Is The Natural Aisle A Necessity for Black Women?


Products Displayed At Target on The Ethic Aisle. Photo Graphic Credit: I'sha Gaines

What used to be scarce, is now more  abundant. With the popularity of naturally texture hair many popular retailers have begun to carry products for naturally textured hair in a great capacity.

The Issue At Hand

Before women of color began to wear their hair in its natural state, national retailers carried little to no products in stores like Target, Wal-Mart and Wal-Greens. Granted that the black hair market brought in a whooping $684 million in 2012, the issue was that women of color had limited access to products that were best suited for textured hair. Those numbers are expected to increase to $761 million by 2017, according to research by the Chicago Tribune.

After promotions, similar to the 8-week textured hair marketing plan by Target in 400 of its stores shown promise of textured hair markets, Target begin to add local and more national natural hair brands to it’s line-up. The original 6 were, Mixed Chicks, Curls, Kinky-Curly, Miss Jessie’s, Shea Moisture, and Jane Carter Solution, according to a Businessweek article.

Moving Forward

Seeing more products for ethnic hair has been a joy to some, but a racially centered issue for others. Some naturalistas feel that the segregation of products for naturally hair is purposely done by retailers and signifies that naturally textured hair is not as important as other textures. Others don’t really care. And although signage on some ethnic hair aisles went from “Ethnic Hair Care” to “Naturals/Textured,” there is still mixed feelings about the segregated aisles.

Urecha Dunn said she’s never viewed the aisles as segregation, but understands how some ethnic women can view it that way.

“I shop both aisles,” Dunn said. “But then that brings up another question. Aren’t the [independent] “beauty supply houses” specifically geared toward “ethnic” population?”

According to Dunn, although national retailers have just come on board with offering products for natural hair, independent chains have been supplying women of color with products they’ve needed for years.

“I don’t see the big problem where there are whole stores geared specifically to the whole black culture,” Dunn said.

Ericka Cooks, Licensed Cosmotologist and owner of said she doesn’t think that Ethnic Aisle is necessary because products manufacturers make products based on the needs of black women.

“We should always make our product purchases based on what our hair needs and not the models the manufacture use for advertisement."

On the Contrary:

Niakesha Woodley, Owner of The Mom Biz Expo said she likes the convenience of the Naturals/Textured Aisle.

“Categorizing just makes shopping for what you need and product type so much easier, Woodley said. “I’m not bothered at all.”

Cabrina W., feels the exact same way. She said instead of complaining, when she shops in her local stores she is thankful for having her hair products available!

"I say thank you. I mean you could call it segregation, but I call it I can find everything in one spot and I don't even have to look all over the store," Cabrina said. "Sometimes I don't need a specific product, I just like to browse and I also like to compare ingredients. Shuffling from one aisle to the next is a hassle. Especially when I'm in the store with my kids or I sneak off from my husband. Our hair is it's own movement. Thanks for the recognition!



Sources: Urecha Dunn

Sources: Niakesha Woodley, MomBizExpo

Sources: Cabrina W.,

Sources: Ericka Cooks, Licensed Cosmotologist and owner of





I'sha GainesComment