edge control, but an option for POC would be nice. In fact, as someone mentioned, why not make it the default bc all hair types could use it. No, we don’t have to wash our hair everyday, but when you are at hotel you may want to swim. And if you are at a resort, then you definitely want to go to the beach. It sucks worrying about whether my conditioner is going to explode during the trip. Even though I pack it in a ziplock, it’s definitely gotten too hot during travel or the bag gets tossed around and smashed. And you know you can’t carry it on. So then you have to find smaller containers to transport your products … too much! But, yeah, this is DEFINITELY a first world problem.

  14. This is a big issue for me. I travel all the time for work. If I need to wash my hair I have to bring my own or find a supermarket. Some hotels only have shampoo, others shampoo body wash combo, some shampoo and conditioner combo. But the shampoos are usually harsh and drying. Very few hot we lk s have good conditioners. The reality is the average business travel is white and male. The cater for the average.

  15. Yes. It’s a thing. I travel for a living and the majority of hotels I frequent have products that are underwhelming for my hair.

  16. Bring your own! I recently travelled to the DR and I was fooled by seeing many black faces so i used the shampoo in the resort and sure enough my hair was so dry after using it I had to get back in the shower and use my own shampoo that I brought just to save my hair from catastrophe. It is an issue, but it’s not! Because I dont really expect the hotel and resort industry to cater to my hair type I just dont although it would be nice if they did.

  17. I completely understand her and agree. It’s a pet peeve of mine that we as black people like to determine a person’s blackness based on their skin tone or mixture. We have no right to do that. This only causes more division and colorism.

  18. INDEED! I needed to wash sand out of my hair, and was horrified when I realized I’d forgotten my hair products.
    It goes way deeper. These every day exclusive innuendos are a nuisance and send messages that damage the psyche.

  19. It is an issue. Albeit it’s not critical, but the need for inclusion is very real. You pay for those toiletries, they could provide those that benefit every traveler or cut costs and eliminate the products. On week long trips involving flights, bags have to be checked if I bring hair care products for my mixed hair texture family – especially if we swim or workout or brave elements outdoors.

  20. I’m late to this conversation, but let me add a point as a caucasian – those hotel shampoos are good for no ones hair! I have very dry, brittle hair and it feels like wire if I use those hotel shampoos. I imagine if i were a person of colour, the result would be just as bad.
    So i wonder at the end of the day, if hotel shampoos actually cater to any type of hair really. Maybe super shiny, slick oily hair??
    I’m not saying this to be contentious, just to be truthful. Hotel shampoo doesn’t really cater to anyone, as you will know if you ever use it!

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