Did you know that with the advent of perms we, black people, largely abandoned our natural hair care routines in exchange for chemical fixes that altered the wooly texture of our hair? In my case I started in my early teens when I snuck and got a Jheri curl. Essentially a perm that made my hair extra greasy, but hella curly. Fortunately for me, my father wasn’t having any of it and in just a few days he knocked the conk out of my head and put some sense into it.
I soon learned to appreciate my own hair, the skin I was born in, and my general DNA. With love-of-self came liberation, and with liberation came the hairstyle that best reflected the new me, locs, no doubt. Yet I still bought products that looked natural, but were really only petroleum jelly masked in natural-sounding names, like the famed Indian Hemp. In case you don’t already know, petroleum by-products do not belong on your skin, in your hair, and definitely not on your baby’s skin. Especially when there’s a wide range of natural oils and butters available worthy of our skin and hair.
Insist On Natural Ingredients For Your Hair
Because natural ingredients are free from harsh chemicals that damage hair and scalp, they are safer and healthier. Natural products are also of the Earth, like yourself, thus they are related and better capable of meeting your hair and scalp’s needs. Your skin is porous, allowing for secretions of sweat and intaking all that you put on it. If you introduce toxins onto your scalp you’re literally pouring poison on to your brain. No one knowingly does that and because we all now know better we’re all insisting on natural hair care products.
Unfortunately, the multi-national companies that we made rich from our addiction to perms and the necessary ingredients to achieve these hair-altering states, are also aware. As such they are flagrantly mislabeling everything “organic” and decreasing the already impossible to read fine print. This makes it harder to determine what is really natural and what is more of the same in new packaging. Another common practice is when a multi-national like Unilever buys a respected brand, like Shea Moisture, maintains their general appearance, but alters the ingredients. This is the worse, because as a consumer you have no idea that the monster swallowed your trusted brand and has returned you to the very ingredients that you sought to avoid by choosing the brand at hand. When in search for natural products seek out small brands with passionate founders at their helms.
Hair Growth Facts
The #1 request we get in our shop is for a product that will grow hair fast. Everyone is looking for that magic serum that will reverse the hand of time, taking them back to when their hairline was just above their eyebrows. But as you age your hairline will recede and if you keep stripping your hair of all its nutrients or pulling it out with extensions, eventually the damage will be irreparable.
That said, there are ways to preserve your best hair:
- Give your hair only the best treatment. Madame C.J. Walker single handedly plunged black people into the darkest period of our hair journey with her hot comb. We’re only now emerging into the light of natural living and natural hairstyles. We now realize our natural hair is stronger, more beautiful, and much healthier. To keep it that way, we’re investing in products that are also natural.
- Grow locs! The dreaded locs were once relegated to us Rases and shone by the mainstream. Then came Bob Marely and the dreaded one became the most sought after, captivating followers world-wide and broadening the dimensions of black expression. Now locs are as common as any other hairstyle and the only hairstyle that is actually known to grow your hair. Someone with locs can literally grow their hair to the ground, but without locs the same person might barely get their hair to grow shoulder length. I have grown locs for 30 years and my only issue so far has been too much growth. I’ve cut them twice to keep them from growing pass my ass. Great as long locs look, a lot of hair is a lot of work!
Jamaican Castor Oil For Hair Growth
Jamaican castor oil is probably the closest thing to a magic-grow serum that there is. Even though this has never been proven scientifically, my customers and millions more confirm that it literally improves hair growth.
In an effort to determine why this oil is so widely acclaimed, scientist noted that castor oil is rich in antioxidants, which keep free radicals from damaging healthy cells. This destructive process is linked to hair loss. Castor oil also contains omega-6 fatty acids, a type of essential fatty acid that may promote hair growth and reduce inflammation in the hair follicles. Whatever the reason, Jamaican castor oil gets the greatest results when it comes to promoting hair growth. However, this is based on improving growth in areas that your hair is prone to grow, but reluctant for some unknown reason. This does not include restoring growth in bald spots or hairlines for the aged.
Coconut Oil For Moisture & Shine
Studies show that the components of coconut oil are similar to natural hair proteins and that it has a unique ability to penetrate the hair shaft. By penetrating the hair, coconut oil can reduce the amount of water absorbed into your hair, limiting everyday hair damage.
Coconut oil is also the only oil capable of reducing protein loss in hair when used as a prewash or post-wash grooming product. We love coconut oil because it’s so versatile and so cost effective. Coconut oil is an excellent supplement for your hair and skin, providing moisture and nutrients with each application. In Ghana, coconuts are one of the most cultivated crops, thus, we have an abundance of the raw material that makes coconut oil, making it a fairly inexpensive choice. But that’s changing. Ever since Ghana signed a “Free-Trade-Agreement” Chinese and American companies are buying up all our coconuts, resulting in a three-fold increase in the price of coconut related products locally. There was even a point we had to source coconuts in Burkina Faso. Just another example of how our government routinely sells our birthrights! Okay, back to hair…
Neem Oil For Dandruff & Lice
Neem oil is a lesser-known ingredient for hair care, but it definitely belongs in your kit. It contains the active ingredient nimbidin, which has been determined key in helping to suppress inflammation that’s associated with dandruff, eczema, psoriasis, and/or scalp irritation.
Neem oil is also antifungal. In many cases, dandruff and scalp irritation can result from yeast buildup on the scalp.
Researchers also found that neem oil extract successfully kills head lice larvae after 5 minutes of treatment and adult head lice after 10 minutes of treatment.
This may be due to the oil’s azadirachtin content. Azadirachtin makes it difficult for insects to grow and lay eggs by interfering with their hormones.
To use neem oil for serious dandruff issues, simply massage into your hair and scalp, and leave the oil in for 30 minutes before washing it out with shampoo. Then re-apply and leave in. For best results, use neem oil once or twice a week.
Avocado Oil For Natural Hair Care
Avocado oil is a none-greasy oil that is able to penetrate the hair and the scalp, promoting healthy roots that stimulate growth. Essentially it moisturizes, repairs, and strengthens your strands so your hair will be healthier, thicker, and longer. It also gives a sheen to your locs that makes them look effervescent.
All-In-One Hair Oil
More often than not, you will need a combination of the above oils to achieve your hair goals. That’s why we created our signature hair oil with several of the above hair oils, plus two we didn’t mention, namely hemp seed oil and olive oil.
Hemp Seed oil is widely known by people of the tropics for its hair growth and maintenance properties. We love it, in part, because we hold the hemp plant in very high regard and being our oil of choice, growth has never been a problem.
Olive oil, on the other hand, is not your usually in your line-up of hair oils, but it works great in restoring and preventing split-ends. We found it also gives a desired extra bounce.
In addition, we add coconut oil, castor oil. and essential oils: rosemary, tea tree and geranium. The result is a hair oil that moisturizes and revitalizes your crown, keeping dandruff at bay and your hair looking/feeling its absolute best!
Hair Butter For Nourishment & Body
Shea butter is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, making it an excellent moisturizer for dry and damaged hair. However, we don’t like the idea of applying shea butter to your hair by itself. The viscosity of shea butter is such that it thickens in room temperature. When applied to your scalp it can have that same effect, creating a build-up that is counter-productive to optimal scalp health. For this reason we combine our shea butter with several other oils to make a hair butter that is easily absorbed into the scalp, nourishing the hair follicles without clogging up their pores. Our hair butter should be massaged into your hair for a vibrant shine that screams vitality.
Black Soap Body Wash As A Hair Wash
Don’t let the name fool you! Our body wash doubles as a hair wash. When it comes to shampooing your crown your ultimate objective is to break down and dispose of product build-up. Absolutely nothing does that better than our full body wash. Once you get rid of product build-up your dandruff problem will also be gone. The sheer power of the ingredients in black soap are exactly what you need to purge each hair follicle and unclog each pore on your scalp so your hair can breathe and resume normal growth. Done routinely your hair will maintain its best look and feel.
A Natural Conditioner Natural Hair Care
The right conditioner is a key component to great natural hair care. Our conditioner naturally softens freshly washed hair, detangles it, and prepares it for styling. It is applied to shampooed hair and left in for 5 minutes then rinsed out. It’s made from plant-based ingredients and works wonderfully.
Essential Oils For Natural Hair Care
Essential oils add flavor and healing. Each essential oil is extracted from its respective plant, both for its marvelous scent and unique properties. When we combine the oils and butters to create an all-in-one solution we add essential oils to enhance the existing properties of the ingredients. Our favorite essential oils for the hair include:
- Cedarwood essential oil promotes hair growth and reduces hair loss by balancing the oil-producing glands in the scalp. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which can treat different conditions that contribute to dandruff and/or hair loss.
- Lavender essential oil can generate the growth of cells and reduce stress.
- Rosemary essential oil improves cellular generation, thus improving hair thickness and growth.
- Peppermint essential oil can cause a cold, tingling feeling while increasing circulation to the area it’s applied to. This can help promote hair growth during the growing phase.
- Clary sage essential oil contains the same linalyl acetate that helps make lavender oil so effective in increasing hair growth. It can improve hair strength, in addition to increasing hair growth, making hair more difficult to break.
- Tea tree essential oil has powerful cleansing, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. When used topically, it can help unplug hair follicles and increase hair growth.
- Thyme essential oil can help to promote hair growth by stimulating the scalp and actively preventing hair loss. Like cedarwood oil, thyme oil is also found to be helpful in treating alopecia.
Wherever you are in your hair journey, I trust you’re making progress. We’re all learning and growing, some of us sooner, some of us later. The key is to grow, discontinuing the practices that deterred our growth in the past. Our growth will positively impact our wellbeing and make room for the best versions of ourselves.