Customers Express Concern About SheaMoisture's Marketing Shift

Beauty brand SheaMoisture came under fire earlier this week after they tweeted an image featuring a white child. Many questioned the lack of diversity in their brand-created assets.

In recent months, the beauty brand has demonstrated impressive growth. It's clear they're not looking to be pigeonholed. Their offerings include cosmetics and products for men and babies and can be found in major retailers like Target. And it appears that the company is looking to expand it's "mainstream" reach.

The photo that started the conversation this week, however, wasn't the first time the company, which grew to prominence because of their natural hair products, has featured white children.

Here are all of the stock photos they've posted on their social media accounts this month.

 photo Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.37.18 PM_zps9cfqf9kl.png

 photo Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.36.28 PM_zpsklcbtp9o.png

 photo Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.37.58 PM_zpspguzb1eh.png

 photo Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.36.58 PM_zpspnurtcvz.png

 photo Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.36.11 PM_zpsk3eqqssm.png

 photo Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.37.32 PM_zpsenevlohp.png

 photo Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 2.38.28 PM_zps1dxpregd.png

SheaMoisture took to Twitter to explain their photo choice.

We came across an image of a little girl with a puzzled expression that we imagine our #SheaFamily has when they run out of product, so we shared it with you. No ad. No agenda. As a certified minority-owned business, we are so proud of our heritage, our community and how far we've come — from a village market in Sierra Leone, to the streets of Harlem, to retailers throughout the U.S. With your support, we've been able to bring change, diversity and variety to retail. We hope you continue to join us in celebrating how the versatility of our products can help people everywhere.
The company also features user-submitted photos that feature Black customers as well as YouTube videos created by Black women including Vlogging superstars like Naptural85 and MahoganyCurls.

A SheaMoisture representative could not be reached for further comment.

Does the marketing bother you?

Kimberly Foster is the Founder and Editor of COLOURES. Email or


  1. As a black female has used the Curl Enhancing Smoothie DAILY for years, I'm a little offended. They couldn't find one black/brown/high-yellow baby.

    As a marketer/business person, "shea" is not just a black community thing anymore. Shea Moisture has a whole line of products, especially baby products they can appeal to anyone of any background. If my product is being sold in Target, I don't just want to be in the "black hair section" of the store, if I have lots of other products... I want that loyal Johnson and Johnson customer.

  2. Perception and imagery is everything in the retail world. Hopefully this is a lesson learned.

  3. Seems to me there are Asian and Latino children also featured along with white children. It appears to me the company is trying to be all inclusive! Something most American blacks refuse to be!

    1. With the amount of appropriation that happens within our culture I would say:
      a) we are VERY inclusive
      b) but we get pushed out of certain aspects of our culture which could explain why some people are not inclusive.

    2. If you are too dense or unconcerned to sit down and wonder why (spoiler: self defense and preservation), then please stop talking. Black people are immediately devalued or ignored when we try to be "inclusive". Ugh..

  4. The ads don't bother me, but I understand why they bother some. Black people are just as likely to buy a product with a white person on it as they are with black people on the product. We buy what we need. But we hardly see black people represented on those products. We use products that start off pandering to blacks, usually there is no picture at all, or it starts of using black people, then gradually that fazes out; and it seems not to be inclusive, but to phase out any black or especially dark-skinned people. If, we as black consumers, can buy products that have pictures or ads with white people only, then why don't ads reflect that? White people still buy CDs with black people on the cover, etc. Don't have to change the picture on the front to coax people to buy your product. We already don't see our image enough, in a positive light, on products of beauty or ads, so, when a product that we have been loyal to, starts to pander to other people who ignored them otherwise, well step up your ad game, but let it be known, this is black-owned, don't hide behind an image that doesn't even represent who you are.

  5. Black people are so awesome. Anything we touch commercially becomes a success! However, AFTER it becomes a success we (yes even by our own) are moved out of the way,told we're being too sensitive, and to be more open. Bla 's are the most inclusive of all races in America, but get the least credit for that. It seems as if once mainstream notoriety is achieved brands distance themselves from their association with us. Even though we were the customer base that help propel them to the mainstream to begin with. Sigh...Even in this instance, this will die down, loyal consumers will continue to patronize this brand, and they and their dollars will continue to be pushed to the background.


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