When 22-year-old TikToker Alix Earle, a college student at the University of Miami, posted her favorite 2022 Amazon beauty finds for 2022 to her more than 3 million followers, one item included sparked controversy. rice field. The blonde, blue-eyed Earl included Mielle Organics rosemary mint her scalp and hair strengthening oil, a popular product for textured hair.
“I’ve only been using this for a little over a month and have already seen amazing hair growth,” she said in a Dec. 27 video.
Black women are Earl’s TikTok comments and twitter Because we share the concern that one of our favorite products from a Black-owned brand will sell out.
According to Uju Anya, associate professor of applied linguistics at Carnegie Mellon University, when white women start buying a product, the brand behind it often expands and changes its formulation, marketing, and pricing. I have. She said she’s seen this happen with Black-founded brands like Shea Moisture and Carol’s Daughter.And she doesn’t want that to happen to Mielle.
Though founded by blacks, SheaMoisture and Carol’s Daughter are no longer black owned. L’Oréal acquired her Carol’s Daughter in 2014. In 2017 Unilever acquired the Sundial brand. These include SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam CJ Walker and Nyakio. After the acquisition, fans have continually accused both companies of changing formulas to appease the masses, such as lightening hydrating coconut oil and shea butter. Although preferred, it can be too heavy for the thinner, looser curls that non-black people often have.
The accusations also point to brand changes in marketing. In 2017, Shea Moisture fans protested. Social media After an ad featuring a white woman experiencing a “hair dislike”. The video showed her two red-haired women, a blonde and a racially ambiguous woman, talking about her hair troubles. After years of buying the brand’s products, black women felt left out of the conversation.
“Redheads didn’t have to pass laws to stop people from denying them jobs or opportunities or discriminating in terms of promotion,” Anya said.
Brand quickly apologized for the failure, writing on Facebook: inform. “
“When white people start liking something, they automatically like the company because it’s more people and more money,” Anya said. begin to meet their needs, [Black women] left behind. ”
Anya is quick to say that she doesn’t blame Earl and doesn’t think non-black people should stop buying textured hair products. is not silent. Like any other black woman, twitter For voicing her concerns about what happens to Earl’s video and her favorite brand, she receives a racist response and says she cares nothing about “angry black women.” She said it suggested that
But what happened to other beloved black-owned brands could happen to Mielle, she said. Very sensitive. [our] hair,” said Anya.
Less than two weeks after Earle posted, The internet picked up the controversy and blew up. On TikTok, black business her owner Alyssa Wilson started a slightly different conversation about Alix Earle and her Mielle, and she continued it with her Glossy.
“I have never personally felt uncomfortable [Earle’s] It felt great to see Mielle Organics recognized outside their target demographic for candid reviews,” she said. “We understand how difficult it is in business to get your product into new areas.” Wilson previously owned a soap company.
According to Wilson, Black-owned hair brands targeting black consumers often don’t make products specifically for blacks. “The majority are plant-based products that can be used in a variety of textures,” she said.
But she admitted the concerns from others were not unfounded. ‘ she said. “My counter-argument to this is that Miel has not hinted at changing the product or target audience.”
The Mane Choice, a popular hair care brand for natural and curly hair, was acquired by MAV Beauty Brands in 2019. Soon after, the founder’s girlfriend, Courtney Adeleye, took to her Facebook page for the brand to assure panicked customers that they were still okay.
“In complete transparency, our amazing brand was founded by an amazing woman and is still run by a team of talented black women and men, but we are part of the public company MAV Beauty Brands. I would like to make it clear that…” she wrote. “Partnering with MAV allows us to share resources and infrastructure so we can grow and reach a wider community.”
Jihan Forbes, a New York-based beauty writer and former Allure editor, agreed with Wilson that the excitement about Miel’s hair oil was good for the brand. will,” she said. “it doesn’t matter. [the brand] You can make more.
Forbes said this is an exciting time for Mielle Organics, where she has long been a fan. “With this momentum, there are so many brand-building and growth opportunities available to them,” she said. “that’s all [puts] Organic sales and dollars in great black corporate banks. ”
Still, she said she understands the concerns. When white women find a product too oily or too heavy for their hair, it’s not made for their hair type in the first place. However, changes may occur and the product may become useless.
“For some black people, the first reaction is to be prepared to lose what they love when it becomes the property of white society,” Forbes said. nothing happened.”
And Monique Rodriguez, founder of Mielle Organics, assures customers that will not be the case. January 4th, She released a statement through the brand’s Instagram, saying it has no plans to change the ingredients in its products.
“When Mielle was created, we based our products and ingredients on addressing and solving the needs of women with textured hair,” she said. It’s one of those needs that occurs in all hair types, not just those with fine hair, so we wanted to create an affordable solution and developed Mielle’s Rosemary Mint Scalp and Hair Strengthening Oil.”
In the wake of Earl’s video, shoppers had trouble finding the oil at their local Target, but the brand’s website still has it in stock.
Despite what Rodriguez said, twitter Earl was called out for posting about products used primarily by black women.
Earle’s video currently has 5 million views and over 8,000 comments. It is also a paid post for supplement brand RSP Nutrition.
“What you see is our pain, trauma or PTSD due to how we’ve been treated, abandoned and neglected. These products aren’t cheap, especially if we Especially if you’ve made a lot of sacrifices,” said Anya. Miel’s Rosemary Mint Scalp and Hair Strengthening Oil is about $10 for two ounces.