Professor Thuli Madonsela says the Clicks Black Hair advert matter is a textbook case of unconscious bias.
In a series of tweets, the former public protector said calling it out is great but violence and anarchy undermines the cause.
Madonsela says it is imperative for people to examine their own perceptions about black beauty and life.
Last week, in a campaign run on Clicks’ website an advert classified two black women’s hair as, “dry and damaged” and “frizzy and dull”, while the two white women’s hair were classified as “fine and flat hair” as well as “normal hair”.
In response to the advert, the EFF staged nationwide protests against Clicks.