« Black » Beauty: activist above all
The years 1960-1970 marked a turning point in the history of « black » beauty. This is the beginning of recognition of the existence of beautiful black girls different from that of the Caucasian skin population. The « Black is beautiful » slogan and the legendary Afro hairstyle become the symbol of a political claim.
Katell Pouliquen, deputy editor of L’Express Styles and author of the recent book « Afro, une celebration » (September 2012), said: « initially the Afro, it is a claim and identity history for me it goes hand in hand with respect. Claiming to be afro in the 1960s when being black is to withstand to beautiful white aesthetic. America in 1950, 1960 was extremely violent for blacks American, segregated, and lynched, not allowed voting rights in some southern states. So we start from there. »*
In the 2000s, a new phenomenon joins the history of the African beauty « Nappy » women. Contraction of the terms « Natural » and « Happy », this term refers to a tendency to be « happy in a natural way. »
You can read many testimonials:
« I applied your valuable advice that you give in your blog and I see the difference, it’s only been a month since I am » properly « caring for my hair and I feel it is in better health. Thank you very much »
« Yes I think we have to get rid of European codes that smooth and long hair would be more glamorous! It’s hard not to judge people according to our own reference and us (black community) we lost our own benchmark concerning hair! But it is changing you are proving it to us with these nappygirl photos »**
Moreover, the Natural Hair Academy (2nd edition), an event dedicated to « Nappy » women, co-organized by AK-a, the ethnic marketing agency bellebene.com, will be held on 9 and 10 March in Paris.
Afro women’s cosmetics routines
Demanding consumers looking for quality
Black and mixed race women are particularly attentive to their appearance which allows them to express their feminine and ethnic identity. Their budget for beauty products appears much higher than that of Caucasian skin women. Indeed, they spend between five to eight times more according to the segments. ***
« The price elasticity is lower among African-French women who do not hesitate to pay the price if efficacy is proven, » said Didier Mandin, associate director of ethnic marketing agency AK-a.
In 2012, the Hygiene study Afro Beauty Ak-a revealed that the French African women are more and more away from standards of Western beauty and wish assert their differences. Thus, 39% of French African women report having no hair straightened which represents an increase of 63% compared to 2008. Previously insensitive to the potential dangers of straightening products, the French African women are now more attentive to the impact of cosmetics on their bodies. 72% of French and African women attach importance to the composition of hair products they buy.****
A structured market by « word of mouth »
The cosmetics market to the French African women is obviously wearer. However, 73% of concerned women report having problems finding specific products for their African origin.
Moreover, according to Didier Mandin, associate director of ethnic marketing agency, African women do not always find products that fit their type of hair or skin tone, they do not hesitate to become « products junkies » that is to say, they test everything before to choose their own beauty routine. Therefore, the « word of mouth » is particularly affecting women in the French African population.
They share information, advice and tips. The blogosphere « Black Beauty » grows day by day and women do not hesitate to go dig into these new sources of information.
Initiatives are beginning to emerge in the GMS: Dop released in April 2012, a range of treatments for Mediterranean hair, Mixa is clearly aimed at women with black and mixed race skin, and Gemey-Maybelline extends its range of foundation. The fact remains that the African cosmetics category needs to be structured and needs to evolve in order to meet an exacting demand from its consumers.
Task manager/ PhD student in Sociology*Article : «Afro, une célébration», the story of black cosmetics, by Carmen Lunsmann on Radio France Internationale, 09/10/2012, **Journal d’une Nappy Girl ***Article : La prometteuse beauté ethnique, study source Ak-a, 2010, ****Afro Hygiene and Beauty Survey 2012 : Study carried out online by AK-A intermediary panelof 20 000 members from 28 May to 17 June 2012 on 960 French black women between 18-54 living in metropolitan France Ak-a : Ethnic marketing agency Leave a comment