86% of Black women in the US experience pain points when shopping for hair products
The hair experts at All Things Hair (a publication by Unilever) conducted a survey targeting US women of different ethnicities above the age of 16 to investigate hair inequality.
- Only 14% of Black women say that they experience “no pain points” when buying hair products
- African American women spend x4 more on hair care each month than Caucasian women
- African American women have to travel the furthest to get to a hair salon that really caters to their hair type
The survey reveals that women of color with 4c hair are experiencing an ‘Afro Tax’: price discrimination, and a lack of availability and variety of hair care services and products.
African American women spend x4 times more on hair care than Caucasian women, with 21% spending more than 25% of their monthly budget on hair care compared to only 5% of Caucasian women:
Hair Product Pain Points
The survey also reveals that women of color in the US are experiencing major pain points when shopping for hair products: 33% of Black women say their pain point when buying hair products is the lack of variety compared to 20% of White women. Adding to this, 21% of Caucasian women say that they have “no pain points” when buying hair products in the US compared to just 14% of Black women and 8% of Hispanic & Latino women.
Shopping for Hair Products
The survey reveals that women with 4c hair in the US find it the most difficult to find products that suit their hair while women with straight hair find it the least difficult: 37% of women with coily hair say that it is difficult to find products that suit their hair compared to only 13% of women with straight hair.
Despite black consumers making up 11.1% of the total US beauty market, these figures emphasize that women of color encounter multiple friction points when shopping for hair and beauty products and that their experience within the beauty industry “is markedly more frustrating than that of other people” (McKinsey).
The survey also shows that 20% of US women say that it is difficult to find products that suit their hair while Multiracial & Biracial women experience the most difficulty:
Visiting the Hair Salon
The survey reveals that a quarter (24%) of American women don’t even go to hair salons, with Multiracial & Biracial women being the least likely to go to hair salons, which is likely due to the time it takes to travel to a salon that truly caters to their hair type:
The survey also shows that African American women go to hair salons the most frequently: 6% of Black women go to a hair salon once a week (double the consumer average). Adding to this, African American women have to travel the furthest to get to a hair salon that really caters to their hair type:
The survey also reveals that African American women spend the most time at hair salon appointments while Caucasian women spend the least amount of time: 18% of Black women spend more than 3 hours at hair salon appointments (triple the average of 6%) while almost half (46%) of White women spend less than 1 hour at hair salon appointments (higher than the average of 40%).
Hair Salon Spending Habits
The survey also shows that half of women with 4c hair spend more than $100 in hair salons (double the consumer average of 24%). African American women spend the most money, with 36% spending more than $100 at salons, followed by 34% of Multiracial & Biracial women, 27% of Hispanic & Latino women, 21% of White & Caucasian women, and 19% of Asian women.
Collectively, these figures show that African American women are spending more money in hair salons, visiting hair salons more regularly, and spending more time at hair salon appointments despite having to travel the furthest to find a hair salon that really caters to their hair type.
Nelly Ghansah, Natural Hair Editor at All Things Hair, comments:
“In a society where we have progressed so much, hair inequality remains a huge issue. Our goal is to shed light on the inequalities that black and brown women face in the haircare space and the many strides that are being made to combat this issue.”
The full report can be found at All Things Hair
The survey investigates hair inequality in the US. The survey was conducted by 3Gem Research & Insights in March 2023. The survey targeted 2,000 US women of different ethnicities above the age of 16. The ethnicity fallout was based upon representative data in the US and included White or Caucasian, Asian, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American or Alaskan Native, Multiracial or Biracial, and Another Race.
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