Now that I’m going natural, I’m becoming much more aware of the products I put into my hair.
For example, alcohol is in the vast majority of styling products and it can be very drying to the hair.
I bet if you read the labels of most of your styling products, you will see that alcohol is one of the first ingredients.
And the fact that it’s listed as one of the first ingredients means there is quite a bit included.
Be careful about buying certain products in your neighborhood beauty supply stores. Yes, some of them may be cheap, but what are you putting in your hair? Can you pronounce what’s on those labels? Scary isn’t it?
Also watch out for mineral and petroleum oils. You can find these in many moisturizing products and hair sheen sprays.
Mineral and petroleum oils coat the hair and may help give it a glossy shine, but they can also clog the pores and make your hair more prone to breakage.
The “Organic” Claim
How many times have you bought something because it said “organic” on the label? We are becoming a health conscious society and companies know this so they do what they can to make you believe their products are organic.
Many products are made with less than 10% of organic ingredients, but because of that one organic substance, companies slap the big O-word on the label to encourage you to buy.
It’s all marketing, folks!
There is even a company called “Organics” (clever of them to choose that name, huh?) and they sell products like shea butter and other “natural moisturizers.” But if you read the labels, sometimes the title ingredient isn’t even one of the first few listed on the label.
Before I knew any better, I bought some castor oil from my local beauty supply. When I read the label, castor oil was not mentioned until the 6th ingredient!
Companies know most people don’t read or comprehend labels so they successfully pass these products off as “healthy”, “organic” products. When in fact, many are not.
Cheap Manufacturing is the Goal
Often times hair products are laced with alcohol and other mineral oils. Why? Because they are much cheaper to manufacture. On the surface they seem to be great for the hair because they add sheen and appear to moisturize.
I say “appear” because many of them just coat the outer layer and don’t penetrate the entire strand. So you end up coated hair that’s weighed down and not properly moisturized.
The So-Called “Black Hair Care” Products
There are certain brands and products that we consider “black hair care products” in our community. Most of them can be found at your local beauty supply store and hard to find anywhere else.
Even though we classify them as “black hair products”, most of them are mass produced by large (white) corporations that don’t have a clue about how to maintain our hair.
These same companies also know that African Americans spend more on hair care than any other race. But what’s even worse, we are spending our money on the wrong products.
Best Place to Buy Hair Care Products
I now buy most of my hair care products from either Amazon.com (cheaper), or health food stores (Whole Foods, Central Market, Vitamin Shoppe, etc.) I look for labels that read “100% Pure” (for oils) and I also read the ingredients on the label.
If the main ingredient is not one of the first two, and it lists a bunch of things that I cannot pronounce, I don’t buy it.
There Are Some Exceptions to These Rules
OK, so you’ve been using a lot of these “bad” products for years and your hair may be just fine. Why should you change now?
The answer is simple. You don’t have to. If you are happy with your hair and it seems to respond well to your regimen, then keep using what you use. Not everyone’s hair responds negatively to mineral oil. After all, no one knows your hair better than you.
For example, Pink Oil Moisturizer is known to contain mineral oil, but the product works fine with my hair in small amounts. However, I’ve still made the decision to use more organic oils instead.
But if your hair is breaking off, drying out or doesn’t appear to be as healthy, try switching to more organic products and pay attention to the label.
If a company is advertising something as “Organic Olive Oil Moisturizer” then why does it need 8 non-organic ingredients? And why isn’t olive oil the first thing listed?
Now you know it’s because they can mass produce the product with cheaper ingredients to drive down the cost of production and maximize profits. They are getting filthy rich off our ignorance.
In fact, the next time you need some olive oil moisturizer, just open your kitchen cabinet and use that. At least you’ll know what’s going into your hair.