Black Hair. White Hair. Biracial Hair. These terms seriously irk me. They are not real and they don’t exist. These terms focus on common stereotypes and lead the consumer to believe that they can only use products geared toward their skin color. The devil is a lie.
Hair is hair people. Now there are difference in texture, type, porosity, density and elasticity but that cannot simply be drawn among color lines. Black hair is said to be dry, tightly coiled, very dense and coarse in texture. However these properties are not exclusive to Black hair, nor does every Black person have these properties. White hair is said to be oily, straight, limp and fine. Likewise, these properties are not exclusive to White hair, nor does every White person have these properties.
Take a stroll in the beauty department in your local store. They have a section of beauty care products and a separate section for Blacks, leading to believe that the main section is for Whites. Moreover what if you are Asian, Latino, or Indian; you are just simply excluded. How stupid is this? Many in the industry agree with my observation including Miss Jessie’s founders Miko and Titi Branch who lobbied for Target to remove their products from the “Ethnic” hair section and place them with other salon products (see video here).
The fact is I know many naturals who have found that “White products” like Aubrey Organics, Garnier Fructis and Herbal Essence have worked great on their strands. Likewise many of my White friends have benefited from grabbing a deep conditioning treatment or a frizz fighter from the Ethnic section. I also know that chemical lye relaxers are not used exclusively by Blacks, but are also tools of mass relaxation used by Italians, Jews, basically any person looking for a permanent reversal of their curly hair.
So what can you do? First stop using these terms yourself. They are divisive and not helpful. Secondly, stop limiting yourself to only use products that are marketed toward you based on broad description. Instead look for products that are formulated with ingredients that meet your specific hair needs. Lastly, complain to your local store about the hair product segregation and tell them to correct it. Advise them that they should separate products based on type: natural/organic, professional grade, boutique brands, budget, etc.
Addendum: This is bigger than just hair products. Read this article by Pepper Miller concerning segregation in other sections of the beauty department including make-up. As she states, “Can a sista get an expresso lip pencil?’