A lot of ladies ‘round these hair-oriented internets have a mantra of not caring about having long hair, just healthy hair. I think that’s great.
I, however, happen to want healthy hair that is also big, healthy hair that is also long. It seems like wanting big/long hair is sometimes considered frivolous, however, and I don’t really know why.
I’ve even detected some aggression toward those who have or are still pursuing long hair, with some others chiding against being “length obsessed.” I do admit that even I find it refreshing to hear from ladies who are more interested enjoying their hair and playing with it, trying new styles and techniques. After all, it’s not terribly interesting to hear about what you’re doing hair-wise, when you’re in a wig for 6 month stretches, or a five year bunning challenge. Really, how many ways can you describe how you moisturize your Miss Celie braids under your lacefront?
YouTube hair “celebrities” like HairCrush and Longhairdontcare2011 seem to get an inordinately high dose of eHaterade (though, to me, even 1 “dislike” on a video is an inordinately high dose, since I think both of these ladies are lovely and totally pleasant). Indeed, I aspire to retain length as well as these two have.
Honestly, I’m just straight up hair obsessed, so my obsession with length is just part of the package. I want healthy hair too, just like everyone else. It’s not like I’m trying to grow waist length hair that’s fried, dyed and to the side with some raggedy-ass ends. But, I DO want to grow my hair down to my waist. Actually, fuck a waist. I want to grow it as long as I possibly can. And…what’s so wrong with that?
In May, I passed the one year mark of being obsessed with my own hair. I must say, I’m quite pleased with the amount of length I have retained, since beginning this undertaking of growing my hair as
ridiculously fucking huge long as I can.
That’s some shea butter. When I first began getting my shit together hair-wise last year, shea butter was one of the first things I purchased.* It’s basically mandatory that every black girl has a tub of shea butter stashed somewhere in her house. I figured I was no exception.
The problem was, I didn’t really care for it. Maybe it was the type of mixes I was making with my shea butter at the time, but after numerous attempts to get into the whole shea thing, I just didn’t get it. It didn’t really do anything special for my hair, I found it hard to work with, and as time went on, I found other things that worked better for me— like Vatika oil, which is my lover and baby daddy.
Anyway. Since I live in LA, I take extra precautions to make sure I protect my skin from the sun year round. And, now that it’s summer, shit gets really real and really fucking hot, so I step up my sunscreen game even more. It occurred to me that I ought to figure out how to protect my hair better from the sun, as well.
I remembered reading that shea butter has some degree of UV protection naturally, so I decided to revisit the whole shea butter thing, while also switching my leave-in moisturizer to one that boasts UV protection (Lord knows if it really does provide any sun protection, though). Incidentally, Happy Girl Hair and Jc over at The Natural Haven both did writeups which reference protecting hair from harmful UV rays, and the sun protection factor of shea butter, so you guys can check out their posts, too. They contain 507% fewer f-bombs than this blog.
I also did a little more research on shea butter mixes, and came across various versions of “shealoe,” which, in its most basic recipe, is just shea butter and aloe vera gel mixed together. I decided to whip up a batch, adding in some coconut oil, as well.
CHIIIIILE. I can say I finally get it. There really is something to this shea butter thing, after all. Turns out you just have to figure out how to use it in a way that works for your hair. After my first trial batch of my version of shealoe, I adapted my recipe and made a bigger batch the second time around. I’m really loving the shine I get from my mix, and I’ll share my recipe on here in an upcoming post. Maybe I’ll even do a video about it. I’m sure you guys are sick of seeing me talking in front of my shower curtain, so it might be nice to switch shit up. Stay tuned!
*In retrospect, I am quite certain that the butter I bought was not real shea butter. Or, if it was, it had palm oil or something added to it, because it was that bullshitty stuff in the tub with the yellow label (this stuff) that you see in every BSS. I think this may have been a factor in why my hair wasn’t too fond of it. Now that I get the real thing, everything is copacetic. More on how to figure out if your shea butter is legit or not here.
So, the words “natural,” “all natural” and “organic” are tossed around with great abandon, with regard to hair care products— most notably within the realm of products marketed toward afro-textured hair. But, when I see something like this…
Well, as it happens, according to a California law, health and beauty items are held to the same rule as food products marketed as organic, wherein they must contain at least 70% organic ingredients to boast the claim of being an organic product. It gets better. The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) has now filed a lawsuit against 26 companies for violation of the aforementioned law.
CEH tested a bunch of products they got from Bay Area drug stores and Targets and such, and found several that contained little or NO organic ingredients, at all. Uhm… BUSTED.
Now, I won’t keep picking on the Kids Organics line, because even companies like Curls and Kinky Curly have products that were found to be bullshitty (see list below). These two companies being put on blast is amusing for me especially, since they are two of the most popular “organic” brands for afro-textured hair. I was never dickriding for either brand, to be honest, but I imagine there are going to be a lot of annoyed afros out there, once they hear this news.
I am more cynical than most, so I have to admit this revelation of false labeling/marketing is more of a “no duh” moment, for me. Besides, I use plenty of products that have never pretended to be “all natural” nor “organic,” and I like them just fine. I only worry about what’s organic and what is not with regard to what I’m putting in my body, not what I’m putting on my hair.
However, I am really appreciative that this information has been brought to the public’s attention, and that these companies are being held accountable. Here’s the shitlist:
- Advantage Research Laboratories, Inc./Murray’s Worldwide, Inc.: Parnevu T-Tree No Lye Conditioning Relaxer System
- Aubrey Organics, Inc: Collagen & Almond Enriching Moisturizing Lotion
- Beauty Without Cruelty/Lotus Brands, Inc: Organic Aromatherapy Facial Cleanser
- Boots Retail USA Inc: Boots Amazon Forest Brazil Nut & Vanilla Body Wash
- California Inside & Out, Inc: Out of Africa Handwash Tea Tree with Essential Oil
- Colomer U.S.A.: Crème of Nature Kiwi & Citrus Ultra Moisturizing Shampoo
- Cosway Company, Inc/Head Organics Company: Clearly [sic] Head Conditioner
- Curls, LLC: Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream Organic Shampoo
- derma e® Natural Bodycare/Stearns Products, Inc: Psorzema Body Wash
- Hain Celestial Group: Jason Thin-to-Thick Conditioner and Baby Avalon Organics Silky Cornstarch Baby Powder
- House of Cheatham, Inc: Organics by Africa’s Best Hair Mayonnaise
- International Trade Routes of New York, Inc/Laboratorios Phergal: Naturtint Green Technologies Permanent Hair Colorant
- Kinky-Curly Hair Care: Kinky-Curly Spiral Spritz
- Kiss My Face Corporation: Hold Up Styling Mousse
- Lafe’s Natural BodyCare/Lafe T. Larson, Inc: Deodorant Stone With Holder
- Morrocco Method, Inc: Euro Organic Oil Simply Pure Hair & Scalp Therapy
- Namasté Laboratories: Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Pak
- Nature’s Baby Products, Inc: Nature’s Baby ORGANICS Shampoo & Body Wash in Vanilla-Tangerine Scent or Lavender-Chamomile Scent
- Nubian Heritage Group/Sundial Group LLC: Coconut & Papaya with Vanilla Bean Extract Body Wash
- Nutrition Resource, Inc. dba NutriBiotic: NutriBiotic Everyday Clean Conditioner Botanical Blend
- Rainbow Research Corporation: Rainbow Baby Oh Baby Unscented Organic Herbal Shampoo
- Renpure, L.L.C: Renpure Organics I Love My Hair! Body and Shine Shampoo
- Strength of Nature Global, LLC: Elasta QP Intense Fortifying Hair Conditioning Treatment
- Sundial Brands/Sundial Group LLC: Shea Moisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo
- The Himalaya Drug Company: Organique by Himalaya Toothpaste
- Todd Christopher International, Inc/Vogue International: Hydrating Teatree Mint Conditioner
Source: Jezebel via BGLH