SheaMoisture's Arresting New Campaign Tackles The Racial Segregation Of Beauty Aisles

What is the difference between 'beauty' and 'ethnic'?

Beauty products occupy their own sacred space in stores. The bevy of options for what seems like every type of hair and skin that a human could possibly have leaves no stone unturned — unless, of course, you're a woman of color. 

Instead, beauty products catered to women of color are stored in the "ethnic" section — where choices are often limited — in what can almost feel like an afterthought. 

In a bid to raise awareness about segregated beauty aisles, beauty brand SheaMoisture launched a national campaign that tackles the issue head-on. 

So for its first TV commercial, SheaMoisture released a dramatic ad pushing to #BreakTheWalls of segregated beauty aisles. "There is a section called 'ethnic,' " one woman says in the ad. "And there is an aisle called 'beauty.' "


Since its release, the commercial has received high praise. "This is so great! We talk about this problem every time we're at Target," one commenter said on the video's Youtube page.

"I have often said over the last 20 years that the beauty aisle is the last place in America where segregation is still legal," Richelieu Dennis, CEO of Sundial, SheaMoisture's parent company, said in a statement. "Separating 'beauty' from 'ethnic' has only served to further perpetuate narrow standards of what is considered beautiful in our industry and our society — which is why we began leading the efforts to break down those walls."

The company also rolled out a "behind the scenes" video of the commercial, where the women featured talk about their struggles with finding beauty products catered to them, and the kind of message that segregated beauty aisles send to women of color. 

The growing number of brand-backed movements about body positivity and body image come as consumers increasingly voice their demands for products that better suit them. 

The natural hair movement has seen more and more women of color — particularly Black women — embrace their natural 'dos, and SheaMoisture's #BreakTheWalls campaign is the latest example of a brand truly listening to what the consumer wants.


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