A Target shopper is upset over the apparent difference in cost for Black hair care products versus hair products for less coily hair.
In a viral TikTok video that has amassed over 2 million views and 500,000 likes, user Arrington (@arrington171) expressed his frustration over the alleged hair care price inequality Black shoppers face.
“Why every time I come to the store to buy products for my hair, I come to the cash register and it’s a thousand dollars for four products?” Arrington said. “But if I had straighter, or coarse or the other type of hair, I would pay six dollars?”
Based on the comments on the video, it appears other Black shoppers could relate to the observation.
“LIKE [IT’S] SO EXPENSIVE FOR WHAT!?!?” one user wrote.
“Fr like especially Mielle like my bank is dying,” another commenter agreed, highlighting the hair care company Mielle Organics.
The Daily Dot reached out to Target, Carol’s Daughter, and Garnier Fructis for further information and reached out to Arrington via TikTok comment.
“Even if they 50% off it’s still expensive,” another person shared
The Daily Dot did a cost comparison for hair care products found on Walmart’s website and found a significant cost difference between shampoos and conditioners marketed for curly/coily hair versus straight hair. Especially if the products are sold by Black-owned businesses. For example, Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Smoothing Shampoo for Frizzy, Dry Hair— marketed for “all hair types”— costs $8.49 for 33.8 fl. oz. Meanwhile, Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Moisture & Shine Sulfate Free Shampoo for Dry Hair (for “textured, curly, dry” hair) costs around $10 for 12 fl. oz. Prices for hair lotions for curly hair types also tend to be the most expensive products.
The idea that Black people, especially women, face a “hair tax” for having curly or kinky hair is not new. In fact, research done by All Things Hair highlighted the inequality women of color face when it comes to the cost of caring for their hair and the availability of services. According to the research, “21% of Black women spend more than 25% of their monthly budget on hair products,” compared to 5% of white women who do the same.
These cost differences appear to be having an impact on how Black people style their hair and purchase products.
“It cost so much just to take care of our hair,” one user commented on Arrington’s video. “I always have to do a protective style that requires little with product.”
*First Published: Sep 12, 2023, 11:42 pm CDT
Tiffanie Drayton is a geek culture and lifestyle reporter whose work covers everything from gender and race to anime and Xbox. Her work has appeared in Complex, Salon, Marie Claire, Playboy, and elsewhere.