Texture Transcends Ethnicity

Dec 8, 2014 11:49:59 AM

texture variety

“It’s not about skin color. It’s about hair texture!” I’ve said that so many times over the past 16 years that I feel like a broken record!

Since NaturallyCurly was founded, we haven’t looked at hair in terms of the color of a person’s skin. We've created a texture typing system that has nothing to do with ethnicity. It’s been about finding solutions to meet the needs of a person’s hair texture, whether it be 2b or 4c. I remember doing a photo shoot for prom hairstyles in which one of the African-American models had 3b curly hair and the red-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian teen had hair of 4a coils.

Now it seems like many others are catching on, especially retailers who are shortening their ethnic haircare aisles in favor of  larger “Texture,” “Multicultural” and “Curly” sections that enable them to market to a larger demographic.

Over the past two years, we’ve spent more time than ever with brands and retailers who want to broaden their customer bases – whether they be traditional ethnic lines or general market brands trying to communicate to multicultural consumers that yes, their products are for their hair too.

It’s a tough habit to break, and there’s still a fair amount of resistance, especially from some in the industry who like the status quo. I recently got a call from a major beauty magazine who wanted me to weigh in my favorite products for “African-American hair.” Although I shared my viewpoint (“We think about hair in terms of texture rather than ethnicity.”), when their awards came out, I saw my picks under “African-American hair.” Yikes!

It’s not just my opinion. It’s based on data.

According to TextureTrends, the multicultural consumer (this includes Hispanic, African-American and Multiracial women) includes women with every hair texture, from straight to super coily. Even among those who identify themselves as African-American, textures include wavy, curly, curly coily and coily.

So it’s only a matter of time before we’ll see more companies adopting the newer way of addressing the needs of women. Because thinking that all Hispanic women have the same hair and skincare needs is as flawed as assuming that all Caucasian women have the same hair and skincare issues.

Michelle Breyer

Written by Michelle Breyer

Michelle Breyer (michelle@texturem­ediainc.com) is the co-founder of content and ecommerce platform Naturall­yCurly.com and TextureMedia. By engaging beauty enthusiasts through original content, branded entertai­nment, social media, product reviews and commerce, TextureMedia influences up to $5 billion in hair care sales each year. Its monthly social, consumer reach is 26 million across a portfolio of digital brands, including its Market Research & Insights division, CurlyNikki and Naturall­yCurly.