This weekend I decided to delve into answering the emails I have allowed to pile up over the last few weeks. I had more than a few requests for reviews from various new “natural” hair care lines. I place quotations around the word natural for a few reasons: First, as I’ve said so many times, the product does not know if your hair is relaxed or natural. If it is a shampoo or co-wash product…will it not clean chemically treated hair? Will the moisturizer feel the broken chemical bonds within each strand of relaxed hair and suddenly repel away from your head? Granted, chemically treated hair (relaxed and colored alike) have some different needs, but for the most part what products work are determined by the individual…not whether you are relaxed or natural. So even labeling an entire product line as being for natural hair only annoys me.
Another thing that irks me about many of the newer natural hair care lines, especially from major retailers, is they are playing with our emotions. Using key “trigger” words they’ve learned that WE look for in our products from lurking our blogs, hair forums and watching YouTube videos. So many products are attractively packaged in green and brown colored bottles to signify their “naturalness” with phrases like “No petroleum, No Mineral Oil, No Sulfates” splayed across the labeling. And like fools women flock to it. The smarter brands bump it up a notch by adding delicious sounding foods like butter, pudding, souffle, and jelly to the name; Viola! It is an instant best seller! Never mind the fact that many of these lines contain synthetic ingredients and horrible fillers like lanolin in place of the missing petroleum and mineral oil.
As I peruse the aisles of my favorite drug or beauty supply store, I often find myself listening to women debate about which of these products to purchase. Like children, they chatter excitedly about which item is best and will help them along their (often time new) natural hair journey. They grapple if they should drop $20 on a detangler or go with the cheaper version. Almost always, the more natural looking brand wins out…especially if it promises to enhance curls. Hook, line and sinker!!!
Now, I won’t give unsolicited advice but anytime my hair draws attention or a compliment, I seize the opportunity to give my two cents about the INGREDIENTS of the products in their hands and offer a few suggestions.
I’m just so tired of feeling as if Black women, for all our vast growing knowledge in taking better care of our hair, are still being taken advantage of with new marketing ploys. It seems every other day a new “natural” hair care line pops up! Are you over it? Although I don’t have a firm stance on the subject, what I do know is that we have more than enough quality brands that contain ingredients to keep our hair healthy, natural or not. Whether or not there is room for more is debatable.