If the world has taught us anything, it’s that people of color define diversity. Our hair type and complexion fall on a extremely wide spectrum. For years the beauty industry ignored the needs of the Black and Brown community by limiting their products to those who fit within their guideline. Once entrepreneurs started creating products that reflected their needs, bigger companies followed suit. Brands took an active role in becoming more inclusive to various skin tones and hair textures. While this is step in the right direction, haircare brand Aveda shows us there’s still a ways to go. This week, Aveda charge a curly haired customer of color a $10.00 “texture fee” because her hair would require more products.
“So I just got charged $10 extra at Aveda salon for the “textured” hair fee. The woman at the counter said, “It’s because we have to use extra product. It’s not meant to be discriminatory.”
Is it just me or is that not okay?“
It’s not you. And no, this is not okay. Audre continued to say, “The response was that all curly-haired folks get charged more, especially when flat-ironed. It’s the principle. If I am paying u to wash and style my hair, just because its curly doesn’t mean it takes more product or time. It just means there’s a different styling process.”
Another user responded, “Why is straight hair the standard? All bodies should be treated equally. @aveda is surcharging based on genetics. Norm or not, it’s not ethical.”
Aveda caught wind of the commotion and responded to Audre saying, “We’re concerned to hear of your experience, @k_lisarae. Please DM us with additional information. While our salons are independently owned and operated, we will ensure this matter is shared with the appropriate teams.“
Once again, there is an issue that screams lack of diversity. A customer shouldn’t have to pay a fee because their hair texture requires more product. Perhaps a modification of the products that address the needs of curly, kinky, and coily hair is a better solution.
Planet earth is the home to billions of people who look, speak, and act differently. In such a diverse world, we still encounter these moments that make people of color question why their physical attributes are not good enough to co-exist with everyone else’s. Although Aveda stated they’re “independently owned and operated”, this mentality is not specific to the store that Audre visited. This policy is practiced by other companies all over the world.
Audre and Aveda have not come to a conclusion yet, but I hope she is vindicated. What is likely to happen is Aveda will put out a statement and conduct an equity and inclusion training for their staff. This has become the formula brands resort to when their employees lack good judgement. It’s time for brands to look inward and figure out a better solution.
*We reached out to Audre but heard nothing back by time of publication*