Beautify Me: They Segregating Hair Products, Y’all!!

Having hair that goes against the norm (not straight), I am always in search of the best hair products for my style. That isn’t always easy, but I’m willing to try almost anything. Recently my mother asked me if I had ever thought about using mayonaise, “you know… for the shine,” she says. That statement brought back a terrible memory of grade school when my mother thought putting cold coffee and coffee grounds on my hair was a good idea. Smelling like Folgers Crystals didn’t go over so well with the private school set. I quickly told her that I hated mayo with all of its purported uses and that black hair in its natural state doesn’t reflect light. Plus, Mom, my hair is matted into beautiful locs. They definitely won’t be shining any time soon. Oh, Mom… Gotta love her.

I am wililng to go to anywhere for a great shampoo and moisturizer. I’ve been to street fairs, hair salons, hair shows, and yes, the “‘hood” beauty supply store. I tend to try new products every week, one for moisture, a shampoo, an oil maybe, and even setting lotion when I want tight ringlets.  But nothing is more annoying than having to go into the local drugstore to fill a perscription or get a roll of toilet paper and find yourself running around the store trying to find the “black/ethnic hair” section. Where the hell is the Luster’s Pink Lotion? And, why the fuck is it in the back of the store by the markdown products??? 

I have bitched and moaned about this shit for years. Even the hair color for black hair is as far away as possible from the hair color for Caucasians. Why is it that the black ethnic hair care products are relagated to their own section in their own part of the store?  If I’m shopping for Cream of Nature perm kits and  Dr. Miracles Tingling Shampoo, must I find them crowded on a shelf next to the markdown Christmas tin of popcorn?

Do the store managers feel that those of us without naturally straight hair are embarrassed by the products we feel we need to purchase? Listen, black women spend much guap to look hot, but you wouldn’t know it by the layout of the store. According to Mintel, a Chicago based market research firm, the black hair care industry sales for 2007 were approximately $1.8 billion. (That’s a lot of curl activator! LOL!)  I don’t know anything about running a retail store, but wouldn’t it make more sense to have ethnic (I hate that dumb ass word… as it applies to me) hair products prominently displayed in the beauty aisle with everything else hair related and not somewhere hidden?

It’s always so funny when I go shopping for hair products with friends who don’t have the same kind of hair I do. They are smiling and skipping up and down the aisle looking at all of their wonderful choices, while I am digging through a small section of items that they never use. When they do find me in the store they’re always like, “I was looking all over for you. Didn’t you say you needed shampoo? Well, it’s over here.” I look at them and just sigh.

So to all of you managers at the Duane Reade, CVS, and Walgreens of the world: Put the black shit in the front of the store. Act like you know and get that money.

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