Whether your hair is on display has very little to do with how much you care about it. This is something British blogger Amena Khan—a hijab wearer herself—reminds audiences of in a new groundbreaking campaign with L’Oreal Paris.
In the new ad campaign, Khan, who has her own cosmetics and headscarves lines, exudes pink, with her headscarf, top, lipstick, and background featuring different shades of the color. She then recites the line, “Whether or not your hair is on display doesn’t affect how much you care about it.”
Speaking to Vogue UK, Khan commended L’Oreal Paris for actually including a woman in a headscarf in the campaign, and for valuing the voices of hijab-wearing women. Besides, Khan asks, while she doesn’t wear her headscarf with family or with loved ones, why should it matter who sees her hair in the first place?
“You have to wonder—why is it presumed that women that don’t show their hair don’t look after it? The opposite of that would be that everyone that does show their hair only looks after it for the sake of showing it to others. And that mindset strips us of our autonomy and our sense of independence,” Khan told the publication.
Khan, who began wearing a headscarf in her twenties, says she constantly felt under-represented in the media growing up, to the point where her own dreams of starring on TV were dissuaded. Even today, brands such as Nike and CoverGirl are creating products for and representing hijab-wearing women, but this inclusion in popular branding is just the beginning.
“I think seeing a campaign like this would have given me more of a sense of belonging. I trusted L’Oréal that they would communicate the message well,” Khan said. “If the message is authentic and the voice behind it is authentic, you can’t deny what’s being said.”
In the days since Khan first posted the ad to her Instagram account the feedback has been positive and thankful, with other hijab-wearing women sharing their problems with the underrepresentation of hijabis in advertising.
“This is what this ignorant world needs! I mean, as a hijabi, how many of us have been asked infamous questions like, ‘Do you have hair under there?’ ‘Do you wash your hair?’ And silly statements like, ‘You don’t need to look after your hair, you can get away with a bad hair day,'” one commenter responded. “Sure we can hide a bad hair day with ease, but hello? Hijabis love their hair too. I love love love this.”
“I love that L’Oreal is paying attention to women that wear a hijab, because we are all women with the same concerns,” another commenter wrote on Khan’s post. However, she wants to continue to see L’Oreal push forward: “It would be nice if they can include an African woman or a woman of African descent that has true features and hair texture of an African, so that African women can get the true testimony of [the] product.”
Watch the full L’Oreal Paris ad featuring Khan and other women below: