“The lack of accessibility for black women in particular to hair care and other personal care products during the pandemic has been indicative of a society that favours those who do not look like us.
Let's be honest, It's only been in the last few years that stores such as Boots & Superdrug began catering for us. Even then, the selection is limited as we all have different hair types and needs. Black women are not monolithic; we come in different shapes, shades and sizes and have individual needs. As much as we love Cantu it’s not for everyone and we all have our preferred brand”.
Shamele, one of my favourite people in life and Co-founder of Naelle laments as we discussed the effects of lockdown, tiers and the closing of all ‘non-essential’ shops during these 'unprecedented times' - Are you as tired as we are about this phrase?!
Her statement rings in my mind and I start to pick apart the fact that yet again our needs, are placed in the ‘non-factor’ pile.
The fact that Superdrug, Boots and Supermarket’s remained open as essential, whist the Afro Hair and Beauty stores closed their doors (again). Bearing no inconvenience to those with non afro hair, this reflects the true bias myself and Shamele have discussed many times in the Hair and Beauty mainstream industries.
The miniscule, over priced, microscopic selection of products for Afro hair in these stores display the disregard and damn right extortion we face as black hair and beauty consumers in the UK.
BLACK HAIR AND SKIN CARE MATTERS! Who decided it didn’t...?
I mean I can survive without a nail infill, and not having my eyebrows finessed, but I cannot survive without the nourishment of my tresses and the adequate supplies to keep me looking ageless.
Lockdown really highlighted the struggle to literally run to the shops to grab something as simple as shampoo? Hardly seems fair.
Whilst we appreciate there are many online retailers (black owned and otherwise) that can faciliatate what we need (of course naelle included) it just reiterates the disregard for many of us who are not white and the constant struggle we face.
One size does not fit all and unfortunately, we do not fit into the overpriced tiny box you have tried to squeeze us and our needs into.
If nothing else this just highlights the overdue need to build upon the black hair and beauty outlets throughout the UK, how we deliver the service needed, who delivers it and it’s accessibility to all those who require , hydrated hair and skin whatever the weather.
This also opens up to a wider debate and discussion as to, should the Government be doing more? Why aren't the stores that predominantly cater to us; deemed as essential?
We would love to hear your thoughts.