The Boom of “Ethnic” Beauty Products
I read an interesting article this morning at work about a supposed boom amongnst “Ethinc” hair and beauty products. The article highlighted the fact that use of organic and natural beauty products has increased to profits of over $2.7 billion dollars a year and that the largest group of people drawn to these products were Asians followed by Hispanics and the African-Americans. I found this article really intriguing because the author stated that this trend is headed by the fact that minorities are now focused on “…focusing on their individual hertitage” rather than “…wanting to belong to American society and use the same brands”. What? Is that saying that the reason “Ethnic” (and I’ll explain my use of quotations in a bit) beauty products are selling well now is that minorities no longer want to use “White” beauty products? This statement doesn’t sit well with me for the sheer fact that I do not believe that using ingredients that come from the earth or have less chemicals is in way “Ethnic” based. If you ask me, no one should be using harsh chemicals or fake compunds on their hair and skin. To market these
products as “Ethinc” immediately does one of two things. First, it alientates those not in the minority pool by subconsciously telling them that “this isn’t for you” and secondly it clumps a group of people (minorities) together as an entirely seperate market that I think subconsciously says “these products are slightly inferior because they aren’t mainstream brands”. Perhaps I’m reading in to it, but the mere fact that the word “Ethinc” is used as a marketing tool for beauty products for people of color is not appropriate in my book. The use of cocoa butter, tea tree oil, fruit extracts, etc is not in any way “Ethnic” or specific to a certain group of people. Those ingredients are probably beneficial not to just Black humans or Asian humans, but to ALL humans. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that there are more products out there that are taking into consideration that biologically, the skin and hair types of the peoples of this planet are different, but I do wish that discussions about the benefits and properties of these products didn’t turn into a discussion about the exclusion of certain peoples from something we should all want – healthy bodies. What about your thoughts after reading the article…am I just being overly sensitive??