Is TRESemmé Suggesting That African Hair Is Dull And Damaged While Blonde Is Not?

Shreshtha Goswami
·3-min read

In the last few days, South Africans’ outrage has been at its peak in the wake of online shampoo advertisements by TRESemmé that portrayed blonde hair as ‘normal’ and the hair of black women as ‘dry,’ ‘damaged,’ ‘frizzy,’ and ‘dull’.

The advertisements were published on September 4th on the website of Clicks which is a major pharmacy, health and beauty retailer in the country.

Shortly after the advertisements were published, the word spread like wildfire and it did not go down well with people for obvious reasons. The advertisement’s content was delineated as blatantly racist, insensitive and sprouted from the ideologies inspired by deep-rooted racial prejudice.

Infuriated people took to the streets and made their way to the Clicks retail stores and resorted to attack the stores with firebombs, petrol bombs, etc.

Heavy damage caused to a Clicks retail store by the protesters
Heavy damage caused to a Clicks retail store by the protesters
The floor of a retail store got burnt amidst the violent protest
The floor of a retail store got burnt amidst the violent protest

In the aftermath of the massive backlash that TRESemmé faced, the biggest retailers of the country decided to step back from selling any TRESemmé hair product.

On the other hand, Unilever, the parent company of TRESemmé, has itself decided to pull down all haircare products of TRESemmé from South African retail stores for 10 days as a show of their apology and remorse.

Clicks CEO Vikesh Ramsunder issued a statement in this matter stating that, “I am deeply disappointed that we allowed insensitive and offensive images to be published on our website. I apologize unreservedly for the hurt and anger these images have caused.”

Also Read: What Was The Pink Chaddi Campaign And Why Was It So Intriguing?

African Hair Is Naturally This Way

The ‘nappy‘ hair that people of African descent have is purely natural and chemical-free.

While the people native to other continents and races can have different types of hair, be it straight, wavy, or curly, most black people have varying degrees of tightly curled hair.

Their hair strands could be seen wrapped in spirals, coils, loops, zig-zags, or other curves that tend to grow up rather than down. This natural curly structure of hair gives African people gravity-defying hairstyles like afros and puffs.

Since time immemorial, black people have borne a stigma associated with their skin colour and distinguished structure of their hair. Excerpts from the experiences shared by black women tell us how they would be asked to straighten or manage their hair chemically to look more ‘presentable‘ and ‘beautiful‘.

It is high time we stop dwelling on the past and break the shackles of racism binding the social lives of innocent people.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: BBC, Business Insider, CNN

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This post is tagged under: TRESemmé, Unilever, South Africa, Racism, africans racism, shampoo, advertisements, Clicks, protests, Violence, black lives matter, black women, Afro, Protests against racism, hair ad, blonde hair, black hair, tresemme ad, clicks, unilever, backlash, violence, racist ads, bad shampoo ads, insensitive ads, black community

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