TikTokker uses black hair care products

In recent weeks a famous TikTok content creator, Danielle Athena, has been facing backlash for a video of her going through her hair-care routine that was taken down after it went viral in early December. In the video, she uses Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil, on her untextured hair, when the product was intended for people with texturized hair. 

The brand Mielle Organics has been a female-black-owned business since 2014, selling hundreds of products catering to people with different textures of hair based on African American hair types, with type 3-4 hair (hair patterns between wavy and coily). There are a lot of brands out there that do not market to specific genders and races, so having Athena recommend the product for a hair type that it was not originally intended for had others concerned about the future of the product and the future of Black hair brands. 

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Although the video was in favor of using the product by adopting it into her routine, the video was still taken down. Gojo's baby mama reposted it on Twitter with the caption “White women steal from black women and just be doing shit. and of course she turned those comments off” 

Gojo’s baby mama and others were concerned that white people might be so interested in the product that it would make it harder for others to gain access, that companies might increase prices due to interest, or that possible formula changes might occur if there are so many complaints from those using the product who it isn’t intended for (let’s say people with type 1 or 2 hair, which is thin or straight hair with not much visible bend to the hair who use a product made for type 3 or 4 hair).

Professor Uju Anya replied in the same thread that the haircare brand Shea Moisture had been “chasing white money”. This brand was one of many that changed its formula to cater to people with untextured hair as it gained more popularity. The idea of product formula changes within black hair care products is not foreign to black hair communities. Shea Moisture is a similar brand offering hair care and skin products to Black consumers that seemingly changed its formula to support the needs of white customers.

Morgan Jerkins, author of The Whitewashing of Natural Hair Care Lines discovered at a beauty expo that "in 2015, Nikki Walton, founder and head of content for CurlyNikki.com, wrote a blog post questioning if Shea Moisture changed the formula of its curl-enhancing smoothie because glycerin, not water, was its first ingredient.” This was just the start until other bloggers like Tyisha Scott started crafting reports, making the community aware of the changes and where they were rooting from.

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Shea Moisture responded to the numerous reports on a Facebook post, “We share the same concerns, disappointment and angst that our community has every time our support helps to grow a business and it forgets its roots. Rest assured, we will never forget our roots and we will always hold up our community.” You can read the brand’s entire statement here.

 People with texturized hair all know the struggles of having wavy or curly hair. We can remember in our younger years standing in the hair care aisle frustrated about not finding the product that we needed or not even knowing what products would work with our hair - even though we have more options now this can still happen to this day. There is a feeling of hopelessness with any hair care journey. It can take a long time to find the right product, and when someone does find it they cherish it like gold. 

Shortly after the new year, Monique Rodriguez (CEO of Mielle Organics) issued a statement on the company’s Instagram. “There have been a few recent comments posted on this topic, but I can personally guarantee you that we are not making any ingredient changes. I also wanted to come here first to assure you directly that we have no plans to change the formula for Rosemary Mint Oil or any of our products. Please know that we would always inform you in full transparency if any adjustments are made to the products you love and trust.” 

Hopefully, brands like Mielle Organics hold true to their promise, as there are so many people who have put all of their trust in them.

Sabrina Walls is senior at Arizona State University, she is pursuing her bachelors in English and Media Analysis. Sabrina enjoys watching movies, reading, and being outdoors at all times.