Head & Shoulders accused of cultural appropriation with 'English braid' style

Head & Shoulders has been accused of cultural appropriation after naming a hairstyle comprised of three slim braids the ‘English braid’.

The hair care brand say that they created the look in partnership with The Braid Bar in support of the Fifa Women’s World Cup this summer.

The three braids are meant to represent the three lions and fans are encouraged to wear the look when watching the Lionesses play this June.

However, some critics have taken issue with the name – ‘English braid’ – when the style appears to look exactly like cornrows or canerows – a traditional African style, specific for those with Afro hair.

Writing on Twitter, Nadine White, who spotted the launch of the style in Hello Magazine, said, ‘These look like cornrows/canerows … There’s concern that this “rebranding” is cultural appropriation.’

‘Brraid [sic] it like Beckham. Jesus wept, we can’t have anything,’ replied one Twitter user.

‘English braid it IS NOT. Its centuries old and AFRICAN,’ added another.

As much as we all want to get behind the England team this summer, we’re sure there’s a way of doing that without erasing the rich history of this ancient, African style.

But Head & Shoulders says that was never their intention.

Responding to the criticism, a Head & Shoulders spokesperson explained the thinking behind the style; ‘Head & Shoulders partnered with The Braid Bar to create the design.

‘It has three braids on the scalp to signify the three Lions on the England football shirt, the three braids can be worn in any preferred braid style. Head & Shoulders is encouraging fans to wear the braid to show their support for the English Women’s Football Team this summer.

‘Head & Shoulders did not intend to undermine any existing cultural hair heritage with the naming of this style, it was designed to allow fans to show their support for the team.’

The spokesperson went on to tell Metro.co.uk that the name of the style is now being reviewed.

A spokesperson from The Braid Bar added; ‘Head & Shoulders briefed The Braid Bar to create a design that can be styled on all hair types to show a healthy scalp which is the core benefit of Head & Shoulders.

‘The braid will be used to encourage support for the English Women’s Football Team this summer.

‘In response to the brief we created a style that has three braids on the scalp to signify the three Lions on the England football shirt. The three braids can be worn in any preferred braid style.’

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