Saturday’s Refinery29 article about How the Beauty Industry Has Failed Black Women rang true to me on a lot of levels. There are certain brands I won’t use (across all product categories) because for years they’ve failed to shelve foundation colors that match the skin tone of darker skinned women. With few exceptions, my makeup stash doesn’t contain any drug store beauty brands because the limited shelf space they allocate to products that compliment my skin tone are never fully stocked, often sitting with gaping holes, or still only carrying the lighter shades of the lines’ foundations.
One thing that I did get stuck on when reading the piece was Lisa Price’s (founder of Carol’s Daughter) quote, “The room for improvement is in breaking the cycle of thinking there needs to be a separate shopping section for people of color” in response to brands not wanting to be placed in the “ethnic” aisle. I 110% get the business behind brands wanting to be displayed with everyone else. Prominent displays, and end cap placements mean greater visibility to a wider audience, and greater exposure means more brand awareness and more revenue.
But when it comes to shopping for hair care products, I’m not so sure that this rings true for me. I like that I can make a beeline to the ethnic hair care aisle when I’m shopping at my local retailers. I know where I can grab my favorite deep conditioner without having to think about it. Recently I was in search of a product from a brand that has had primary residence on my shelf for the past year and a half. I stop in at a local retailer that carries the line, but this time I’m unable to find it. I wander up and down the aisle, eventually giving up and resigning that I’ll have to go to a different store. As I continued wandering through other , I stumble upon the deep conditioner with the “non-ethnic” hair care brands. Though happy to find it, I was left perplexed as to why this particular line lived here when the rest of the brand’s products lived elsewhere and asked myself, “What are they trying to say, without actually saying it?”
I’m not sure if my preference is a result of my shopping style–in and out, no time to waste, because I’m used to products for textured hair being set apart, or my feeling of “ownership” of brands/products.
How do you prefer to shop? Do you want your hair care products on the shelves with all the other brands? Or, do you prefer to shop the ethnic hair care aisle?