Black Women Say Yet Another Black-Owned Hair Product Has Abandoned Them for White Market

by Xara Aziz
Voiced by Amazon Polly

A growing group of naturalistas has begun to express frustration towards a Black-owned hair product that has begun to market its products to White women.

Ronelle Tshiela is one of them. In a recent Washington Post feature, the 23-year-old said she would travel to great distances to find Mielle Organics, a skin and haircare product line made with natural ingredients for women with natural hair.

“I remember first using their products and thinking to myself, ‘I did not know that the hair that grew out of my head could look this way,’” she told Washington Post. “There are not many products that work for me.”

So she was surprised to find White influencers promoting the brand to their predominately White audiences, partly because finding the right natural hair products for her coils is hard to find.

Hair specialist Taylor Rose is one of the many influencers who use one of Mielle’s most popular products, the rosemary-mint scalp and hair-strengthening oil. In one video, she details her weekly routine using the product, and a wave of White influencers have subsequently begun to do the same.

 “I’ve only been using this for a little over a month, and I’ve already seen tremendous hair growth,” another influencer, Alix Earle, said in a video posted on TikTok.

Now that influencers have jumped on the bandwagon, Black women have begun to notice that the products are sold out. Others say Mielle has raised prices to meet the demand.

Mielle’s founder and chief executive Monique Rodriguez addressed the issue in a statement released Tuesday.

“My journey with Mielle started from a place of creating the product I was not finding in the marketplace,” she wrote. “We remain forever committed to developing quality, efficacious products that address the need states for our customers’ hair types!”

But Black buyers are not convinced. Uju Anya, a 46-year-old associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University said this is a historic issue that just won’t seem to go away.

“I have been on this perpetual struggle ever since my teens to figure out how I’m going to care for natural hair,” said Anya. “Literally no one or very, very few people were catering to us.”

Tshiela shared similar sentiments: “I feel like a lot of people view this issue as something that started online as, like, fake outrage,” she said. “But accessibility to Black hair-care products has plagued the hair-care industry for decades. And so it is something that is a very real issue for a lot of us.”

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