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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pantene: Insensitive Ad?

I was doing some research on where I can donate my almost 24 inches of dreadlocks. Locks of Love will not accept dreadlocks but I came across Beautiful Lengths (http://pantene.com/en-US/beautiful-lengths-refresh/Pages/default.aspx), a non-profit partnership between the American Cancer Society and Pantene that provides hair to those in need. Anyway, when I clicked on a Pantene link, I was displeased to see the below description of a Pantene product for African-American hair (http://pantene.com/en-US/hair-care-collections/african-american-hair-products.aspx):

“African-American hair tends to be dry and susceptible to damage, resulting in an out-of-control look. Pantene’s Relaxed & Natural collection for Women of Color is enriched with moisturizing oils that nourish and help protect African-American hair and achieve a sleek style”. http://pantene.com/en-US/hair-care-collections/african-american-hair-products.aspx

Say what? Who determines whose hair has “an out-of-control look”? What does that mean? Unhealthy, tangled, snarled, knotty, nappy? What? I searched the other product lines to see if similar language was used for other products. No. For example, contrast the above description with the description for “Classic Care” (http://pantene.com/en-US/hair-care-collections/classic-care.aspx):

“Pantene knows that healthy hair needs daily maintenance to keep it beautifully shiny from root to tip. Pantene’s Classic Care collection is basic daily care that nourishes and protectes hair to keep it looking healthy. It’s complete hair care for a classic look.”

Will someone please clarify what “classic” means? Also, notice that there are no derogatory subjective descriptions, only aspirational statements about healthy hair. Here’s another example from the “Fine Hair Solutions” http://pantene.com/en-US/hair-care-collections/fine-hair-products.aspx:

“Want volume that lasts all day? Breeze past your volume test with Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Solutions. Fine hair has up to 50% less protein than thick hair, which can leave it limp and weak. Pantene Pro-V Fine Solutions is designed to reinforce the structure of fine hair for a full, healthy look. This fine hair collection offers effective cleansers, lightweight conditioners, and styling products designed to work together for lasting results.”

Again, no derogatory subjective descriptions. Perhaps some will think that I’m being overly sensitive. However, I think that organizations need to be highly sensitive to advertisements that could be viewed as offensive to entire demographic groups. What do you think?


  1. This really makes me mad. I'm natural and so is my daughter and it's ads like this one that make it hard to assure my daughter that her hair is beautiful just the way it grows out of her head.

    I'm currently in a court battle with my daughters father and the bulk of his case has to do with her HAIR!!! Can you believe that? He insists that I don't take proper care of her hair because I won't straighten it!!! Ads like this support his case!!! It's crazy!!! Our court date is approaching quickly, and once it's all over I plan to have the first court order in our states history that prevents a father from straightening his daughters hair.


  2. Wow! Your comments gave me pause. First, I am sorry that younger going through such tumult; that can't feel good. Second,

  3. Whoops, I hit the wrong button. Anyway. Second, I am dumbstruck and hope that things work out for the best! Please let me know how things turn out. The court decision could have implications for ALL OF US! Hang in there.

  4. Sorry for the typos. Not easy using this IPAD.