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What’s The Deal With Shea Moisture’s New Ad?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at USF chapter.

I remember when I first made the decision to go natural. I did my big chop because I saw so much beauty in natural hair; seeing other girl’s fluffy curls made me excited to see my own!

It shocked me to hear that there were some people who felt otherwise about natural hair. They called it “nappy”, “dirty”, “unkempt.” Some girls have been suspended or asked to leave school because their hair was “too big.”

These alone can make young girls question and hate their hair.

Hair is often seen as a defining factor of a woman’s looks. Often women of color, especially African women dislike their hair because of its complex and coarse texture; otherwise known as hair hate. As women continue to embrace their natural hair, various specialty products have come to light to help women feel confident wearing their curls. Among these products include Shea Moisture.

Shea Moisture has an amazing range of products, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any of their products on my shelf. For me personally, Shea Moisture created products that helped me love my natural hair, which was why I was surprised with their recent ad.

Like many other women of color who have built a relationship with Shea Moisture, we were surprised to not see us represented in their most recent ad. Shea Moisture’s brand image involves it celebrating African women with the kinky, tight curls. I am certain that this demographic supported Shea Moisture’s promotional efforts on a regular day.

The new video showed women with straight blonde and red hair and one woman of color with loose curls. They talked about how they struggled with hair hate and how they have overcame it using their products.

The ad has caused quite a controversy, as many people believed Shea Moisture was neglecting women of color; their main demographic and purchasers. Many bloggers on YouTube have voiced their opinion.

Quest for the Perfect Curl says, “If you were going to talk about hair hate, why wouldn’t you have women who were taught to hate their hair.”

HairCartel says, “Why couldn’t y’all (Shea Moisture) make the women who made your company what it is today as the faces of the ad…”

On a personal note, I think it was a poor advertising decision made on the part of the company. As a company based around embracing kinky hair, they should’ve used women who have experienced discrimination because of their hair texture.

The ad makes the issue of hair hate feel watered down, when this is an issue many women face. Some people have been denied jobs because of their hair. I have nothing against Shea Moisture reaching out to other demographics, but I feel there was a better way to display their message. It is no surprise why many women of color are offended at the sight of this ad.

Shea Moisture has since released an apology in regards to the controversial ad. They took the ad down, saying, “We really f-ed this one up.” They apologized because the ad appeared as if it was a shift. They recognized that the message was misinterpreted and like many women thought, it seemed like they were abandoning black women.

But here is the thing, Shea Moisture, we don’t want a shift. We appreciate growth. Maybe we can grow from this.



I am a junior at the University of South Florida. I am specializing in Public Relations while pursuing certificates in Business and Visualization & Design. I hope to one day combine all of these and pursue law in the entertainment and even branch out to other passions in family law. While I am studying to achieve these dreams, I have furthered my collection of coffee cups and obsession with caffeine. I currently work as a barista and love to whip up new ideas, whether it be actual coffee creations or branding ideas. My other hobbies include enjoying short walks to the movies and my computer. This is usually to catch up on the latest and greatest shows. If it's not film, it is music. I love the thrill of listening to live music of my favorite and new bands. These inspire me to discover my individuality and brand, while challenging myself to help others find theirs.