This is a very interesting product from Phytospecific – technically, Phytospecific Thermoperfect 8 is a textured hair product so ideal for women of colour who have naturally curly, relaxed or coiled hair. But, while it’s pointed at those hair types specifically, it’s more than that, and it’s an early indicator of a more all-encompassing trend.
We are far too short on products specifically for women of colour in the UK, but it doesn’t take rocket science to work out that probably what women of colour would prefer is if their skin shades were given recognition within existing brands. Brands that work for everyone is the way forward. We have some global brands already doing it – MAC, for one. We have other brands slowly starting to increase their colour selections, but inclusivity is what we’re after rather than separation, across all beauty brands.
It’s a nonsense really that the beauty industry has tended to divide us by skin colour – the consumer didn’t do this; the brands did. WWD has recently written a report on this very subject and if they’re on it, then it means that things are on the change (although I imagine, rather slowly). Women of colour are under-represented across all beauty – when we look at advertising for skin care, for example, which is completely colour irrelevant, there’s a huge bias towards paler tones as represented users. I don’t get it. The UK is a multi-ethnic country and has been for a long time – it’s not news to anyone that cultural and ethnic diversity exists here, as it does anywhere else in the world.
There used to be a lame old excuse that products weren’t made in shades for differing ethnicities because it wasn’t financially viable – i.e. not enough women of colour bought them. The beauty industry has created the illusion that colours for deeper tones aren’t in volume demand and therefore there is no need to supply – which couldn’t be further from the truth. You cannot buy what is not there, so it will always appear that demand is low! Although it may be true that there are some parts of the UK where ethnicity is less diverse than others, it’s just a question of careful buying by beauty buyers who really, truly know their customer base. But, they can’t buy in products for a variety of tones if they don’t actually exist.
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With brands labelling self tan ‘normal to dark’, the question, as was asked of Dove last year when they threw that blooper into the ring, what is normal? What would be a very satisfactory ‘normal’ would be inclusivity of women of all skin tones within brands who are already successful; that it becomes ‘normal’ for any woman of any race to wander into the department store beauty hall and have the same choice across all counters that women of paler tones have. It would be a very nice normal if women of colour found it completely normal to have the same beauty shopping experience as any other woman. In other words, no difference in choice would be the perfect normal.
Hair is slightly different purely from a textural point of view – but a comprehensive selection would be far more desirable than the slim pickings we have right now. Over the weekend I created a Pinterest Board that I created (HERE) called Red Lipstick Grey Hair, because I love that combo on all ages and tones and wanted to showcase some pictures in case anyone else loves that look, too. I struggled hard to find any beauty pictures of women of colour with grey or greying hair, never mind the red lips! Which flags to me an under-representation. Wouldn’t it be better if you could browse the aisles of Boots and find a product for your hair type within a comprehensive and known range that has a selection for everyone? But right now, you can’t. There’s an argument for sectioning off so that finding all textured hair products in one place just makes it easier, but to me it highlights the massive disparity in choice.
So, WWD’s report is, I think, the first tiny turn off a road that we shouldn’t be on in the first place, where brands are being reminded to bring more to the global beauty community so that the variety of hair and beauty shopping choices may eventually be the same across the board.
Coming back to the Phytospecific Thermoperfect 8, anyone with thick, curly or textured hair will benefit from protecting their hair from dryers, irons and tongs, and that’s exactly what it does with ingredients specifically for those hair types; whatever your ethnicity! Containing anti-breakage amino acids, anti-heat stress with Jericho Rose and anti-dryness with fatty acid rich Black Orchid Oil, it’s a multicultural product and you can find it for £22.50 when it lands in a couple of week’s time. In the meantime, the Phytospecific range isn’t as easy to find on-line in the UK as it should be but Look Fantastic has a good selection HERE.
All products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.