My friend Zach (him again) just forwarded this link on FB about how L’Oreal and western mass market beauty companies are now looking to African women in Africa as their next frontier customer base.
The only little piece of good news (and I even see that one as a poisoned one) is the jobs that will hopefully be created locally by the installation of new manufacturing plants. I say it is a poisoned good news because of all that it could mean in the long run for our cultural heritage.
Besides that, articles of this nature reinforce my urgency in growing my current skin care company, Tiossan. Not because I am afraid of having competitors. First of all, there is a lot of room for many to succeed, but most importantly l’Oreal and its like cannot compete with my type of company simply because our values are so fundamentally different. But my problem is all the good, healthy hair and skin that is about to be ruined by the horrible products they offer this demographic. Think about it: hair straightener, skin lightning skincare products and complexion concealers (that only results in a zombie-like look when women have a face that looks so light compared to the rest of their skin). All the products and brands cited in the article are full of very harmful chemicals. It is all about emulating the white woman. The picture that accompanied the article (see above) is a perfect illustration of that flagrant display of lack of self esteem.
We know that black women in the western world are returning to their healthy roots. Indeed “the number of black women who say they do not use products to chemically relax or straighten their hair jumped to 36% in 2011, up from 26% in 2010, according to a report by Mintel, a consumer spending and market research firm. Sales of relaxer kits dropped by 17% between 2006 and 2011, according to Mintel” (see the whole article here). So because these companies are now loosing revenue at a rapid rate because their usual customers have become more savvy and gained self-confidence, they are now turning their clout of toxic ingredients to those who did not bother to question what is going on, completely blinded by their complex of inferiority.
Sooner or later I know that more African women will also come to value and join the “natural hair” movement, natural skin care, and love their own dark complexions, but not before too many bodies have been ruined by these poisons in a bottle. So the faster brands like Tiossan can grow, and with them all the proper awareness around healthy ingredients and rituals as well as a sense of indigenous pride, the more healthy bodies and beautiful African faces we will preserve. To add insult to injury is the use of brand names like “Softsheen”, “Fair & Lovely”, and what they imply.
So wake up, dear African sisters! Know that you can be beautiful and loved with the skin and hair that God gave you. My husband constantly admires me and regards me as the most beautiful woman on the planet, BECAUSE of my very dark skin and African hair. Find a man who loves you as you are, and take good care of your healthy, natural skin and hair.
With that, I wish you all a wonderful Holidays :)