Skip to main content

Why I’m Not Feeling Dove’s “Love Your Curls” Campaign

• Mar 17, 2015

When Dove first released their “Love Your Curls” video, it quickly went viral. I watched the video and was excited to see an ad that focused on accepting curls and wearing your natural curl pattern — and I can’t lie, I may have teared up a bit. But the skeptic in me was a little confused — why would Dove release this video? I mean, at the end of the day, they sell beauty products and most brands won’t release a video without it being tied to sales. Sure enough, maybe a week later, I started seeing ads for Dove’s new Quench Absolute line, which targets curly hair. Although I expected it, this kind of muddied the meaning of the video for me. While I appreciate “love yourself” campaigns, we wouldn’t really be in search of beauty products if we were all perfect just the way we are.


Random side note: I’d love to know the source of their statistics in the video. But anywho…

Furthermore, I looked up the new Quench Absolute products on the web and the ingredients are nothing special or anything I’d write home about. The line includes silicones, paraffin and fragrance high on the list. Also, their tagline touts the claim, “4x more defined, natural curls.” Wait a second — I thought we were supposed to love our curls just the way they are? Guess not.

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 1.54.16 PM

I posed the question to my viewers on Facebook, reiterating the fact that at the end of the day, these brands are about making money and their attempts to tug at our heart strings are nothing more than a marketing strategy. In the thread, someone brought up a very good point — they agreed with the marketing strategy, but pointed out that these types of commercials and videos are valuable to increase the self esteem in young girls, not necessarily adults. After all, most children aren’t concerned with marketing strategies and business tactics — all they see is little girls in a video loving their curly hair, the same hair that they have, and that’s wonderful.

But at the same time, I wonder if we place too much responsibility on the beauty industry (an industry that thrives on women’s insecurities) for increasing the self esteem of women and especially children. Do we need these types of marketing tactics when we could be the ones setting an example, letting children know how beautiful they are whilst embracing all types of beauty? If the conversation was already happening, we wouldn’t need masked ads to fuel it. While I don’t fault companies for using these types of strategies, because they are very effective, it seems a little disingenuous to me. Then again, when you see constant natural hair bashing on TV and in the media, we need something to counter the negativity towards natural and curly hair.

Ultimately, instead of waiting for the next brand to hop on the emotional bandwagon, I encourage you all to have your own conversations about beauty and self esteem with your children and friends. That way, we won’t need to depend on the beauty industry or media to do it for us.

Do you talk to your children about self esteem? What do you think of marketing strategies that appeal to your emotions?

Leave a Reply

30 Comments on "Why I’m Not Feeling Dove’s “Love Your Curls” Campaign"

Notify of
I agree with the facebook comment and I add this… I don’t believe that Dove and Special K is trying to sell their products any more. I believe that the meer fact that they are talking about self esteem of women, both young and old, have people looking into their products. There is a heavy reliance on the media for our defintion of beauty and unfortunately, there are those ot there who need to see that it is okay to except natural beauty. With our celebrities straightening their hair and loosing weight, it tells me that the way I look… Read more »

Ironically Dove ad’s always feature ‘attractive-flawed’ people. You’ll notice that their allegedly diverse groups only feature tanned, attractive and not too out-there differences. It’s still not real women. Which is pretty ironic.

R Says

I think we already know the answer to this one…

Eh. But the beauty industry as a whole is active in tearing down self esteem. A lot of products they sell us are based on the idea that we are lacking without them. I’m thinking of everything from skin bleaches to lipsticks. Part of the sell is “you will be happier/better/more loveable with XX product in your life.” But I don’t disagree with this article. I think as a whole, we should not be letting products and ads build us up nor tear us down. Especially as these companies are throwing both messages at us. Sure Dove wants us to… Read more »
No. I wouldn’t blame them. I would appreciate it if product companies didn’t over exaggerate, but it’s called SELF ESTEEM for a reason. With all these trolls out there in the world wanting to be mean and hateful behind a screen name it’s important that you see the value and beauty in yourself. Products can’t do that for you, that is something that is within yourself. When you do find your own worth NO ONE can take that away from you. And trust and believe there are those miserable ones that will try. I hardly where make up and I’m… Read more »

Should we look to others to validate ourselves … including our beauty?


No, but we do. Especially women — We’re wired that way, and prompted & urged by media propaganda to do so too.

I don’t use Dove products, so the tug on my pursestrings doesn’t register; but this is now the second commercial of theirs that I’ve seen that seriously tugged on my heartstrings. I flat-out LOVE this one! I even find myself singing the little ditty that voices the message around which the ad revolves, and I smile, bob my head, and dance as I sing it, too! Would my daughter, if she existed, need a commercial to tell her that her curls are “perfect this way”? No, that’d be my job, and trust me, I’d do it very well. But—and especially… Read more »

I love the sentiment of Dove, but not the mineral oil that’s in most of their stuff 🙂


love the commercials. walk right on by the hair products—not even a consideration. I am an ingredient snob. Dove does not meet the standard. I do use their body and facial soaps 🙂


So dove is okay for your body and face but not your hair?


Exactly! Well said. Someone’s missing a trick there.


It’s not their job and teaching love and self-acceptance should always start from home, but let’s face it: it’s really awesome to feel represented and appreciated in the media/beauty-industry.

No little girl should depend on the beauty industry for validation of her features, but it’s still a wonderful feeling being able to look in a magazine or on TV and look at a model and say, “Hey! Her hair is just like mine! Hey look! A girl who looks like ME is being called beautiful!” Even if it’s never the norm, it’s always appreciated.


They are a multi-ZILLION dollar machine with endless resources who have been parked in our collective subconscious for eons. Let’s stop pretending as if it’s simply countered by ‘Eat.Pray.Love.’.

And for anyone who actually believes that, or that they exemplify it or that it’s so EASY to attain, tell me:

why did you buy your car? Or that TV? Or those shoes? Or root for that sports team? Or eat that particular cheese? Or choose that career? Or vote for that senator?

Because there’s a well-paid team conducting the marketing campaign behind each and every one.

Ms. Vee

My real issue is the OWNERSHIP behind the beauty industry. At the end of the day we can’t expect owners that look nothing like us to be responsible for catering to our esteem and validation. If money is not involved then giving us 5 minutes of shine doesn’t support their interests. Yes it is wonderful for our black children to open up magazines etc and see positive reflections of themselves. But to expect outsiders to do it on a consistent basis is a pipe dream.

Btw isn’t dove the same company that has skin lightening products sold abroad?? Hmmm.


Says the company that markets skin-whitening products only a globe yonder. The issue with Dove is that at the end of the day, is that your insecurities are what are generating them billions of dollars every year.

Like one commenter remarked, I don’t except them to teach girls about self-acceptance and self-confidence, but to see them throw about empty words, flinging painful statistics and hopping on this “black is beautiful” bandwagon, it’s disgusting.

Carlyssa Pierre

I personally don’t have an issue with marketing strategies that appeal to emotions, but then again; I’m an Advertising major so, my option is probably bias. I don’t think the campaign was done maliciously. It’s cute. I won’t be buying the products, but there will be people who see the ads and do. Be it out of curiosity or because they truly believe in the cause. At the end of the day products will be sold and that is the over all goal of the company.

Sydney Shea Jacobs

I don’t really use Dove like that…not even their soap bars, really. So this didn’t really bother me. The commercial was cute. I make my own products so I don’t really use theirs. I don’t have kids so I don’t need to teach anyone anything about loving their curls. I taught myself how to love mine.

Denise Nicholson

Just another brand, trying to gain from our spending power.

I like the commercial but it’s just that-a tv commercial, not something I take seriously. I use Dove soap & bodywash & if they sell skin lightening products, it doesn’t bother me. I don’t use such products & they are only giving the people what they want. The commercial caught my attention because my 7yo has naturally curly hair that stretches to her hips yet she sometimes says she doesn’t like her curly hair & that she was meant to have straight hair. She has never been told anything other than that she’s smart, beautiful, funny, special & loved &… Read more »

I DO think the brands need to do advertising like this since it is the brands who help destroy the self-esteem of so many young people. So any advertising like this is what it is — advertising — no one need be fooled by that but the more kids see representations of themselves that everyone starts to become more familiar with and respect, the better off we will all be.


Love the commercial hate the product.

I don’t want to depend on a corporation who is actually quite late and not to any natural hair or self-acceptance movement but to the multibillion dollar industry that movement has created. While their competitors have already established lines of this type, Dove does get some credit from me personally for choosing (and I fully acknowledge it’s a capitalistic board room decision representative of old white men looking at financial models and sample test group marketing results) to enter with such a heartwarming commercial. Yes, it’s a calculated move and no I don’t want to rely on mainstream America or… Read more »

Dove is a business of course their end goal is to make money. What’s wrong with that? They never claimed to be a charity. If they can have an encouraging ad for young girls while making money that’s great, no harm done in that. I loved the advertisement regardless of whether or not their intent was to market a new hair care line, I still won’t be buying it. They also made a point in that ad to say how your children feel about their hair starts at home, overall good message.


I absolutely agree and couldn’t have said it better myself… No need to go out our way to get offended.


Sometimes I feel some of us in the black/natural hair community take things too seriously and are too easily offended.


Seriously! I so agree.…i found this post was just unnecessary

lecia p
Can someone PLEASE correct me if im wrong but were there any “obvious” black kinky curlies in that commercial? Black comes in all hues as well as our hair… and if im hard pressed to tell if any of the models had hair remotely like mine…then maybe that’s why I felt let down?? after watching it I came to the conclusion that this ad wasn’t geared towards most kinky curly naturals. At the start of it when I heard “curls” I got excited. I waited to see someone like ME come up on the screen amongst all the curlie q’s.… Read more »
I love the message that Dove is delivering but I am just a little annoyed at the fact that we(African American women) already own this movement. We were restoring the love of our hair with the natural curly hair movement! I’ve been heavily effected by the natural hair journey/curly hair movement by us for us. Now, Dove has taken that and 1) under-represented us in their ads 2) Used tactics that we’ve been doing for years 3) Posed this ad/movement as something innovative and new without any credit to us. (appropriation) That’s my issue with it . Other than that… Read more »
Honestly Jay
I’m not a parent. But I am a child of a woman who permed my hair when I was 7. I never hated my hair or myself. My mother didn’t perm my hair because she hated it. When I was 5–6 years old my grandmother would take me and my sister to the beauty salon and they would cut me and my sister’s hair. They called it “Ugly” and “unmanageable”. To avoid people trying to cut our hair again my mom permed our hair so it would look stereo-typically “correct”. My mom’s hair is naturally bone straight. I inherited my… Read more »

Shopping Cart