Why This Black Woman Hates Black Hair Products
The latest controversy to hit the web involves an mega-popular hair care brand — SheaMoisture.
In this scenario as with most that share equal levels of abrupt disdain and threats of banishment — the culprit miscalculated the tolerance of its most loyal clients — that are situated atop the sheets of profit that steadily pour — like a newly fastened faucet.
Black women are good that way. Actually they are fascinatingly amazing in this particular pursuit. We see what works and we flock to it with purposeful ambition, and along the way — we recruit others to join the parade.
SheaMoisture was forced to admit it screwed up in its effort to expand its horizons. This mandate necessitated the vital spotlight on White women in recent ads — that ultimately translated as a “fuck you” to Black women who historically spend tons of money ensuring that bad hair days remain a buried myth.
My stake in this hairy mess is grown from the scalp of personal frustration.
I’m an angry Black woman — with the type of hair that no chemist, physicist or natural hair guru can seem to tame — without causing me to curse the gods for the momentary relapse that resulted in the never-ending challenge of my life.
As my mother’s only daughter, I grew up with the memory of her fingers incessantly rearranging my strands after a laborious detangling session — that left me worn out, but somehow reenergized the woman who was obsessed with getting the parts perfectly even.
The grand finale required the application from a jar that contained either a blue or green substance — depending on whether your hair was reasonably dry or ultra dry.
I’ve always claimed the category that required “extra”, “intensive”, “therapy”, “treatment” and yes, “ultra.”
Ultra Sheen was the name of the product that was supposed to regulate my fiery strands by adding much needed nourishment to a consistently parched covering. The smell of it still hangs over my nostrils — all these years later.
The worst part was enduring the rough hands of the native women who grabbed, combed and cornrowed with casual fury. Then, afterwards — out came the green stuff — the dipping and the painfully erratic coating of the scalp — that was still throbbing from surgery.
My hatred for hair products was actively initiated and grew more passionate with time and experience.
Once I was able to dictate how far I was willing to go when it came to the levels of discomfort that accompanied the regimen of disciplining my tight curls— I settled for a relaxer.
That worked pretty well until it didn’t. Forcing my new growth and straight ends to humbly get along without any casualties became an exhausting endeavor. Also, the bi-weekly maintenance relentlessly attacked my bank account.
I decided to re-introduce myself to the hair that had haunted my childhood.
Of course, this was back when natural hair was somewhat of a taboo. It wasn’t a trendy and lucrative mission statement that evoked praise and worship — not to mention tons of opportunities to attend seminars, conferences, meetups, trade shows, global festivals, etc.
Unfortunately, I was forced to fend for myself with no communal support or a slew of bloggers that promise to assuage my fears with vibrant listicles — assisted by first-hand testimonies that aim to inspire.
My first stop was Carol’s Daughter. I recall rummaging the aisles and answering all the questions myself as it appeared that the helpers were just as confused as I was. I settled on the Hair Milk. It looked yummy, plus, Jada Pinkett Smith was a brand ambassador.
It ended up being an over-priced dud. Turns out that Carol has only her daughter in mind when she churns out the formula that does the exact opposite of what my hard earned money demands.
No worries! As the years flew by we inched closer to the period of enlightenment.
Suddenly, I wasn’t the only one trying to convince her chemically-free hair to succumb to the well-packaged dollop of manna from heaven.
I knocked on heaven’s door by playing the lottery in the hopes of garnering the winning ticket to soft, manageable tresses — that soak in what you feed it — when the price is right — and the prized cream isn’t dedicated to a grade that is better than yours.
It was a fruitless endeavor that turned me into a paranoid freak — as I convinced myself that the industry was setup for my failure.
Black women with hair like mine — that can’t be easily tamed by whipped up fare from Miss Jessie’s or the textured focused jars of Hair Rules, or the short-lived orgasm from all the others that are presented with the same gorgeous appeal, but only end up amassing dismal results after extensive use — are basically roaming rejects.
This explains why I loathe hair products that cater to Black women, and yes, SheaMoisture also earns my scathing review.
It ended up disappointing — just as I was getting blissfully content with the idea that I had found — the one. The shampoo and conditioning sessions detract from the realization that when my hair dries — it’s even more thirsty and aggressive than it was before the faux-treatment.
I’m not invested in the uproar involving a brand that has profited from the hunger of Black women with successful results. I could care less because I’m tired of wasting my money and pride on the shit that stinks and rarely delivers.
The stores that are packed to the brim with every label you can imagine — frighten my senses as I stand in the middle of a wasteland — like a designated victim awaiting bullets from the firing squad.
This Black woman is sick of the virus — and is hell bent on creating a cure that will finally alleviate the symptoms of the past. No more experiments, no more surrender to the conniving market that deceives with targeted greed.
My hair isn’t good and it absolutely falls under the tab of fiercely nappy with a dash of ultra in the mix. There is nothing out there for me and I’m okay with that.
When I make it, they will come.