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Dove Children's hair confidence

Hair Discrimination and Children: Help to Build Your Child’s Hair Confidence

Our connection with our hair starts at an early age – and many of us have memories of a parent doing our hair as a child. In the Black community, hair isn’t just something to style, it represents culture, pride and identity. But, despite the joy surrounding Black hair, Black people are unfairly discriminated against based on their natural hair texture and styles. This issue doesn’t just affect Black adults. Black children are facing racial hair bias which is deeply affecting their self-esteem. This needs to stop.

Beauty is for everyone  and nobody should be left out – that’s why we’re dedicated to empowering Black women and children through the Dove Self-Esteem Project. In 2021, we launched the CROWN UK fund to invest £170,000 into Black-owned, grassroots projects to empower the next generation. We’re also committed to supporting initiatives that celebrate Black hair and create actionable change – that's why we're taking action by launching our ‘My Hair, My Crown’ resource kit – a tool to build allyship and create a respectful and open world for natural hair. Let's boost and uplift hair confidence in kids with coils, curls, waves and protective styles like braids and bantu knots.

How beauty standards affect the confidence of Black children

Beauty standards dictate what the world sees as beautiful and it affects how people are treated. From an early age, Black children face unattainable beauty ideals that are fuelled by racial discrimination. Our research found that many Black girls say that they first experienced negativity about their appearance at 8 years old, and the top critique they received was in relation to their hair*.

Beauty stereotypes are harmful. Not only do they affect physical confidence, they affect our mental wellbeing too. Black children are often treated unfairly at school because of how they look. Black hairstyles are seen as untidy and unruly. Can you imagine being suspended for wearing your natural hair? It doesn’t stop there. Black children are even excluded from the media they consume. The heroes in books and films are often white, with straight hair. Representation matters but Black children rarely see people that look like them being represented and championed.

Why self-esteem is so important at a young age

When children face race-based hair discrimination, they are made to feel less than. This affects their education and behaviour, and it can impact the rest of their lives. Childhood makes up our most formative years – it’s when we learn, develop and understand who we are. Self-esteem is important for children to believe in themselves, have the confidence to try new things, and face challenges. The effects of not feeling good enough are dangerous and long-lasting.  No child should grow up not feeling beautiful, respected or accepted.

We’re committed to taking action to stamp out hair discrimination in the UK. With our parent company, Unilever, we were the first supporters of the Halo Code – the UK’s first set of guidelines to protect the rights of staff and students to embrace all Afro-hairstyles and protective styles. Add your signature today and let’s create change together.

 

How can you boost Black hair confidence?

  1. Find role models that your child can look up to
    We all want someone to admire. From musicians to scientists, look for notable Black people who can become a positive role model for your child.
     
  2. Share your story
    Tell them about the times you experienced low confidence and how you overcame it. You can help them understand that times of low self-esteem are often temporary.
     
  3. Create a safe space to talk
    Saying how we feel can be scary. When your child wants to speak, be present and actively acknowledge their concerns. Remind them that how others view them isn’t a reflection of them. Download the My Hair, My Crown toolkit and get started with a young person in your life.

 

*Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, 2017. Study of body esteem across 14 countries with girls 10 to 17 years old

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