by Elle of Quest for the Perfect Curl
It’s no secret that the natural hair product business is booming due to the increase in women choosing their natural hair over relaxers. Even several companies that traditionally catered to relaxed and straight hair have come out with lines for natural hair. Countless ads featuring big, coily, curly and kinky hair displayed on buses, billboards and online encourage naturals to try out a company’s products in hopes that their hair will yield the same results.
However, I often find myself looking at these ads slightly confused. Why? Because the hair shown is too perfect and natural hair isn’t perfect. Our hair is beautiful and frizzy at the same time. But time and time again, we are shown images that imply that we should never have a curl out of place. Take this ad below for African Pride’s new texture manageability system for example:
It could be her hair, but it looks an awful lot like a wig. The hair is super shiny and perfectly coiffed. There’s no frizz and not a single stray curl poking out.
And then there’s Lottabody’s new Coconut & Shea Oils line – this is an ad for their Moisturize Me Curl & Style Milk:
Is this supposed to be their example of a wash and go? To me, it looks like a flexi-rod set. Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a flexi-rod set, but I find it interesting that this is their best example of curly hair.
There have also been accusations of companies using stock photo models or images taken from the internet to sell their natural hair products rather than models who have actually used the products. This gives consumers skewed expectations of their results. I recall the time Curls used my photo in a tip of the month on creating bantu knots with Cashmere Curls. Funny thing is, I never used that product. Some smaller indie companies that do not have marketing dollars also reuse stock photos and we’ve seen the same model on multiple sites. I understand not having the advertising money that big companies have, but they could reach out to customers for pictures using their products as examples.
But isn’t this all simply a common marketing strategy? It’s certainly not unheard of across the beauty industry (using false lashes in mascara commercials, photoshopping extreme shine in hair ads or using models with extensions, using celebrities as spokespeople for boxed hair dyes), but I do wish that companies would be a bit more sincere with their advertising.
Do you feel as if some natural hair ads are dishonest? Have you seen any suspect ads?
Elle is the owner and editor of Quest for the Perfect Curl, a collaborative YouTube channel and blog dedicated to promoting healthy hair through research and the sharing of information. A former product junkie, Elle promotes the importance of product ingredients, knowing your hair properties, and your climate when choosing what products to use on your natural hair. She also frequently explores healthy hair care practices and methods to achieve the “perfect curl,” which to her is big, healthy hair.