SheaMoisture Commercial Asks Why 'Ethnic' Beauty Aisles Exist


Beauty brand SheaMoisture released its first commercial on Tuesday after nearly 25 years in business. The impactful short film illustrates the discriminatory divide in drugstore aisles for beauty products for women of color and is already being praised online for tackling the problem head on. 

SheaMoisture's parent company, Sundial Brands, was founded in 1992 by African migrants and is still family owned. Bain Capital took a minority investment in September, when sources told The Wall Street Journal that the company was valued at $200 million. The move scared customers who thought SheaMoisture would abandon its core African-American customers, but it looks like Bain's support paved the way for the Shea Moisture's first commercial, produced by creative agency Droga5. 

In the new spot, SheaMoisture speaks directly to its core customer base — women, men and infants of color — and encourages them to #BreakTheWalls. It also released a behind-the-scenes clip featuring regular women and beauty vloggers discussing the beauty aisle divide. "I have often said over the last 20 years that the beauty aisle is the last place in America where segregation is still legal," said Sundial CEO Richelieu Dennis in a statement. "[S]eparating 'beauty' from 'ethnic' has only served to further perpetuate narrow standards of what is considered beautiful in our industry and our society – which is why we began leading the efforts to break down those walls."

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We, women of color, have internalized this feeling all of our lives and accept the fact we will only be able to find products for our hair texture in the “Ethnic” aisle. By insisting its products be sold in the beauty aisle, SheaMoisture has taken bold action to break down the segregated barriers of beauty products — because all beauty belongs in the beauty section.