Critics Come for Gabrielle Union’s ‘Flawless Hair’
While I am sure Gabrielle Union’s new Flawless haircare line has been a huge success since its launch last week, it has not come without a bit of controversy for its creator. Since unveiling the collection via Instagram, Gabrielle has been inundated with complaints from people who think she’s simply trying to make a quick buck from the booming natural hair movement- while not actually wearing her natural hair. Gabby has also been taken to task for her vague use of the phrase “textured hair,” as well as the models she chose to use in the company’s advertisements.
Gabrielle has been a longtime wearer of wigs and weaves and even does so to promote her Flawless line. Fans found this hypocritical and have left scathing comments on the Being Mary Jane star’s Instagram page. Gabrielle chose not to respond directly to the comments, but clearly read them because she quickly uploaded photos of her natural hair, while explaining her use of artificial hair as a means to protect her real hair.
The “textured hair” models Gabrielle chose to use to promote Flawless were also noted by critics, who accused Gabrielle of trying to get black women’s money while not actually using black models or women who have kinky hair. Gabrielle hasn’t offered a retort to that accusation, but we all know the #1 rule for selling hair products to black women with kinky/coily/nappy hair is never use models that actually have that hair type unless you are peddling relaxers or texturizers.
The black haircare market is a billion-dollar business. However, relaxer sales are down and natural hair products are where the money’s at. Gabrielle is aware of this and looking to cash in on it like any good businesswoman would. Gabrielle wants to sell her products to as many women as possible and will use the terminology and imagery to do so, hence the liberal phrase “textured hair” and the wavy and curly-haired models used in the advertisements.
Is Gabrielle wrong for trying to get her slice of the natural hair pie? No, I don’t think so, especially if the products are of good quality. Honestly, I’d give my money to Gabrielle before I’d give it to some of these white-owned companies who also jumped on the natural movement once they realized there was a buck to be made.
Having said that, as someone who has been on a natural hair journey for almost a year, I know Flawless isn’t for me or black women with kinky hair in general. No, I don’t think Flawless is bad- it’s just based on the same science used in products for straight-haired women. Kinky hair needs oil. Straight, wavy and loose curled hair does not. There is no two ways around this and there is no way to make a single line of products that suit all hair types. In other words, I know if Flawless works on the hair of the women in these ads, it will not work for me in the long run. NO WAY.
Also, “textured hair” is the new “women of color” and black women should run when they hear either term being used. All hair has a texture, but as black women our unique hair type requires the use of organic oil based products that do not play well with other hair types and vice versa. Any company that cannot admit and embrace that will never get my money.