Students struggle with scarcity of natural hair products near campus

Angelica Arinze

Students with natural and textured hair have expressed dissatisfaction with the limited stock and availability of natural hair care products in stores near campus. 

Natural hair care products are products that cater to hair ranging from kinky to coily textured hair and include brands such as Shea Moisture, Miss Jessie’s and The Mane Choice. These brands can be found at retailers such as Target and Walmart.

According to recent research by Mintel, a global market research firm, nearly 40% of consumers said they bought more natural hair care products in 2016 than in previous years. 

Despite the growing consumer demands, classical languages freshman Wendy Niba said she still struggles to find hair products that suit her needs. 

“My mother has had to ship me hair products from Dallas,” Niba said. “The only place I’ve found with a few natural hair products is Target, and even then the products (there) are so limited that I wasn’t able to find what I needed.”

Target employee Marissa Williams works in the beauty section at the Guadalupe Street location. She said the store’s hair care section isn’t as diverse as it could be, but it has made strides toward being inclusive in its product variety. 

“As our store has become more popular and we’ve settled into our place and become less new, I think we’ve begun to get products that are more catered to a demographic that is more diverse,” Marissa said. “I know we are a smaller store, so we don’t have everything.” 

Madison Goodrich, director of the Black Presidents Leadership Council in Afrikan American Affairs, said she hopes Austin makes their stores more inclusive.

“I wish that there were more black hair products and beauty supply stores (in Austin),” said Goodrich, government and African American studies senior. “Maybe the small black population makes it so stores don’t carry black hair products, but I definitely think that needs to change, especially as Austin grows and hopes to diversify.”

Elleanor Ross, textiles and apparel freshman, said she believes the scarcity of these products at stores near campus makes the products more expensive.

“I’m not going to spend 20 plus dollars on shampoo or conditioner, so I mostly make my own,” Ross said. “It’s not really fair that we have to travel farther and spend even more money on hair products just because we don’t have the luxury of just having a store right by us.”