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Does the phrase "Afro products" offend anyone?

(17 Posts)
Wafflesnaffler Thu 28-May-09 20:38:00

Hi all, I've got this website about beauty stuff I'm just finishing off and I want a category for hair products and makeup for black/mixed race women. I'm mixed race myself and always refer to myself as having "Afro hair" etc (even though it's not a fro), I go to an "afro hairdressers" etc. But 3 questions:

1. Does this term "afro" offend anyone?
2. Does this suggest to you only hair products or does it sufficiently cover makeup for black and mixed race skin too?
3. Does this suggest the mixed race bit too or only black?

Personally I don't want to use "ethnic" (although it doesn't offend me) because it makes me think more of tie-dye skirts and joss sticks than anything else. But can anyone suggest a better term to use if "afro products" doesn't float your boat?

SOLOisMeredithGrey Fri 29-May-09 01:36:34

It makes me think of hair, not make up.
I don't find it offensiv, but I like 'ethnic' better.

muggglewump Fri 29-May-09 01:48:30

If I was reading the website, I'd understand afro to mean the products suited afro hair, or similar hair types.
I wouldn't be sure what you meant by ethnic but I guess if your hair products were aimed at afro hair, I'd guess they were more suited to black skin.

So, yes, I think of Afro as just hair, and just black rather than mixed race.

Jaquelinehyde Fri 29-May-09 02:44:02

Hi Afro to me is fine, no offence could be taken from that IMO.

However, I would never expect to find anything but haircare products under that title. Maybe an additional note about make up etc too, or a seperate area for darker skinned make up range.

Will you be doing any kids stuff, I have 3 mixed race children and am always on the look out for decent products.

nooka Fri 29-May-09 04:29:14

Afro is too widely used to be offensive surely? I would assume that it was hair products, and for afro hair, whether the person was as it were fully black or only partly. My ex SIL had three children (she is mixed race herself) one had fully afro hair, and two pretty much straight. I know people with blond afros too. I just think of it as very very curly hair and the products being suited to that. I wouldn't find ethnic helpful at all, because surely Chinese, Africans, Eastern Europeans, Inuit etc etc would all be "ethnic" from a UK point of view, but their hair would all be different and the products too?

scienceteacher Fri 29-May-09 05:53:46

My DD is white and has super curly hair - she has an Afro comb.

Is there another name for these types of combs that I should be using?

mustincreasebust Fri 29-May-09 22:50:46

Not offensive. I buy stuff from an American website that says its for 'Women of Colour'. Might be something to play with as I don't find retailors in the UK acknowledge the diversity of hair types, etc, within the 'Afro' category.

mustincreasebust Fri 29-May-09 22:55:07

p.s. Have you looked at the Mixed chicks site despite name they just target people with curly hair whatever the degree of curl if that makes sense. My white friend, who has super curly hair, and I suit the same produts as really Afro hair is just about degree of curl, IYSWIM

lilacclaire Fri 29-May-09 23:03:32

I sometimes refer to my own hair as afro (although is straightedned within an inch of its life) as it is very curly.
I wouldn't think it would be offensive, just reference to a hair type?

Wafflesnaffler Sun 31-May-09 17:42:59

Thanks everyone that's really helpful. I think in light of this I'll ditch the "afro" term.

Nooka, I agree about the word "ethnic", it would encompass a load of different people who maybe then would not find anything for them under that category. Hmmmm, it's a tough one this.

Mustincreasebust, I did consider the "Women of colour" idea at first, but not sure if UK women would find this annoying. Personally I really like it. That might be the best one actually.

Jacqueline, I won't actually be selling anything on the site (it's a reviews site to help people find beauty products that work, but it does have a kids category) but I have just found some stuff which sorts out my baby's crazy hair: Kids Organics by Africa's Best. The hairdresser sold it to me when I went in with a desperate baby-hair-related situation. Really good. That's the only stuff which I can recommend so far for mixed race kids. I'm sure I'll discover more over the years (she's only 14 months)!

Thanks again everyone. If anyone has any comments about "Women of colour" as an option please tell me before I go with it! grin

nooka Sun 31-May-09 22:50:44

I'm afraid I think "women of colour" is appalling! Apart from the fact surely the only person who could conceivably be thought of as having no colour would be an Albino (and even then you'd be talking about melatonin, not colour). It just sounds to me grim and horribly American in a "festive season" kind of way. Fine if you are aiming for the US market of course!

Why not just go for the straight descriptive? Products for very curly hair? Products for dark skin etc? Pictures are highly descriptive, so use some of them too.

nooka Sun 31-May-09 22:51:50

I'm afraid I think "women of colour" is appalling! Apart from the fact surely the only person who could conceivably be thought of as having no colour would be an Albino (and even then you'd be talking about melatonin, not colour). It just sounds to me grim and horribly American in a "festive season" kind of way. Fine if you are aiming for the US market of course!

Why not just go for the straight descriptive? Products for very curly hair? Products for dark skin etc? Pictures are highly descriptive, so use some of them too.

nooka Sun 31-May-09 22:52:03

Oops!

Wafflesnaffler Mon 01-Jun-09 09:37:20

Hahaha yeah I did think a lot of British women might find it annoying! Curses. I can't have the specific product lists you suggest at this stage because the bit I'm trying to name is just the first "level" of the menu, under which I can then put all those particular things like hair, skin etc etc. There are so many products that in order to make it clear I need one big category to put all the little ones in, if you see what I mean, and it's this big category I am having trouble naming!

What about "Black & Mixed Race"? Maybe I'll try asking this in the multicultural families forum and see what people say.

Cheers Nooka

Timbuktu Mon 01-Jun-09 12:25:36

Yes I think 'Black and mixed race' would be perfect. 'Afro' to me means only black and in reference to hair. 'Women of colour' really makes me cringe and as nooka said makes no practical sense.

Thanks for the recommendation for 'kids organics' - my dds hair, who is mixed race, is driving me bananas at the moment!

mustincreasebust Mon 01-Jun-09 18:15:12

Hi Waffles, wasn't actually suggesting you call it 'Women of Colour', which is American naffness, just sharing very clumsily what I have seen. Black and Mixed Race sounds like straightforward and clearcut so I would go with that.

I also second Nooka's suggestion to do a site for curlies. Most curly haired women of whatever description tend to have some similiar underlying problems i.e. tangles, frizzyness, dry hair, etc.

nooka Tue 02-Jun-09 04:10:24

Black and Mixed race is absolutely fine. Does what is says on the tin as it were. You might want to add a note somewhere saying that some of the products in this section are suitable for those who are not black or mixed race (or perhaps not aware of the latter, given our rather diverse gene pool in the UK) but still have very curly hair.

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