Lately, I can’t help but notice the surge of questionable television advertisements for black haircare lines. Though the ads often highlight awesome products that myself and women I know have tried, used, and loved for years, it seems as though the commercials have grown to be a bit one-sided and stereotypical. From what I’ve gathered, the vast majority of black hair commercials of late share the same 3 unfortunate components:

1.) The Homegirls.

More often then not, in a black hair commercial, you’ll find a group of women – the homegirls. Whether they’re in the bathroom getting ready for the club, out on the town, or even sitting around at lunch chatting and catching up, there will typically be at least two or three women involved. Somehow, the scene is always set against the tune of some bland, repetitive, hip-hop beat. And the conversation, though light and fun, is always discreetly laced with the most stereotypical black girl slang. Maybe I’m just out of the loop, but I can’t recall the last time I used phrases like “the bomb”, “I’m about to hook you up”, and “played out” amongst my friends. And all the neck rolling, gum-popping, and hair flipping to get a point across?! What’s up with that, America? Is that really how “we” act, as a whole? I can’t deal.

2.) The Same Look.

Though there are usually several women in the commercials, there is seldom much variety amongst the models’ looks and the hair styles that they wear. You can pretty much bet your last coin that all the women will have straightened hair of a dark brown or black hue. Now I can’t quite decide if this is because the products being advertised cater towards these specific looks, or if it’s because we’re to believe that straight, dark hair is more favorable than curly or colored hair. But I don’t like it, either way. I honestly can’t recall the last time I saw a commercial where women with natural or more unique hairstyles were represented, though these are the women I see out and about everyday. And I won’t even delve into the point that women who are clearly wearing weaves are often used to promote products that claim to strengthen and protect our own hair. Now, I’m currently and quite proudly wearing a partial sew-in myself, so this is in no way an anti-weave rant. However, if the products are supposed to make our natural hair fuller, healthier, and more shiny, the last thing I want to see is 8 ounces of Indian Remy being flipped and blown around, disguised as the results of a quality product. False advertising.

3.) The Problem.

From what I’ve noticed, black hair commercials almost always present a dilemma. Whether it’s “nappy” roots, fuzzy edges, or split ends – there is always some sort of problem to be corrected. Of course, I fully understand that products are created to correct specific hair concerns. However, why is it that we never see advertisements for basic, everyday products such as shampoo or deep conditioners. Are we, as black women, really only running to the haircare aisle when we need to zap new-growth with a relaxer or slick down “edges” with the latest, greatest gel or pomade?! I’d certainly beg to differ. While women of other ethnicities are regularly being offered quality products for routine maintenance and upkeep, it seems as though many of the ads geared specifically towards women of color are looking to fix our hair, as if it were a burden of some sort. It’s no coincidence that the vast majority of our commercials are for do-it-yourself relaxers. Where are the ads for natural haircare products? I’ll wait…

Check out a few examples we’ve gathered of black haircare commercials, past and present:

The Good

The Bad

The Ugly

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Are these commercials simply for entertainment, or perpetuating racial stereotypes? Are eyebrow-raising ads doing quality products any justice?

- Chelsea Smith

  • chanela

    OMG! you forgot about the kgb commercial when the lady finds out that her yaki hair comes from a yak.lol

    but you said hair products so nvm.

    the white commercials have fake hair n stuff too but the black hair commercials make the fakery wayyy more obvious. they have so many “makes your hair longer and stronger” claims, yet the models NEVER have their natural hair. its always super long weave or straight. i can understand how it would be difficult to show black women’s hair growing longer when natural kinky hair has shrinkage *lol* but they need to figure something else out!

    and whenever they DO show black women with natural hair then its ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS light skinned biracial women with super loose patterned hair. whats up with that?

  • Nix

    I’m sorry but those adds were funny.

  • http://nesheaholic.com LaNeshe

    You’ll never find a cosmetics ad that isn’t selling a woman a problem that needs fixing.

  • Jessica

    The commercials that always show one type of Natural hair bother me. It’s always the woman with the perfectly curled ringlets…Never the woman with the afro or the locs or the other natural textures in between

  • http://cocoandcurls.blogspot.com SOPHIA

    I am from the UK, we do not get advertisements for black women or men.
    Since we have been little girls we have just watched white women with flowing
    straight hair on our boxes and I am in my 30s. So that shows we still have a long way to go. At least you guys are acknowledged!

    Commercials is about profit and targeting those who will make them more money. Clearly, sisters are buying relaxers so much and certain companies want this to continue and expand. Only the minority of us are non relaxers which equals not enough profit!

  • http://cocoandcurls.blogspot.com SOPHIA

    I have something special, treat yourself to my pages, you will find a whole bunch of funny, crazy and not least factual stuff. Please don’t forget to subscribe and share!

  • Lisa

    What I find more upsetting is there are never hair care articles in main stream magazines for African American a woman who does not have a weave. Nothing against women with weaves. But it amazing to me that they (advertisers) do not give us credit for knowing when a woman has a weave and we go run out a buy their products hoping our hair will look the same. We need to demand more and maybe we will get more. Just my two cents.

  • http://www.peridotdynasty.com Ms. Williams

    The commercials for Organic Root Stimulator always make me give serious side eye. Especially the one about the curly pudding giving “great hold” and that chick has that straight Indian weave on. Lordy Bagordy. I long for commercials that keep it real without the jargon, hype, and pretense, but sadly those things sell. Gimmick tends to attract better than realness, sadly.

    • Sheila

      I agree with you 100% The only thing is these girls get flack for the untold requirements of these commercials. I’m for certain that is her hair and not an “Indian Weave,” and the girls’ accents were heightened in order to produce a more “ethnic” connection. Sadly, it’s marketing that drives these stereotypes, but isn’t it our fault for buying? There clearly is a demand for the product and the commercial was structured to tell a “relatable,” story to its demographic…but black ppl are unfortunately being generalized at the fate of things of this nature. It’s just unfortunate.

  • http://www.splendidstyle.tumblr.com Joanne_

    i agree! the commercials are VERY corny and leave me feeling disrespected almost to think that these companies i support see me in a such a light. no, i don’t go to the club and no, i don’t sit around on the couch complaining about men. these commercials portray Black women in a way that White America sees us unfortunately. However, I must say that the I have seen the variety in hair textures, most recently, Dr.Miracles commercial.

  • Dimples12553

    I have seen all of these commercials, however ONLY when I am watching an ethic program of sort. Never while watching something like Smallville, 90210, or other shows where there are no black people.

    I will quote from Sophia above:

    “Commercials is about profit and targeting those who will make them more money. Clearly, sisters are buying relaxers so much and certain companies want this to continue and expand. Only the minority of us are non relaxers which equals not enough profit!”

    Natural hair care does not REALLY make anyone money. A lot of Naturals make their own products, and the ones that don’t do not use products that a designed ONLY for natural hair.

  • http://femmeswithbenefits.com Kimberly

    Added you to our blog roll!

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