Have our Hair Journeys Caused Us to Stop Patronizing Black Haircare Lines?

black hair care products

Our Small “Section” (we don’t even get an entire aisle)

I’m an eighties baby and when I was coming up we never used products that were marketed for Caucasian women.

My mother and I primarily used Queen Helene’s, Cream of Nature, DAX grease – the red or blue kind to press my hair, Isoplus products and the infamous Luster’s Pink Oil Moisturizer.

As I got a little older, my mom began frequenting a JCPenney salon and they used Paul Mitchell products which were marketed for women of all ethnicities; we began using his Tea Tree shampoo (I had horrible dandruff) and The Detangler since I had completely virgin hair.

Even though PM had ads featuring women of all backgrounds, it was still primarily thought of as a “white” line so even that was a big step.

When I went to college, I was using primarily Motions – that is when it was the new “it” hair care line.  Then soon after (being that I am from New Jersey), I remember when Carol’s Daughter and Jane Carter first got hot in the streets.

I shelled out my hard-earned part-time cash on these products, feeling great because I was supporting black owned businesses and the products were touted as all natural.  This was my first experience with natural hair care lines and I had nothing but positive things to say about them.

But being the product junkie that I am, I continued to try other products, but I never once went down the “white” aisle in Wal-Mart or the drugstore in search of something new to buy and try.

Then in 2009 my hair journey began.  I was introduced to the world of co-washing, moisturizing and sealing, and learned to pay more attention to ingredients than marketing.

I saw women who successfully grew their hair to amazing lengths using Herbal Essences, Aussie, Vo5, Tresemmé, and other lines I would have never even dreamed of using.  I jumped right in and picked up a bunch of all of the above!  Lol!

Initially, I was excited to have a whole new world open to me.  How many of you remember the early days of Herbal Essences?  The commercials where the woman would use their products and the scent was so heavenly they were transported from their shower to an exotic paradise?

I would go into the white hair care aisle just so I could smell their products, and then regrettably put them back on the shelf because they were not for “our hair” and sulk off around the corner to the pitiful little ethnic section to shop.

Originally posted 2011-12-11 03:00:58.

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About EbonyCPrincess

EbonyCPrincess is a self proclaimed hair care enthusiast who began her quest for long healthy hair in 2009. Her hair is relaxed and type 4b (kinky, very tightly coiled). You can find more information about Ebony and her journey on her personal blog, or her YouTube channel youtube.com/EbonyCPrincess

About EbonyCPrincess

EbonyCPrincess is a self proclaimed hair care enthusiast who began her quest for long healthy hair in 2009. Her hair is relaxed and type 4b (kinky, very tightly coiled). You can find more information about Ebony and her journey on her personal blog, or her YouTube channel youtube.com/EbonyCPrincess


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  1. Victoria Jenkins

    someone I used natural hair products to wash and condition my hair like yogurt honey flaxseed. But I still get a full sew in weave so I do bye hair.

    1. Florencia Marie

      Right. I’m like, oh? So now y’all want to cater natural hair? Before it was all relaxers, relaxers! They’re just trying to capitalize, that’s all! They could care less. And like Tequilla said, have the ingredients aren’t really conducive to natural hair.

  2. Alona Wood

    Most of the black hair care lines are owned by non-blacks (reference: the movie by Chris Rock, “Good Hair”)

  3. Debi Ray

    It’s very possible…I mean, if the point is to be natural, but the products are still laddened with harsh chemicals-well, it sort of defeats the purpose of our NATURAL journies, one would think…lol

  4. Stoney Kush Baker

    I’ve stopped purchasing them a while ago.
    The prices seem to go up monthly. The employes in most of these stores are rude and have no professionalism. Lets not forget the millions of products that you have to sift through. I feel like I’m having a seizure when I walk into one.
    I’ll stick my Murray’s beeswax and virgin coconut oil 🙂

  5. Sarah Spears Wilson

    The only complaint I have is the price. “Get what you pay for” is not the problem in all cases. Not knocking Miss Jessie’s to hard because those sisters are amazing, but those ingredients are even worse than “white” owned products and at ridiculous prices. It’s hard for me to find a black owned product that my hair likes without breaking the bank!

  6. Milicent Gadgetgeek White

    I make my own oils. I use Eden Body Works, Garnier Fructis, and Eco styling gel to groom my locs. Shea butter, essential oils and olive oil or almond oil mixed together to moisturize. I don’t even go down the black hair care aisle anymore. They have nothing I need, use or want in my hair. I go to Sally’s Beauty Supply.

    1. Joshlyn Johnson

      Goodd morning Mulicent. May l trouble you a moment to ask where do you find Eden Body Works, and l see so many Garnier Fructis products. Where do you get your oils? Thank you, Joshlyn.

    2. Natural Hair Q&A

      I make my own moisturizer, too! I find that it’s a lot cheaper than me buying everything from other brands.

  7. Angie Jackson

    I buy what works for my hair not for the color of my skin. Most of them are not even black owned anyway so what’s the difference.

  8. Zuri Saunders

    The prices are a bit high but I use what’s best for my hair palmers olive oil shampoo and cantu products as well as straight vitamin E oil and olive oil

  9. Andrea Simpson-Jones

    Debi Ray the point is not “to be natural” LITERALLY! It is to learn to care for (and thus LOVE) the natural TEXTURE of our hair ;you know, without having to alter it’s natural curl pattern and try to assimilate into society by trying to look Euro-centric!

  10. Satarra Thrower-Jones

    The problem this this type of thinking^^^ is just because ppl want hair versatility does NOT mean they ate trying to look white. It means they want options so they don’t grow bored with their look. There’s nothing wrong with changing it up.

  11. Ashley Peachie Harris

    Most of the companies with “black hair care” products aren’t black owned companies. I buy what works, wether it’s black white red ppl owned. If they are so concerned about us patronizing them, then they need to say “hey we are black owned and operated and here are the products we carry for naturalistas” then maybe they would see better results and sales.

  12. Johniah Bickhem Edson

    I simply use what I like and what works. All natural though. If I can’t read the ingredients or don’t know what they are, I don’t use them. I don’t care if its made for black hair, white hair, purple hair! Lol! I keep it simple for my hair and skin. Have a wonderful day folks 🙂

  13. Andrea Simpson-Jones

    Hair care products for African-American hair don’t necessarily have to be owned by black people. As long the manufacturers have done their research and understand the chemistry of our hair and what is conducive to healthy hair, then there should be no problem in using them. Most of us absolutely love the “As I Am” brand but did you know it’s owned by a middle eastern man? L’Oreal is also behind one of the major black hair care brands. The bottom line is: we need to read the ingredients and see what works for our individual tresses – regardless of the name on the bottle.

  14. KJ Russ

    Our Black Year by Maggie Anderson. Great book. Read it and understand that we blacks are our own worse enemy in socio-economic. And yes, this includes the black hair care industry.

  15. Lisa Dennis Carter

    I am so tired of people saying you trying to look European because of straight hair… I find that those who say it deep down INSIDE Hate themselves and they want to project that same Hate on you.. Sorry boo, you are IGNORANT!

  16. Shambreia Johnson

    They’re ok! We’ve given them zillions to live a comfortable rest of their lives. Trust! not all sistahs have decided to go natural and not all will stay.

  17. Kandi Wiley

    Most of the hair care products geared toward African Americans are not black owned and the ones that are are very expensive. Part of my natural journey is to get back to basics. I use natural oils and try to keep my hair care as simple as possible. At the end of the day, I care more about my pockets than anyone else’s.

  18. Debbie Meeks

    Personally, I just buy what my hair likes. I don’t go into a store thinking, “Is this product Black owned?”

  19. Lasilia Imnottheonenottoday Thornton

    honestly i never cared whether the products were owned by black people, white people , or blue people. i decided to go natural because i felt that the chemicals that were going into my body were causing adverse effects. i developed allergies to most of the products that i use to use on my hair back in the day and i learned more about using natural ingredients from local holistic participants, and vegan individuals. a small percentage are black, but the majority are non-black. this was way before going natural became a trend. some might call them “hippies” but they taught me along the way and i am grateful for it.

  20. Khalilah Walton

    The only race that matters in a business is GREEN. Just gotta find a product that works for you…. and if the product really works then pay the piper if the price is right.

    The. End.

  21. Kimberly Neal Slaughter

    Many naturals are now making their own shampoos and conditioners from natural products like olive oil and other oils, yougurts, eggs, honey, aloe vera juice. All of these products can be bought at our grocery stores….no need to stop in the beauty stores.

  22. Rolanda Talley-Zanders

    Most african american hair care lines are geared toward relaxed hair and the items for naturals, other than grease, that most of us dont use is so expensive. Why can i uy a cnditioner for whites at $4 but my own people wanna charge me $25/$30 for conditoner..NOT TODAY ill make my own

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  24. Misellanie

    I think the issue isn’t so much that black owned businesses lack quality and service although a lot of times they do. We should be asking ourselves why is this the case. Why is it hard to find black owned products readily on the shelves of CVS? Why are their sites down, products out of stock or you can’t find someone in customer service to talk to. It all boils down to resources. Regardless of what people may think, blacks still lag behind whites in business opportunities and capital. I’m not just making that up either. Studies have been done that show this. Of course with lack of resources, product orders cannot stay filled, marketing and growth strategies are limited and customer service isn’t on par with other major companies. I’m not trying to go all out political because I believe you should purchase for whatever reason suits you best but I think when it comes to buying Black owned products we should think about the fact that most of these minority businesses are also very disadvantaged.

  25. Leah James

    For me the so called “white ” and “black products didn’t work on my hair . I finally found what works . Cantu Shea Butter olive oil and pure raw Shea Butter . The Shea Butter and olive oil smells AMAZING too . I’m never trying anything else . I found what my hair loves and NEVER going back . These are so called black products but I have to say different things work for different people . My grandma uses carols daughter my mom uses Dove and olive oil and my cousin uses kinky curly. Different products work for different people .

  26. Julisa Blair

    I create my own all natural products now. they work wonders for all curly types. Im west indian and my bf is peruvian. we have a RANGE of curls between both our families and his 2c-3c family loves the same products my 3c-4c family love!

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