DISCLAIMER: Before I begin this post, I want to make it very clear that I am not bashing Tracee Ellis Ross or any other company spokesperson, in any way, shape, or form. My intention is to call out the practice of masked advertising and sponsored promotion as an educated consumer.
I recall the first time I read about Tracee Ellis Ross’ hair routine and favorite products in the NY Times, calling out Kim Kimble, Bumble and Bumble, Aestelance, and Moraccanoil. Less than a year later, she was interviewed by Curly Nikki and listed Optimum Care 6-in-1 Oil and Moisturizer as her favorite products, which obviously caused a lot of discussion in the curly hair community since she is a frequently mentioned (and admired) curly idol for a lot of women. It wasn’t until I learned that she had recently become the latest spokesperson for Softsheen-Carson/Optimum Care that this made sense as it was not mentioned at all in the previous interview. Fast forward to today – Glamour released an interview with Tracee Ellis Ross last week sharing her “favorite” curly hair products, which called out Optimum Care’s Amla line.
I’m sure you’re reading this like, okay, so what? Well, here’s the thing: it’s becoming more and more difficult to identify what is an ad and what isn’t. In the social media age, celebrities are constantly posting pictures of their lives online and brands are seeking quick publicity by paying them to post their products. And while the Federal Trade Commission has attempted to regulate this type of activity, it’s nearly impossible to prove that a celeb isn’t posting or mentioning a product simply because they like it. The same goes for interviews – it’s a classic public relations tactic to “pitch” products to celebrities’ management and send them for free or flat out pay for mentions.
If you aren’t an informed consumer (and love buying the same products as your fave celebs), you may be misled to buy products that you otherwise would have never touched. I mean, look at the Optimum Care Amla Oil‘s ingredients – the first two ingredients are cyclopentasiloxane and dimethicone and actual amla oil is towards the end – hardly impressive. Their Damage Antidote Oil Moisturizer lists mineral oil as the second ingredient. Yea, I’ll pass.
But hey, they really might be Tracee’s favorite products. I know that I’ve fallen in love with products after they were sent to me. Either way, I guess we’ll never know (definitely not trying to mess up her coins, lol), so make sure you are looking at ingredients when you’re looking for new products and not flocking to products just because your fave curly claims to love them. Even if their hair is absolutely gorgeous.
How do you think transparency should be enforced with celebrities?
**This post also appears on Black Girl with Long Hair.