I found myself in the natural hair section at Target last night. I was trying to find my next product to review. There was another naturalista in the aisle. We were both standing there quite a while looking sort of perplexed. Finally, she broke the ice and said, “you know this hair oil is good, but this bottle looks a little beat up, and why are these products so expensive anyway?” I said, “You know, I was thinking the same thing…”
Changing how we think
Truth be told, some cheap products work just as well as the expensive ones. The decision we have to make is, “do I care about what is in this stuff?” Do I really care about sulfates, parabens, harsh cleansers and alcohols, mineral oil, petroleum, etc? These chemicals would not be on the market if they didn’t do the job of cleansing, smoothing and adding shine. However, the question should then be, do want to save a buck at the expense of not giving my hair optimal nourishment and risking my health? We must keep in mind that whatever is put on our scalp is absorbed into the skin and into the blood stream.
I can’t speak for all expensive products, but there is some good reason why they are expensive. It is because they really do try to add high quantities of the best ingredients without adding fillers and other chemicals that make products cheap. Our culture has a long history of not being concerned about what chemicals we use to get the job done. Admittedly, I am weaning myself off of dollar store brands. I am changing my mindset from, “what is the cheapest way I can style my hair?” to “what is the healthiest, most cost-effective way I can get the results I desire?”
What is the cash-strapped naturalista to do?
Go ahead, buy that $2 bottle of Africa’s XYZ herbal oil. Just know that it’s mostly filled with vegetable oils, like soy or canola which probably work better in the kitchen than on your hair. The truth is however, it’s still oil, and while it may not have the nutrients and benefits of more expensive oils, it still does the job of lubricating dry/brittle hair, adding shine and sealing in moisture. The key is to determine is this product cheap because it’s filled with chemicals or is it safe, but just diluted.
Do your own thing
You may do better to buy the ingredients individually, like olive and coconut oil, shea butter, etc. and apply small amounts to your hair. Of course, do your research first when working with essential oils and raw ingredients. Get creative. You can also mix products like adding a little olive oil to a cheap styling gel for a banging twistout!
Be a good steward
Whatever you do, check the ingredients of every product before you buy. If you are going to spend the money, make sure whatever the packaging says the product has in it is listed in the first five ingredients. If the package says it has jojoba oil and it’s listed toward the bottom and soy bean oil is first, then you know you have an imposter. If it’s a good product you don’t have to use ton of it to see results, so use sparingly.
Stick to the basics
This hair thing is not that complicated. To look good and be healthy, our hair needs water, water, water, a gentle cleanser, conditioner (regular and leave-in), oil and something for hold when styling. Add to that, a haircare regimen, a healthy lifestyle and you have a recipe for success.
Are you turned off by the price of natural hair products? How do you cope? Comment below.