What black woman cannot remember sitting between her mother’s legs as she parted, combed, brushed and (sometimes brutalized) our hair?
We were told we had to sit still, stop squirming and whimpering and most times called tender-headed. Honestly, is that even a real THING?
Anyway, if you remember all of that then you must remember getting your scalp greased or oiled as well. If you were like me then you absolutely hated it!
I hated it because all that the grease would do was make my scalp itch and no matter how much I scratched it would never stop itching.
It wasn’t until I was a grown woman and doing my own hair that I ditched that bad habit and began to realize not only was it not necessary but also counter-productive to my hair’s growth.
OK, you’ve already seen my take on this age-old routine that most black women have had to endure as children and I am sorry to say that in many households this is STILL occurring. Little black girls are still sitting between their mother’s legs getting their hair and scalps oiled.
The only difference is that it may not be with Ultra Sheen (like me and my sister had) and it even may be a coconut or olive oil*, but the question is…is this practice even necessary? What is it really doing?
There is a difference between oil and hair grease. Hair grease is made up of oils but not the good ones that we should be applying to our hair. Good oils for hair are Olive oil* , Coconut oil*, Emu oil, Argan oil* and Grapeseed oil*, just to make a few. Bad oils are Petrolatum and Mineral oil and are mostly used in hair grease.
Hair Grease The Black Hair Enemy
Traditional hair grease (like Blue Magic and Ultra Sheen) are mostly made up of Petrolatum and Mineral oil*. Hair grease does not promote hair growth despite what we have believed growing up.
Any healthy hair journeyer worth her salt will quickly cringe at those ingredients…Petrolatum and Mineral oil*? Now, most of us have ditched those ingredients well into our first 6 months of starting a HHJ.
We know that all they do is coat the hair and attract dirt. They just sit on the scalp and hair and make it difficult for real moisturizers to penetrate the hair. They clog the pores and hair follicles while weighing down your hair.
Just because it’s what we have always used or have always done does not mean it is the best method or that we can never change. Also, the hair you had as a little girl is NOT the hair you have as an adult.
The bottom-line is that as we age the rate of our hair growth slows down. We as children have not been damaging our hair for decades as many of us do as adults. So comparing our hair as children to our adult hair is unrealistic when determining what worked for you then and what works for you now.