Last week at a family gathering after my niece’s christening, there was a heated debate about what kind of hair products are suitable for Afro Caribbean relaxed hair. My sister was of the opinion that Black women should stick to the hair products designed for Black hair often stocked at the Afro beauty stores in South London.
I, on the other hand, feel that there is no need to stick to these products that were so-called designed for Black hair. The reason is there is no typical type of Black
hair as such. Black women have a range of different hair textures, porosities, thicknesses, curl patterns, etc. The main difference between Afro hair and
European hair is the curl pattern. The tighter the curls, the harder it is for sebum or oil to travel from the roots to the tips of the hair. But Europeans also have curly hair, some with tighter curl patterns than others. Are they also required to use Afro hair products because they have curly hair?
The same applies to relaxed hair, which is hair that has been chemically straightened using a relaxer. Relaxed hair, regardless of it being straight is still a form of Afro hair, albeit in a weaker and straighter state than natural hair. Are they meant to stick to the same products designed for natural Afro hair? I don’t see any point in over complicating this matter. In my opinion, Black women should NOT stick to products they think are designed for Black hair. Instead, they should educate themselves on their hair’s particular needs, regardless of what state it is in, be in relaxed or natural. If your hair is dry and natural then research ways to keep your hair healthy and moisturized. If your hair is relaxed, damaged and weak, then look for ways to strengthen it by using the right products designed for that purpose.
Having frequented Dominican hair salons while I lived in New York, I used a very effective range of Italian hair products to stop my hair from shedding excessively after I had my son. My hair is relaxed and can be very dry, so I would use a moisturizing hair mask on my ends, and a garlic mask on my scalp to directly address the hair shedding and it was very effective. According to my sister’s reasoning, because the hair products are made in Italy, therefore they are designed to be used by Caucasian women and are for Caucasian hair. That is a silly argument to make because internally our hair follicles produce hair in the same manner. Curly hair is just more fragile and has a higher tendency to break than straight hair that is why Caucasian women with straight hair tend to have longer hair.
By using the Italian hair products on my relaxed hair, I’m personally satisfied that my sister’s theory is just ignorant nonsense. The most effective hair care products for my relaxed hair have been from an Italian range. In fact Alter Ego hair care products especially the Garlic mask have been widely used by Dominican women in Dominican salons for many years. The Alter Ego hair drops are often applied to the scalp when they are doing roller sets and they are said to make the hair grow longer and thicker. So before jumping to any conclusions based on ignorant opinions of other people, do some research and see if you can find reviews or opinions of other black women who have used hair products that may not specifically been designed for use on Afro hair.